“The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.”

What better gift to receive on Christmas than purely the ability to wake up? Most days of the year you forget. If someone were to ask you what you did on say the second of March last year, chances are you wouldn’t remember. Unless of course some major event happened to fall on that day. But December 25th you will always remember each and every year. 

So what is your day defined by? Presents? Feasts? Family? Traditions including any of the aforementioned? What is all boils down to is the “matter” factor, and there’s nothing scientific about this type of “matter”. The “matter” factor indicator of how much something is going to matter in 4 days, 10 months, or 20 years. And you can try as you might but you will never know what anything will mean to you in future. So really appreciate it in the present because you’ll never know when you’ll want to relive the memory. 

You know that sound of gasps, those faces of shock you get when you come to the christmas tree and see your presents…freeze that shock, that joy and save it for a day like the second of march so you can gasp when something shockingly ordinary happens…and be shocked, be happy for the simple fact that you bumped into an old friend at the supermarket. Call it God’s christmas, or just call it life. Good luck finding the presents and don’t forget to give a little back to the Big Guy.

Oh and Merry Christmas 🙂 

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“We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are”

I have an obsession with the motif of mirrors. No matter what I write a mirror ends up in the story somewhere if not completely revolving around it. I am not conceited, in fact I have this weird habit of squinting when I look in mirrors, I am sort of scared to look in the mirror in the morning. Wouldn’t you be? I mean who knows what a night of tossing and turning did to your hair and don’t even get me started on the possibility of a pimple showing up. 

So I have this love/hate relationship with mirrors. Mirrors are like the paradox of humanity as we know it. I mean think about, we believe in things like God, that someone loves us, that a dream will come true… yet we never find it in us to believe in the person staring back at us. Why can’t we believe in ourselves if we can so easily believe in the things we never see?

I struggle with this everyday. I believe the relationship with one’s self is the hardest and the most rewarding. This relationship really blossomed for me going away to college, I came to see who I was aside from the environment in which I had been born. And no matter where I go that person staring back at me in the mirror is going to be my companion. Somedays I freak myself out, I look a little too grown up. Other days I freak myself out, I look a little like Ke$ha in the opening scene of the Tik Tok music video.  

Mirrors make us stop and see how we look to the world. The mirror never really conveys the stereotypes or judgements others may have of us. The mirror is purely us seeing ourselves, with our judgements. And eventually you have to learn to let those go because you can’t see how beautiful you are if you keep believing in negative words you think up…I mean those words are internal. The external you can’t just be a “10” if the internal you is on a negative numerical ranking system.

I have found when this happens you are just left feeling completely out of whack. You have these ideals you build in your head and when they don’t match who you are in your life this happens. The same can happen where you let yourself down by imagining yourself as perfect, and finding yourself disappointed when you look in the mirror. So what should you think? What should you want to see?

Here’s the secret: There is only feature you have to worry about.

 Your smile. 

 I hope the person in the mirror smiles with the same smile I knew at 5, 10, and 15. That means I’m happy. And that’s all I ever wanted to see. 

You Are Who You Run With

We’ve all heard it, but have we learned it?

 The first time I heard it was when my professors (in a college course I was taking as a freshman in high school) started a lecture with it. I got the point he was trying to make but I would not learn the lesson just yet. To be honest, I still myself learning this lesson. 

We all make friends, some that are good for us others that are bad for us. Some that are both. The world likes to tell us that friends are good people who would never hurt us. The truth is friends have, friends do, and friends will hurt you. You make the choice from that point on to work through it or graciously decline furthering that relationship.

When I was in high school all I ever wanted were friends. They were especially important when you consider the environment in which I was growing up. I attended an all girls Catholic school. This is not a bad thing, but a sort of category to which comes consequences. We all wore uniforms, we had very similar schedules, we had a small sampling of clubs, and the same day to day routine. Friends, were one of the few forms of expression. This is why perhaps at institutions such as this cliques are so prominent. Such groupings are one of the few means of expression.

A school can censor your artwork, your writing, your acting, and your demeanor. You can rebel but of course you will suffer consequences. In high school you have parents to consider, who will in small ways dictate how your life is to be, who you are to see, where you are to go. With so much working against you, it is a miracle you can sometimes escape it all and for the 6 hours you are in school form small, structured friendships. It is hard to even say if those “acquaintances” are truly friends, if your schedules were to change would they still find time to see you? There are so many factors that go into the process of acquiring friends, but if it were not worth it people would not do it. So we make friends. 

I will be honest and say I did make some friends that were not the best influence on me. Luckily I took that as a lesson and learned to involve myself with them less. And it was in doing so I realized they were not my true friends. They did not care if I did not call them, they only cared when they needed something.

So what can be learned from this? A lot. I went to college with the mentality that if anyone used me to the point they hurt me they were gone. And trust me, I had to put this lesson to practice plenty of times. While it was hard to see that some people have to leave your life I took comfort in the promise of something better. They say God never takes something from you without the intention of replacing it, often with something better. I was lucky enough to see this. The people who came into my life in college helped me bloom into a much better person. They saw my potential and they worked to help me reach it. 

I remember that moment, just after my parents walked out of my dorm and I was all alone in the room. My two roommates were not staying for the night, I spent my first day and night in college truly alone. There I was with all my college goodies, I had spent months in the summer compiling. I had thought of everything I needed for my new home. And then it hit me. I was alone in one of the biggest cities in the world. Suddenly my blue pillows and pictures scattered on the walls were not enough. 

How would I ever survive? Where would I start? I never took this AP test. 

I just jumped. I made a list of things I wanted to do and I started doing it. I went Greek, I became a journalist. I made two choices that would shape my entire life. From those two choices, I crossed paths with an array of people who would not change me, but would help me find myself. 

 

You are who you run with. And I just want you to ask yourself are they running the block or the marathon in your life?

 

Life’s about choices. Choose wisely.