Your twenty-somethings

Dear friends,

I think I am at this weird point in my life (24 years of age in case you were wondering) that I wonder what the heck I am going to do with the rest of my time here. I find myself pouring over magazines and books and photos of pastry and bread and travel and food, food, food! I sit at home most nights and wonder what I could cook or bake before I head to bed. I dream about the kitchen I’ll have one day, Wolf range, SubZero fridge, with beautiful tile and the espresso maker of my dreams.

I wake up most mornings and realize that I feel like I am just going through the stages of life:  wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to sleep, repeat. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like to think I have plenty of fun too. I’ve joined a wine drinking (tasting?) group. I go to the theatre (Hamilton…going a second time this year in June). I’ve started going to SoulCycle (thanks Chrissy for the free classes and for getting my ass in shape again). I run half marathons. Okay, well, full disclosure. I’ve only run two half marathons, which makes it a full, right?

But, nevertheless, something is missing, no?

Like I said before, there are some days when I think about becoming a professional bread baker. What I thought was a hobby has turned into a full-blown obsession. There are other days I think I should blow my savings and go travel, finding myself abroad (whatever that means, right?)  I dream about backpacking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I think about spending month(s) in France, eating every GD croissant that crosses my path, while simultaneously seeing Paris through the eyes of Julia Child.  There are the days I think I should be a writer (lol).  I recently had a question published online in The New York Times. Please hand me my Pulitzer now…thank you.

There is always this desire to get married and have kids too, especially as I see all these folks getting engaged on the ‘gram and the ‘book. Don’t worry, I know that my time will come. If not, just picture me with my two Golden Retrievers snuggled up on the couch each night as we shovel lemon bars in our mouths as quickly as we can (I say we, but I don’t think dogs are supposed to be eating that much curd).

Then there are the days where I have this inner desire to be doing something greater, something extremely meaningful that has a direct impact on a particular community. I think that maybe I should pack up my bags and head to New Orleans. I mean, could you imagine? Gumbo, beignets, and cafe au laits, all day, everyday?! In all seriousness, I miss serving. I miss working with people on that kind of a level: teaching, tutoring, polishing a dirt floor in cow dung in the middle of nowhere. Yes, that’s what I miss. Sometimes, I convince myself that I should join the Catholic Church and become a Christian Brother. I think we all go through that phase in life, but what a great way to live a meaningful, purposeful life.

Just a few weeks ago, I was daydreaming about winning the lottery: me and the other 8 billion people on this planet. But, could you imagine!? Holy toledo! I’d be happy with just $64,000 to pay off my student loans (if you’re a total stranger and are feeling so compelled to pay off my student loans after reading this, well, hey, slide into my DMs)! I am often caught daydreaming about the past, fun, random memories that pop up because a certain song comes on, a certain image comes up, or an odd flashback just happens to occur.

I call this ‘Your twenty-somethings’ because I have been told (I think) that your twenties are some of the most exciting times of your life.  And while they have been, and are, I think there is more to come. I am hopeful that there is plenty more to come. While I do not consider myself the most successful nor the most accomplished, I do consider myself amongst the most compassionate, the most loving, and the most dedicated to anything or anyone.

And that, to a certain extent, is what I am most proud of…

regardless if I become a PhD holder, professional bread baker, extensive traveler, wealthy lottery winner, or Golden Retriever-toting-kinda-guy.

 

 

Needless to say, I am in the midst of planning my summer vacation(s) as we speak. Cheers to all of you, especially those of you dealing with these kinds of blues in your twenty-somethings.

 

be kind to one another.

-p

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Take a deep breath.

Hi. Hello. I know it’s been a long time. Not sure why I haven’t written. I’d like to blame the often-used excuse of being busy, and maybe that’s a little bit of the real story. Writing for me is also like reading: I love it when I do it, but I don’t do it often enough. I had a bit of a rough patch today at work, one of those moments where you feel like you’re never fully caught up and yet you’re trying to squeeze out as much as you possibly can from one singular day. Like I explained to a student today, it just feels like I’ve got too many tabs open in my brain lately. I am constantly thinking about what I have to do next, so much so that it is becoming hard for me to just relax, to just be at peace. This past Saturday, I slept in until 10:14 a.m. to be exact. Haven’t done that in ages. It might’ve helped that I didn’t actually crawl into bed until 11:30 p.m., but I was especially impressed of myself.  I finally turned my phone off. Totally off. No alarm. Nothing to wake me up (especially as I slept with my white noise in the background).

This past week has proven to be mentally and emotionally demanding for me. I think that my family now realizes how much I internalize those ‘tough-to-deal-with’ parts of life. My great-uncle (mom’s uncle and grandmother’s brother) has been in the hospital dealing with a collapsed lung, and we all consider him to be our family historian.  What a wealth of knowledge Uncle Bud continues to be (he blogs almost daily and has kept a daily journal since he was 16)!  He is now into his early-90s and his posts constantly make our family laugh and smile. One of my personal favorites was the day he bought a new package of socks–still makes my mom and I laugh every time we talk about it.

A friend of mine from graduate school lost her mom this past Sunday to a long and hard fought battle with cancer. I nearly broke down in tears when I read the news on Facebook this morning. News like this certainly makes you reevaluate every day altogether. I hate to sound cliché, but it truly makes you hug those you love just a little tighter every single day. How important, how crucial it is to tell people that you love them. I’ve said this so many times on here, and I’ll continue to say it because of how important it is to remind those in your life.

Tomorrow would have been my uncle’s 60th birthday (if I’m not mistaken on the age). My computer sent me a notification tonight reminding me to wish him a happy birthday. It was a tough reminder that he is no longer here, and oh, how I desperately wish he were here. There are some days that I would just love to get his opinion about things. He was and always will be the smartest man that any of us in our family ever knew.

It is days like today when I feel so homesick. I’m just an hour and a half away from home, but you just miss your people sometimes, ya know? I was just telling someone that I never fully realized how much I need to have my people close to me. A good friend of mine from college moved back to the area this past October, and unfortunately, she’s leaving again at the end of next month. I can already feel the knot in my stomach developing, the dreadful day when she packs up and leaves again. Vick, if you’r reading this, I hope you know how much you mean to me and how much I will miss you. I know that you’re not one for touchy feely, but it’s going to be really hard for me to say goodbye this time around. You are one of these people that I’m talking about, one of my people because you know me. I know you. But you know me. You’re part of the inner circle. Ha. That made me laugh, but I mean every word. You really get me. And we’ve had so much fun in the last few months but, that’s the tough part about life. How I wish I could always pack up my people and bring them with me wherever I go, making sure that they never leave.

There are a few others out there that I wish were closer, at least within arm’s reach, am I right? It’s really tough growing up. I told a prospective student of ours to delay it as much as possible. Go to graduate school. Stay in school as long as you can. People were right about that. Because there are those moments in life when you so desperately wish you were 12 again, before the world got so serious all the time.

Before I go, I want you to all know that I am in an effort to raise a personal goal of $1,000 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event at Saint Mary’s College. I am just $187 away from completing my goal, and it’s on days like today, when I think about the evil that cancer causes in all of our lives. How many of us out there have lost a loved one or loved ones from this disease. We can and will find a cure, maybe not tomorrow nor the next day, but we will.

Please feel free to contribute to this organization that seeks to celebrate more birthdays each and every day.

Today, remember to have faith. Have hope. In every way, in every aspect of your life.

You can do it.

be kind to one another.

–p

2018–>2019

Hi, it’s me again.  Like many things, I had wanted to be a bit more active on here than I have been of course.  With the start of a new job, a new apartment, and just a new start on life, things have been more than a bit crazy!

I had told myself that this year would be the first year for me to write my own Christmas card/letter.  In fact, I actually have a solid two-page draft on my laptop.  And then I thought about this thing called postage and decided that I should probably save my money this year.  As you might remember from previous years’ posts, I am not much one for this “new year, new me” business, but I am all about the resolutions…for the most part.  2018 brought a lot of ups and downs for me, many of which I have mentioned here.  It brought me a new love of my life via sourdough bread baking.  Thanks again Abby for pushing me to do this, despite you killing every one of our bread babies together.  I have decided to continue this idea of a baking resolution each year, and in 2019, I have decided to tackle the croissant!  Pray for me as I enter this new exploration into buttery, flaky, and crispy layers of this French confection.  I’ve already bought the next size up in my favorite sweatpants in case the old ones start to get a little tight.  Just kidding!

When I think about 2018, I hate to say it, but I feel like my own graduation from my master’s program somehow got overshadowed by the overwhelming feelings of ‘what’s next.’  At the time, I was thinking, “Great, I’ve got this master’s degree, now what?”  Ph.D programs went south.  I had no job.  I was moving back home to Modesto.  Holy cow, my quarter-life crisis came much earlier than I had anticipated.  Combine this with the constant desire to check social media, of all platforms, and see your friends studying/traveling abroad, eating croissants in Paris, sitting on the beaches of Hawaii, or exploring some unchartered territory that I had only ever dreamed of visiting myself.  It wasn’t until later this year that I decided to delete social media from my phone completely.  I completed deleted both my Snapchat and Twitter accounts and decided that I would only check Facebook and Instagram on my iPad when I got home each day.  Yes, the withdrawals did happen, but I found myself spending more time reading the news or catching up on a tv show or even simply making my bed each day.  I am both excited and proud of myself for taking this step to rid myself of the depression that happens when you mindlessly scroll through social media, seeing people do the things that your financial situation prevents you from doing yourself.

I want to clarify something I wrote above.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study at Cal Poly and get my master’s.  In fact, I am even more proud of the fact that I graduated with distinction in a master’s program that truly challenged every piece of my existence.  I absolutely fell in love with the research I conducted for my quasi-thesis and hope to continue this exploration in future studies as well.

As I continue to examine the last twelve months, I keep stumbling upon one thing that really seems to stick out.  I ask myself, “What brought you the most joy this year?”  The answer to this question for me really is quite easy.  I am most joyful when I bring joy to other people, in a variety of different ways.  Whether it’s making dinner for close friends or baking for my office every Monday, I am most happy when I am able to bring others happiness and joy as well.  It is something that I get from both my mom and grandmother.  In fact, I realize that my grandmother, even in her early eighties, is constantly going out of her way to help people every day, and at first, I could not figure out why she does this.  And then I realized where I got it from.  I do the same things she does for the same exact reason.  That is one, of several things, of which I am most grateful to have inherited from my mom and grandmother–their selfless giving is paralleled by no other human being that I know (except maybe Jesus of course).

Like I said earlier, 2018 was tough for so many reasons.  I find myself worried about finances more than I ever have.  When you do a job that you love but one that doesn’t pay all that well, you find yourself cutting back, doing less to really make ends meet.  Combine that with a solid $64k in student loan debt, and you really start to reexamine things.  I hate to say that this is what I now constantly focus on, but I guess that is part fo the growing up process?  I mean, if you know anybody with an extra $64k lying around, feel free to send me a message.  I imagine the ad in a newspaper would look something like this:
WANTED:  $64,000 to pay off a good human’s student loan debt, someone who wants to actively change the world by bringing joy to others in a variety of ways without asking for anything in return

Sounds pretty good, right?  Who knows…maybe I’ll win the Powerball this year or something.

As I start the new year, I really hope to achieve the following.  Sometimes, I really hate bullet lists, but for some reason, it’s like writing your grocery list down, instead of just trying to remember it for memory.  I hope that this serves as my reminder throughout the year, and maybe even quite possibly, the extra push you needed to get your list started too:

  • Make your bed.  Every day.  It looks good, and it feels good when you pull back those covers every night.
  • Worry less–about your future and your finances.  Money is just money, right?
  • Make croissants…for a gazillion different reasons.
  • Eat healthier, and by eat healthier, I mean more fresh ingredients, more fresh vegetables.  Experiment.  Maybe even eat more kale.  Thank Amanda for this because she makes the best kale.
  • Write more.  On here and on paper.  With that being said, write more letters and cards and postcards.
  • Your hard work will pay off.  I know you feel like you’re not living up to your full potential, but you will!  It will happen soon enough.  You will have your “big break!”
  • Go outside more.  Sit outside more.  Read your book outside more.  Just be outside, and enjoy the pretty views.
  • Do more of the things you say you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Remind your friends of how much you love them.  That’s important, and they need to be reminded, even if they say they don’t.
  • Savor the moment.  Live in it more.  Don’t be constantly concerned about what is coming or happening next.  You’re in it right now.  Stay there.

Enjoy the night.  Enjoy 2019.  But most of all, enjoy each other, today and always.

be kind to one another.

–p

 

I’ve been doing just fine

Hi there. Wow. It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually taken the time to sit down and think about all of my thoughts.  I should probably give you just a brief update before we dive on in, right?

I meant to check this to see about the last time I wrote on here. I am sure since then, I’ve probably baked countless times. Most recently, I popped out four loaves of Tartine’s sourdough bread. Kind of funny to think that 9 months ago, a friend of mine thought it’d be fun to make sourdough bread babies together (ironically enough Abby, 9 months later, and I’m still making’ bread babies)! There is something so therapeutic about bread. Sure, it takes a lot of time, energy, dedication to the craft (literally hanging out in your house or apartment all day to tend to your bread dough babies). But it’s worth it. I brought in a few loaves of it to my coworkers several weeks ago, and it was devoured by noon. You could even call me a bit obsessed with it. As many of you know, I like to think that I can control just about every aspect of my life. Bread baking, however, makes me realize that this is  not at all possible. I have come to compare bread baking much to that of life. Regardless of what you do or how much you do something, each loaf is always going to be different. It’ll have it’s pluses and minuses, like today, when the second loaf did not turn out quite as crispy as I wanted it to. But I must say, it’s going to make the absolute best French toast in the morning.

There’s one update.

I’ve nearly given up social media completely. My Snapchat and Twitter accounts have been completely deleted. And my Facebook and Instagram apps have been removed from my phone. I only allow myself to check Facebook on my laptop and my iPad. But beyond that, that’s it. And you know what? It is extremely therapeutic, much like bread baking. These last two weeks have been much more relaxing. I’ve slowly begun to read more, working my way through this book that I’ve been reading now for several months. I peruse The New York Times almost hourly (could be a new addiction, right?), and I find myself much more aware of everything around me. There is no longer a constant desire to spend countless hours swiping through social media, literally wasting time doing absolutely nothing. I no longer find myself jealous of those traveling abroad and drinking cappuccinos in Italy or eating paella in Barcelona. But rather, I’m focusing on me. And that gives me such life. I bake more. I organize more. I find a new bread recipe or blog to explore.

I wish I could say these last few months have been so peachy keen, but as we all know, there are parts of life that still seem overwhelming. My car is making weird noises, so naturally that gives me an ulcer. I was perusing my student loan debt today as well, which makes me 0 and 2. If anybody is willing to write a $65,000 check today or tomorrow or even the next week, I am more than willing to give you my address. I’ll make you dinner and give you a big hug if you’d like to deliver the check in person. These are those weird moments in life when everything seems so overwhelming, and while my concerns are probably very minimal when compared to others, there are, nevertheless, overwhelming.

It is Sunday, November 4. Where the hell has the time gone? What I am about to say will also sound so very cliche, but the world just seems to keep going 180 miles per hour right in front of you, and you don’t even know where to begin. A former professor of mine asked me this past Thursday about publishing my master’s research. Add that to the laundry list of things I probably should be doing. Will I ever go on to get my PhD? Will I ever pay off this debt? Will I ever even be able to own my own home? Will my car ever stop making this stupid noise? (As I write this, I realize that these sound like the most petty and trivial of matters, but they have seemed to be bundling up so much lately).

A week from today, I will be running my second half marathon…ever!  Just six days from now, I will be representing Saint Mary’s College at the Panetta Institute’s annual fundraiser, tuxedo and all. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, right? Maybe I just need a day off.

Woof.

be kind to one another.

–p

P.S. I took a screenshot of this quote I received from a professor this week:

“Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”

–Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Sometimes, we need a reminder like that.

Dream Big Work Hard

A family friend gave me this bracelet as part of my graduation gift this year.  It reads, “DREAM BIG WORK HARD,” part of the fantastic marketing done by the JJ Watt Foundation.  Ironically enough, I threw it on this past Tuesday as I officially began my travel season for work.  At the end of the third school I was visiting (and the last for the day), a student asked me a dozen or so questions about my alma mater.  The last question was this:

So what’s the story about your bracelet?

I hadn’t really thought about it hard enough to even come up with an intelligent response, but I did somehow have the sense to say this:

Oh this?  Well, a family friend gave it to me.  From the JJ Watt Foundation.  I figured today is my first day meeting with students like yourself, so I thought it’d be a solid reminder for me.  Couldn’t hurt, right?

These last few weeks have been so busy folks.  I’ve been going 180 miles an hour, but I am absolutely loving it.  I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and you know what?  That feeling takes a long time to achieve.  Let me tell you.  Trust me.  I think that I had my quarter life crisis early–T God.  I told some parents that this week, and they thought it was funny.  So I’m going to stick with that joke.  At least it brings some much needed laugher, am I right?

Yesterday, I spent nearly an hour looking up recipes for my new smoker/barbecuer.  Ever have those moments where you somehow find yourself in a rabbit hole of mindlessness, whether it be Wikipedia searches, YouTube videos, or other random ass content on the Internet?  Raise your hands high.  We’ve all been there.  I also think that’s how we cope.  That’s how we deal with the craziness of our lives.  It’s weird because as I do it, I know that my mind is subconsciously thinking about something else or someone else so hardcore.  It’s like those times at the end of the day when we’ve been so entrenched in work, and we finally sit down, and then we finally realize what we’ve actually been thinking about.  I am 24 years old, with a new job, meeting new people, doing all sorts of new things.  And new can be tough.  Whether it’s new friends, new places, new responsibilities.  Change can be tough, even when you’re going back to someplace that you absolutely love.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a student who appeared to be hitting a rough patch.  We all have those days, and I knew that I, out of anyone, could most easily relate.  I went over and did a brief check-in, just to make sure that the world was going to be okay.  It made me realize how much I love human interaction, how much I love being in the presence of others.  It also made me realize how much we need to be on the lookout for one another. In today’s world, so many feel alone, so many feel unimportant.  So, I’ve got a challenge for all of you: go out into the world in the next week or two weeks and find that person in your life and make them feel like the most important person in the world.  Make them feel like they have never felt before.  Make them realize how much they mean to you and the world around you.  We need to do more lifting up.  We need to be more supportive.  We need to be more aware of those around us.  There are people out there who just want someone to check in with them.  So do it.  It is so important.

I bought this card today that I feel perfectly describes what I am trying to say here:

You’re the lone corn dog in a world of plain wieners.  In other words, you’re amazing.

I haven’t decided who will be the lucky recipient of this one, but all I can say is, make someone feel like a corn dog.  We don’t need any more plain wieners.

So don’t be a plain wiener.

If that didn’t just make you laugh right now, well, shit.  Go find a sense of humor.

And always,

be kind to one another.

–p

P.S. I bet you thought I started this post off going in one direction, and then I totally tricked you by going another direction that probably doesn’t make any sense.  Oh well. Happy Sunday!

PSA: Desperately seeking out a pen pal. Like a legit one. I’m ready to write. I’ve got great stationary and plenty o’stamps.

The start of something new

I am not even too sure where to begin with all of you.  I realize that it has been too long.  There have been so many times when I sit down to write something, and for some reason, halfway through writing, I stop.  Either I am not satisfied with how I am writing it or (most likely) I find myself just too tired to continue.  I would have to say that the last six months have been anything but stable.  Between graduating from Cal Poly and moving home to Modesto, I feel as if the foundation and stability of my life has literally been ripped out from underneath me.

Yesterday, I started my first big boy job as an Admissions Counselor at my alma mater, Saint Mary’s College of California.  While I am thrilled to be back at SMC, I am already overwhelmed with an immense amount of information in order to do the job.  As my mama always says though, “One day at a time.”  My living situation here up in the Bay is a little uncertain which, of course, causes me an immense amount of stress and anxiety.  I am always excited for this learning curve that happens when you start a new beginning, yet there are moments when I wish I just knew how to ‘do it all’ so to speak.  And yes, I do realize the contradiction and irony of both of those statements.  New people.  New environment (kind of).  And new ins and outs.  Scary and exciting and nerve-racking and fun and ahhhhhh.  Can you feel my angst?  At least I started everything off right by bringing in a fresh batch of lemon bars to the office.  Making Mondays better.  That’s my goal.  So, if you ever happen to be in the Bay Area and stop by Saint Mary’s College on a Monday morning, be sure to stop by and say hi.  There might just be a delicious baked good waiting for you.

These last six or so months have also brought a lot of different thoughts about life.  There are moments when I find myself driving down the street thinking about something completely out of the ordinary.  I think it’s one of those things that your mind is thinking about subconsciously, and then, out of the blue, your mind really starts thinking about it. After I was rejected from each of the eight PhD programs I applied to, I thought that was it for me.  I felt like failure.  I felt like I had let everyone down, but worst of all, I felt like I had let myself down.  And that is the worst feeling of failure.  And then, once I graduated and I didn’t have a job, I really felt out of place.  Here I was with two degrees, no job, and I was moving back in with the folks…what???  Is this how it’s supposed to be?  If you know me well, you know that I like to think that I have everything figured out or I at least like to appear that I do.  So when there is this much uncertainty in my life, I start to lose it.  Trust me, there were many nights before graduating where I would start to cry because I felt like I had just screwed up big time.  I no longer feel this way, yet I am still nervous for whatever lies ahead.  As I have said many times before, I would love to know what God’s ultimate plan is for me, and I will do my best to try to figure out what it is going to look like.  But, I know that I won’t necessarily have it all worked out.  There will be some setbacks, some kinks in the road if you will, but I know for a fact that I am where I am supposed to be.  And I have to trust in that.

I would have to say that one of the hardest parts about this entire transition out of Cal Poly has been saying goodbye to some really solid, close friends.  That is the absolute worst, and when I start to think about it, I get emotional because of how much I miss them every single day.  How I wish we could just package up our friends and bring them with us wherever we go.  And unfortunately, that isn’t how the world works.  Amanda, Abby, Carolyn (x2), Jasmine, Audrey, Kate, Jessica, Brad, Alex, Megan, Kathleen, Elizabeth, Debi, Mark, Katie, Wendy, and Anna:  please know how desperately I wish you were all here with me, ready for food and wine and laughs and cries and everything in between.  Because each of you have brought so much into my life and have contributed so much to who I am today, I am forever grateful for all that you continue to do to support and love me.

That is exactly what friends are for.  And that is exactly what I need from people like yourselves.  Thank you so much.

And that’s it for now.  There is much more to come, much more that I want to talk about. But another time, sometime soon.

be kind to one another.

–p

A letter to you

Dear You,

It’s been a crazy few months, hasn’t it?  You’ve been stressed out, overwhelmed, and embarrassed.  And yet, life goes on, doesn’t it?  Right when you begin to think that your life is spiraling downward, something happens and picks you back up to where you truly belong.  The negativity in your life seems to peak, hitting an all-time-high, something that you have never experienced before.  To a certain extent, it feels like this is your first time really failing.  The irony here, is, of course, that you didn’t fail.  You failed no one.  You feel like you have failed yourself, but that simply is not the case.  While it may feel like failure, it really isn’t.  These last few weeks and months have felt like misery–each day, something seems to happen which takes a toll on my ability to rebuild the happiness I had before.  And it’s tough.  It’s tough to pretend that your life is figured out, that you have everything put together.  But I don’t.  In fact, I am far from that.  I have nothing figured out beyond graduation.

And that is terrifying.

I have absolutely zero idea what I am doing.  There is zero direction in my life.  And that freaks me out.  I hate having to leave the network that I’ve developed here.  I felt this way when I left Saint Mary’s.  It’s really tough to leave your support network.  It’s even harder to leave the people you truly love the most.  And that is what I am most worried about.  Forget the job.  Forget the money.  Forget the bills.  This is what really matters most to me.  I think you all know that.  At the end of the day, that is what I am most worried about.  Of course, who wouldn’t be?  Right?

I take an exam next weekend that will determine whether or not I will actually graduate.  Also terrifying.  The level of anxiety I am currently experiencing is paralleled by nothing ever before in my life.  I think that this is a form of torture and should seriously be outlawed.  72 hours.  3 essay questions.  Go.  Oh, and turn it in on your 24th birthday.  I mean, no better way to celebrate??

As my time is coming to a close, both at Cal Poly and in San Luis Obispo, I have come to learn the following (feel free to take with you whatever you might find inspirational or not):

  • Challenge yourself.  And trust me, you don’t have to do this on your own because the world will naturally challenge you, each and every day.
  • Love people.  Love those who mean the most to you because that’s what love is all about right?
  • Stop apologizing, unless you really screw up.  And most importantly, never apologize for the way that you feel, simply because, you’re not wrong.
  • Eat good food.  Stop wasting time on sad food.  Eat the second roll.  Have another slice.  Be happy doing it.  And yes, by all means, if you’ve already finished one creme brûlée, order another.
  • I used to have this quote on my refrigerator that I absolutely love:  there is no time to leave important words unsaid.  So, go say them.  Stop holding your words and feelings back.  Take the advice from John Mayer, say what you need to say.
  • Put your phone away.  Your texts, Snapchats, and Facebook notifications really aren’t that important when you’re with another human being.  Focus on that one person or group of people before your phone.  One day, you’ll thank me for it.  Trust me.
  • Look people in the eye.  This is a new one that I’m just learning.  You’d be amazed how much more you learn about it a conversation when you’re looking at a person dead in the eye.  Just don’t do this in a creepy way, but also, you’ll discover how quickly you get lost in that person and in the conversation you’re having.
  • Ask the tough questions.  Seriously.  You’ll learn more about yourself and others if you ask those questions.  Be honest.  Be open.  You’ll be glad you did.

I think that’s enough for now; I’m getting tired and have a paper to work on.  But before I go, I have to ask

Pray for me.  Pray for guidance, support, love, happiness, and hope.  I could really use it and appreciate that kind of strength always.

Also, tell people you love them.  You know that’s important to me, so just go do it. And if they forgot, remind them.

be kind to one another.

–p