Don’t Just Go With The Flow

Hey all!

So last week, I was in the middle of a jam-packed weekend with the SCY HI students and a concert escapade and could not find the time  to post my thoughts of the week.

It did, however, really bother me I didn’t make the time to post. Not only do I enjoy and benefit from keeping it updated, but the first rule of blogging is definitely consistency which (let’s be honest) I haven’t had the best track record when it comes to consistency.

Last weekend, I joined the high school students of SCY on a retreat, if you will, down to Boulder, Colorado. It was a weekend for the students and the volunteers to get away and have fun together going bowling, seeing a movie, paintballing, and hanging out into the early hours of the morning. Throughout the weekend, before and after we shot each other with paintballs and bowled a multitude of gutter balls, we talked about living intentionally.

My generation, and definitely the younger generation, like to live by a very famous saying: “Just go with the flow.” Float along, calm, and without a care in the world and do what you feel; let life come to you.

The older I get, going with the flow isn’t much of an option. Between work and responsibilities, the time I do have I want to spend on doing things I love with the people I care about. I fill my extra time with things I don’t want to lose touch with. Of course, my work schedule and responsibilities comes first on my calendar, but even that can be switched around if there are things that I want to do that I feel are worthwhile.

Every week, I dedicate at least two hours on Sunday nights to SCY. I switched my work schedule last weekend to spend a whole weekend with SCY students leading them through a weekend they will not soon forget. I attended SCY as a middle school and high school student and I know the impact it made on me. It’s something I want to do every week no matter how I feel after a long weekend at work.

Every week, I play basketball on Tuesday nights. I grew up playing basketball and it is an activity that is not only good for me physically but also good for my mentality. I love playing basketball and I want to continue to as long as I can.

Recently, I just signed up for a six-week writing seminar through the community college in town because I do enjoy writing. It will be every Wednesday night starting February 5th. Writing is a skill that I have and I think it’s important to exercise it more and what better way than meeting fellow writers in my community.

Every week, I try to post to this blog. Not only have I found it helps me in many ways, but I like to think it reaches somebody each week and perhaps enhances their outlook even if just for the rest of the day.

All of these things I intentionally plan during a typical week and do my absolute best to carry them out no matter how tired I may be, no matter how I feel, no matter how busy I am. I make these commitments and plan to stick with them.

It sometimes becomes a stretch. About a month ago, I planned to go on the trip last weekend with SCY. A few days after I planned that, I found out Yellowcard was heading out on another tour and making two stops in Colorado.

Late nights and fun-filled days Friday-Sunday, drove back to Denver on Monday, two late nights with my friends I haven’t seen in a while, and then caught Yellowcard on Wednesday night, drove back to Breckenridge and attempted to rest Thursday, worked Friday and Saturday night, worked yesterday all day and then attended SCY again, to make it full circle. (Phew! Recalling these events made me tired all over again!)

Of course I’m tired after all this, but I planned it that way. All of these events were planned in advance and I intended to live them out no matter what it took.

My friends aren’t the best at planning. They just contact me the day of and tell me to drive an hour and a half and hang out. There’s nothing wrong with spontaneity, but making plans and following through with them shows the intention.

I look back on my wild week and realize, through all of the complaining of how tired I was every day, I was living. I made plans to do these things, I carried them out and I enjoyed every second of it: living intentionally.

Again, there is nothing wrong with spontaneity, but I challenge you to make a plan this week: see a show, get coffee or lunch with a friend, volunteer in your community. But whatever you plan to do, follow through no matter how you feel that day. It’s like what my mom always used to say when I thought I didn’t want to do something: “Once you do it, you will be happy you did.”

Until next Monday!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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Keeping Life Interesting

Hello all! Again, I’m posting a day late. When weekends become as busy as mine, you end up losing track of time.

Two months ago in my post “Fresh Starts and Clean Slates”, I described my life as “faded and stuck on repeat” and I wanted to make a drastic move down to Denver in order to change that. Instead, I stuck to my own advice by taking one day at a time until the time came when I could make that move.

Last week, I met someone who did exactly what I wanted to do. In fact, she made more of a drastic move than I was considering. Right around Christmas time, she decided to up and move from Texas to Colorado.

Going off to college can be more than intimidating for  some: a new area, a new location, and thousands of new people to complete the step out of a comfort zone. But moving somewhere you aren’t familiar with and only knowing two people without the catalyst of a college atmosphere to meet people? Definitely would be a step out of my comfort zone.

However, through the family she is staying with, she met me and some of my friends that are around her age so she doesn’t feel alone in her transition into a new chapter of her life.

Now, lately I’ve gotten back to being content with where I am. A move to somewhere new is still on the radar but it’s not quite as forefront as it once was and I’ve been weighing in lately on why that is.

Since I was 18, my life has constantly been changing. From moving to a different state to taking different classes in college, there was enough change to keep my life interesting. I was always meeting new people and learning new things and trying to take advantage of new opportunities.

The first year in moving back home from college, there were enough changes to keep me interested: becoming a manager at Eric’s, working a different job at the ski area, living with new and old friends in my own place, and meeting new people.

When I wrote that post in early November, and how I have been feeling lately, is that I’m kind of just going through the motions. I meet some new people here and there and do some different things, but everything has become a routine that I would like to break out of.

My job (could almost call it a career now) at Eric’s the last six years has been the constant of my life and now being a manager, I’ve reached a ceiling. The last six years working, I slowly moved up the food chain changing and adding jobs every year or so.

I started bussing tables and when I got bored of that, I started selling Eric’s merchandise at our small gift shop and when I got bored of that, I started running food and when I graduated college and decided to stay in town, I started managing and since then, it’s mostly been just managing and that’s been going for about two years now which is longer than I have done anything else at Eric’s without moving something different.

But a realization and a new beginning struck me this past week: I realized I can always move back down the ladder and I trained to become a bartender (and yesterday worked my first shift by myself; one reason why I didn’t post yesterday).

Whether it’s drastic or subtle, changes are necessary to keep life interesting. I haven’t changed my job title in a few years, but I have found returning to my roots (bussing/food running) has rejuvenated my spirit. And being behind the bar, talking to local regulars, meeting new people,  and pouring pitchers of beer gives me new excitement in my life as well.

If you see your life as “faded and stuck on repeat” maybe it’s time for a change. You could up and move to a different state, if you are feeling brave and adventurous. But even taking a class through a community college (which is something I’m doing as well) or finding a way to rejuvenate your work life, change can make a difference and keep your life interesting.

Until next Monday!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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New Year, New Identity

Good Monday and Happy New Year!

I can’t believe that another year is already gone. It seems like so much has happened this past year, and yet, it came and went in the blink of an eye. I hope all of you had a wonderful time bringing in 2014 with family and friends.

I was able to welcome 2014 with my good friend Nina Storey! She came back to Colorado to play a New Year’s Eve show at the Soiled Dove, the same venue she played for the CF benefit last April. When I heard of the news she was going to be here for New Year’s, I contacted her to see if I could sit in on another song with her. She got back to me, enthusiastic about collaborating once again. Due to time constraints, we decided we would play the same tune I played with her in April, Sing For Me by Yellowcard. Most of my friends tried to get me to go to a different concert but I was unable to turn down the opportunity to play drums with Nina and her band once again.

Nina Storey

It was a much quieter New Year’s than last year. My friend Greg and I met our good friend Julie and some other friends in downtown Denver for dinner and to watch the fireworks. Afterward, Greg and I headed to the Soiled Dove for Nina’s concert. Unfortunately, Nina had some flu-like symptoms that day and cut her set short; however, she still put on a great performance and I was able to drum my tune fifteen minutes into 2014 for a packed house.

Although it ended up being more of a mellow New Year’s celebration than most would have when 23 years old, it was perfectly satisfying. It was a great event to start 2014 off right and, as most do, I hope this year will be better than the last.

In reminiscing 2013, it took me awhile to pinpoint a single word or phrase that could describe the year overall. Let me recap the moments or events I took into consideration.

The Good

Probably the best thing about 2013 was meeting Nina through the Colorado Chapter of the CF Foundation. I was able to do a internet radio show with her and performed for the first time in a professional atmosphere. In the spring, I was promoted as a manager at Eric’s. In the summer, I was able to move into the condo above Eric’s I have always wanted to live in. I was also able to volunteer for the SCY summer service trip in Denver which not only was too much fun but also very rewarding. I helped my dad drive across the country in his move to Florida which was a great opportunity to spend time together.

The Bad

At the beginning of the year, two of my roommates bailed on me and left me with being responsible in covering their part of the rent. The process of moving out of that condo was a nightmare. I had a hiccup in September and had to spend 11 days in the hospital and, in the midst of that, I had a scare I was going to lose my health insurance.

The Ugly

There isn’t an easy way to put the ugly: many of the people I thought I could trust, who I surrounded myself with in Breckenridge, ended up in betrayal. My relationships with these people, friendly and romantic, revealed themselves as hollow leaving me feeling used and alone.

Now, when I look at all these events and memories, the bad and the ugly seem to outweigh the good; however, before jumping to an ugly conclusion, I read in between the lines.

The Year of 2013: Lessons Learned

For me, 2013 did kind of feel like a wasted year, but it’s not wasted if I learn from my mistakes.

Lessons Learned

  1. When living with roommates, never be the only one to sign a lease.
  2. Hospital stays are good for me, when necessary.
  3. Stay level-headed, research all the facts, and have a plan for the worst-case scenario.
    …and the most important:
  4. Don’t forget my identity by letting others affect me so easily.

When I look at the bad and the ugly of 2013 and find lessons or wisdom behind them, as straightforward or abstract as they may be, it no longer becomes a wasted year. It was rough and I made my fair share of mistakes, even a couple second offenses and some that turned me into someone I’m not, but they showed me two images of myself: someone I never wanted to be and someone I want to become.

My New Year’s Resolution is just that, and I hope you can add this to your list as well: Don’t forget your identity.

There are so many factors like people, places, things, commercials, that person you despise at work, that job you would rather have, that love interest that seems so important, that place you would rather be, those people you want to fit in with that end up diluting your identity into becoming something that you’re not. In looking back, there were many times I became someone I did not recognize to be me because of outside factors.

We all have an identity, a character of sorts in this thing that we call life. Do your best to be in your character. It’s essential to the overall production. Besides, it always feels unnatural when a character is broken; the director will know it, the audience will know it, and you will know it.

Don’t forget your identity in this new year of 2014.

Happy New Year everyone! Until next Monday!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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…Until Next Year!

Good Monday!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

As this year has come to its close, I have found myself busy busy. Breckenridge is in full swing of its winter season and days begin to bleed together.

I don’t have much to share with you this Monday because of my busy work schedule; HOWEVER, next Monday will be a post you do not want to miss: a recap of 2013, my hopes for 2014, and some photos of how I will be bringing in the new year!

It’s crazy how 2013 is already coming to a close. Many people in the week after Christmas begin to think of their New Year’s Resolutions. As I posted previously, we don’t need a new week or a new month or even a new year to start anew. Every day is a new day to do with what we choose.

Be that as it may, tomorrow we will be saying goodbye to 2013 and saying hello to 2014. Take this chance to start fresh. Make an achievable goal and do your best to live by it for the next year (I have a few myself I will be sharing with you next week). Embrace this new year and give yourself a fresh start.

It’s important to give yourself goals to work toward; it’s how we stay motivated.

Until next year!

Have a wonderful, safe, Happy New Year and be sure to check in next week!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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Happy Holiday Tradition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Apologies for posting on Tuesday this week; I had a very long weekend at work.

I have always looked forward to Christmas. It’s a time when family members from one side of the country travel to the other in order to spend time together. It’s a time when employers and professors allow their employees and students a break from work and school. It’s a time when people realize how rewarding giving can be. It’s an all around good holiday.

Every year since I can remember, either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, my mom would throw a Christmas party for all of our friends and family. She would prepare a nice big dinner for everyone from appetizers to dessert. As we munched on appetizers, we would help ourselves to some beverages (usually wine or beer; soda when I was younger) and catch up with everyone. We would do our best to chow down all of the main course but there seemed to always be leftovers. After eating, we would all play a game or two; something like Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Buzzword, or Catchphrase.

Three of my best friends I have known since childhood (Hannah, Andy, and Nicole) and their families were always the main cast but as the years went on, our party grew. My first girlfriend and her family joined the scene when I came back from my first semester in college as did my mom’s boyfriend. During my second year of college, I invited my other friend Greg and his family to join in our holiday festivities. Through my last two years of college, we always expected at least 15 people when it only began with eight of us.

I always tried to catch the girls under the mistletoe, our parents always had a few too many drinks, Andy’s dad would always announce our game like it was on ESPN, I would always wear a Santa’s hat and hand out gifts at the end of the night, and it was always something we all looked forward to.

Tradition must go on and we are having our traditional holiday party tonight, but this year will be a little quieter. As us kids have all grown up, we are all in different places now. We all live in different places now with full-time, grown-up jobs and my friends can hardly get back to their extended Breckenridge family to share a night full of food, laughs, and holiday fun. I’m going to miss everyone who won’t be able to make it this year.

Although it won’t quite be the same, I am still grateful for those who are still coming despite their busy schedule. Just because the crowd will be different and smaller, the motive hasn’t changed: sharing new memories and being together.

I hope all of you are able to spend the holidays with your extended family, and by extended family I mean your friends as well. All of my friends that are always invited to my holiday festivities I consider my brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles. Christmas is considered a “family” holiday, but make sure to extend that meaning of family a little bit further this year. It’s about spending time with the important people in your life.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to extend and add to your family traditions this year. Next thing you know, after spending the holidays with someone new this year, you won’t be able to believe how you’ve gone so long without celebrating the holidays with them. And next year, you won’t be able to imagine celebrating without them.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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P.S. Hope you have been good this year! Santa flies tonight! Don’t forget the milk, cookies and carrots! He needs energy to go around the world in one night!

The Flip Side of the Coin

Good Monday all!

I’m sure we are all familiar with the the phrase that goes something like, “You don’t understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

Another way that I like to think of this idea is, “There are two sides to every coin.”

As of late, I have found it interesting how ignorant people tend to be, myself included. We always seem to know exactly what someone is going through when making a decision.

For example: By the time I was 16 years old, I already had 5 years of restaurant experience. You see, my dad managed restaurants for the majority of my younger years. He would work 14 hours a day and hardly have a day off. Whenever I would visit him, the way I spent time with him was to go to work with him all day. Instead of staying out of the way, I would work; I would bus tables all day and the waitstaff would tip me for my services. I was quite the worker at 11 years old.

So when I turned 16, I started to apply for jobs in the restaurant business in Breckenridge. I had my restaurant experience behind me and was confident I would be able to land a job easily. My first job interview was with Bubba Gump’s. With my application and resumé in hand, I landed an interview with the hiring manager.

I had experience bussing tables. I have tremendous work ethic. I am motivated to work. And yes, I told the hiring manager all of this and she told me to check back with her in a couple days.

Despite my resumé and solid interview, they did not hire me.

Until recently, I had only experienced the applying side of the employment coin. Since being a manager at Eric’s, I have had many applicants drop by, fill out an application, and hand me their resumé. Although I do not hire people, I still have a good idea of if someone would fit working at Eric’s or not. I have encountered multiple applicants that have solid work experience and tell me they are willing to work all the time, but something inside me says, “They won’t fit working here.”

It’s eye-opening when you find yourself on the other side of a situation. Perhaps some of those applicants would have been great employees but from their first impression, I didn’t see them fitting into the business I work for. Although I seemed motivated and knew the restaurant business, Bubba Gump’s did not see me fitting into how they run their business.

Another example: The ending of relationships. Someone assumes the role of the heart-breaker and the other becomes the heart-broken. If you have not experienced both, you will never know how difficult it is for the other side.

In the four relationships I have been in throughout my life, in the end I have been the heart-broken. I know this hurtful side all too well and I’m always baffled how easy it seems to be to end a relationship with someone.

But just because I have not been on the other side of the relationship coin does not mean it does not exist. It does not mean there isn’t pain in being the person to end the relationship. It does not mean it was easy for someone to end a relationship. In some situations, there could be just as much emotional pain for both parties, just in different ways.

I have not yet experienced it, so I just don’t know; however, I can’t assume how the other side feels without having experienced it. Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you fail to understand what they are going through.

I can only imagine what it’s like to break someone’s heart. I can only imagine how hard it must be and how painful it must be to be that person. The fact is, I simply don’t know and until I find myself in those shoes, I can’t claim to know or understand that side.

Just remember, there are two sides to every coin and although you may think you know what the other side looks and feels like, you never really know its true nature until you find yourself over there.

Until next Monday!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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My Life According to…

Good Monday all!

Since I have picked up my blog and actually kept up with it this time, all my posts have weighed in on the heavy side. So, I thought today’s post would be a little bit more fun.

A few years ago, my college roommate introduced me to a ‘Note’ on Facebook  titled “My Life According to…” where Facebookers would answer questions only using names of songs from a musical artist of their choosing. When they were finished, they would tag their friends in the note to do the same.

When I first heard about this, I had just dived head first into Yellowcard, so of course I used their discography.

I would like to do this exercise again and share it with you all, but this time using my most recent favorite artist:

Pick your artist.
Paramore

Are you male or female?
Franklin

Describe yourself.
For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic

How do you feel?
Here We Go Again

Describe where you currently live.
All I Wanted

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Where the Lines Overlap

Your favorite form of transportation.
Fast In My Car

Your best friend is:
The Only Exception

You and your best friends are:
Misguided Ghosts

What’s the weather like?
Looking Up

Favorite time of day.
When It Rains

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
Conspiracy

What is life to you?
Born For This

Your last relationship.
Misery Business

Your fear.
My Heart

How I would like to die.
Careful

My soul’s present condition.
We Are Broken

My motto:
Ain’t It Fun

My favorite question to answer (that ends up being spot on, too) was “Describe yourself.” Nowadays, it seems being realistic can be misconstrued as pessimism. For the most part, I like to think I’m pretty grounded in reality; however, I try to lean toward a positive spin on reality. Hence, “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic.”

A few of those answers took me a bit to figure out (“How do you feel?”, “If your life was a TV show…”, “My motto”). There a few choices to choose from on all of those answers but I feel the ones I ended up choosing fit my current state of being the best.

Other than that, all the other answers seem to explain themselves pretty well. I very much enjoy all of the songs I chose and I encourage you all to look up and listen to a few if you would like.

So there you have it! My life according to Paramore!

Until next Monday!

Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow

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