Finding Joy in the Adventure

    I have always found extreme disappointment at the end of adventure. And I realized that, the beauty isn’t in the resolution of the story. It’s not at the end of the road. It isn’t the ending of the book or series you have been dying to finish. The beauty of the adventure is the journey along the way. All my life I have been very focused on what lies ahead of me. The destination of whatever trek I happened to be on. But once I reach it, there is always a bitter moment of disappointment when I realize it wasn’t what I had been searching for. What’s interesting is, that joy, beauty and learning I had been looking for, was right in front of me all along. I just needed to open my eyes to see it. It is easy to become so absorbed with the task at hand that I forget to appreciate the things going on around me. Appreciate your life, as it’s happening. Enjoy each breathe, each laugh, each person you come in contact with, each experience that you have, because THAT, is the whole point.

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Give Me a Reason

I have listened to this song million times. In the beginning of the song the girl is singing about how this relationship had destroyed her. How being with a guy had messed her up in more ways than one and she couldn’t take it anymore. I felt as if this song was speaking to me. I knew in my head that in a way, this girl was me. And I spent the rest of the song thinking back on my life and wondering about everything that had gone wrong. But the other night my friend forced me to actually listen to the rest of the song and hear the words that they were singing in the end. And as it turns out, the lyrics had turned around and she was now singing about how she realized that they could go back to being happy. She literally said that they weren’t broken; that they were just bent and they could learn to love again. I was only hearing what I wanted to hear. I had spent the whole time focusing on how sad it was that she was all torn up after this relationship that I didn’t even stop to notice that she was ok now. That after everything she had been through she was pulling through and realizing that she wasn’t actually broken, she was just a little bent. But it could be fixed. All she had to do was figure out that if she stopped playing the victim long enough to look around, she would notice that she wasn’t hurt anymore and she could just move on and be happy with her life. 

Coping with Life

Religion. In many conversations it is taboo. It’s that topic that will more often than not begin some sort of heated debate. Whether it’s over the logistics of a specific religion, or whether there is a “God” at all. As a kid, my parents had bibles lying around the house that I used to read for fun. I loved to read the child versions for the stories. And I knew that I was supposed to take it seriously. I knew that there were people out there who worshiped this “God”, and who studied the words of the bible and lived by them. But I was never able to wrap my head around it. I couldn’t just believe that there was this all powerful being watching over us and controlling everything. And at that point, people would tell me to have “faith”. You’re supposed to believe in him whether you can see him or not.

But the concept of this blind faith in “God” was unsettling to me. I tried. I really did. I remember sitting there trying to pray to “God” as a child. And I would tell myself over and over again that he existed.  But it didn’t do any good. I felt stupid and immature, like I was trying to tell myself that the tooth fairy or Santa Claus were real. But why couldn’t I do it? It worked for everyone else. All of my friends and family believed that there was a “God” so what was wrong with me?

And that was when I realized that people use the belief that there is a “God” as a way to cope with life. As sort of a life line to keep them connected to the world. Can you blame them? I know that the concept of of life in general is pretty intimidating. Everyone needs a reason to force it to make sense. They want to answer that question that everyone has…. Why are we here? So they have faith that “God” has a plan for us all. That he created the Earth and everything on it for a reason, and although we don’t know what it is, there IS a reason.

But I don’t need a reason for being here. Granted, I have those random moments where I question my existence but I don’t need to have a faith in “God” to convince myself that my life has meaning. And I especially don’t need insurance that after I die, I will go to “heaven” or whatever there is after this. I can understand that some people need that, and everyone copes with things differently, that’s their right. But I have “faith” that my life has meaning without “God”. I know that I am a good person without the bible dictating my morals. So I plan to continue on with the acceptance that I don’t have an answer for why we’re here, but I can live with that.

Random Acts of Kindness

I just finished reading a blog posted by this really inspirational woman. For her 38th birthday, instead of asking for anything, she asked her friends and family to do random acts of kindness. She also had a list of 38 RAOKs that she planned on completing the day of her birthday. They ranged from paying for the person next in line at Starbucks to loading groceries into someone’s car to leaving quarters at vending machines and laundromats. I have decided that this is a tradition that I would like to start, not only on my birthday, but I also want to start going out of my way to help people more. Whether it’s just a small gesture or a big one.

I want to give a shout out to my friend Nick Moody who also has a blog that inspires people to meet a new person everyday. I think that that is a great idea as well and I want to play on that, to help a random person everyday in some way. I love reading stories about people who go out of there way to help others. I plan to make a list, much like a Bucket List, but of RAOKs that I want to perform by the end of my life.

Living Life

“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re seventeen and planning for someday, and then quietly and without you really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life,” One Tree Hill.

You get so caught up in your everyday life, you forget to look around and enjoy it. When you’re a teenager, you can’t wait for college. When you’re in college, you can’t wait to get out into the real world and get a career. When you have that career, you can’t wait to get that huge house. Then you have the house, the career, the college degree and you look around. And realize that you didn’t really appreciate all of those incredible experiences that you had. What happens then? You can’t go back and do it again. You only had the one chance and most of us are going to be so focused that we won’t even look around.

But you have those moments of clarity. And I just had one. I realized that I am going to be twenty in less than two years. And although that seems life forever from now, I also looked back, and realized that I was just starting high school four years ago and in what seemed to be a blink of an eye I’m about to graduate. I only have a few months left and then I will be going off to college. And I have already gone through so much. I have lost friends and family; both to death, to the passing of time, and to injuries that neither of us were able to forgive. I have moved out of my parents house to try living on my own. I have had my self esteem taken from the peak of confidence, down to the point that I wondered why I was even alive and begun to build it up again. And the greatest times with friends. Road trips for no reason other than to spend time with each other. Bonfires at the lake. Off roading in the middle of the night. Game nights and movie nights. Drumline trips to State and World Championships. Nights where you just lay around with someone talking about your lives so far and where it will take you. And I have been in love.I have spent every day for two years with one person. Opened myself up and let them get to know every part of me better than anyone else in the world. And then my reality came crashing down when I came to the realization that we couldn’t be together anymore. There are so many people and experiences that have silently been shaping me into the person I am today. And I forget. I get so self involved that I lose sight of the things that are really important to me.

So I am setting a goal for myself. Although my life might get crazy, I will remember to enjoy today while it’s here. To remember that this is my life and to make it the best that I can. That I will have a life where I won’t grow nostalgic for “the good old days” because my life will be great and I will have the good sense to appreciate it.

Appreciating the Positive

So I have been told a million times that helping others is a reward in itself. When you say something nice to someone else it makes you feel better. I’m not sure why I never bought into it. Don’t get me wrong. I compliment my friends and tell random people that I like their scarf or hair that day. But I haven’t really taken the time to think about one specific person and acknowledge the impact that they have had on my life. Even if you don’t know them very well. You could have just had a conversation with someone but realized that… wow. I don’t know very much about that person but what I do know, they are an inspiration.

I have friends who have dreams, passions and goals and are going to great lengths to make them a permanent part of their life. They realized that there was something that they love to do and they went out of there way to do it.

Or friends who have had a rough childhood. A child hood where most people would come out depressed or an alcoholic or hooked on drugs. But there are those few who push through it and become an admirable person despite all odds.

Or maybe just a friend who has been there for you through good times and bad. They have comforted you when you needed to cry and were there for the great memories. All of these people are important. They help you through life and make things bearable. Let them know. Take a minute right now, and think about who in your life has impacted you in a positive way and then tell them. Maybe they don’t even realize how highly you think of them. Everyone can use a little pick me up and hearing that you have been appreciated goes a long way.

Bring Meaning to Your Life

“Everyday we see how truly broken the world is but we keep telling ourselves that it’s all going to be ok. But it’s not going to be ok. I know that now. And once you know that, there’s no going back.”

After you realize that, it’s hard to get back to that place of blissful ignorance. Once that dark side of the world is revealed to you, you can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. What do you do after that? After you realize that there is no point anymore… what keeps you going? Why do you keep living? You try to make it better. Do the little things that bring a smile to a stranger’s face. Go out of your way to prove your love to someone. Or help someone in need. Do your best to be a good person and the world will be a little brighter because of it.