Stand up eight

Everyone thinks they have a plan.

I’m going to work in this field, have this type of social life, make this much money, live in this neighborhood and have this type of life.

That’s a great plan, as long as you firmly understand and accept that it’s probably not going to work out that way.

And that’s not pessimistic of me to say. It’s realistic. And these unpredictable shifts in the way we expect our life to go are much more common than people care to admit.

Because the only sure thing about your plan, is that it is going to change. 

Sometimes the changes are easy to accept. You move past them with a shrug of your shoulders and say, “ya know what? that’s okay.”

Other times the changes just knock you down. Perhaps it’s because you were so confident that something would fit like a piece into your puzzle that you forgot to remember that there’s a chance it may not work out.

And when that happens, you have to do your best to adapt. Allow yourself to completely feel the initial emotion that comes over you: whether it be disappointment, anger, sadness or anything in-between. Sulk if you have to, eat some ice cream, do what makes you feel better. But don’t let that negative emotion linger. You must remember to keep hustling and keep busting your ass for what it is that you want.

Because if you’re going to let an unexpected glitch in your plan knock you down, you better be damn sure that you get back up.

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

The town that raised me

Despite living only an hour away from where I grew up, I don’t go home very often. It happens for a number of reasons. I’m sure everyone reading this has their fair share of troublesome family issues, and I’m no different. Sometimes going home is tough. But once I’m there I always feel appreciative that despite its challenges and difficulties, I still have a place to come back to.

There’s something so incredibly nostalgic about driving through the town that raised me, the one that’s only one square mile in its entirety. I parked in front of my old school, which holds grades Pre-K through 12 all in one building and is just two stories tall, and had a million flashbacks come to mind.

That school fostered the friendships I continue to have to this day with my best friends, the love for cheerleading that I now embody through coaching, and the lessons I learned from those older and wiser than me, both in and out of the classroom.

No matter how much I develop my own life outside of my hometown, it will always hold such a special place in my heart.

As a kid, I walked down those cracked sidewalks and carried my trumpet home from school, had Easter egg hunts in the park across from my house, learned how to play softball under my dad’s coaching direction on those fields, had mud wars when it rained, watched summer fireworks in the parking lot, had my first job at the pizza and sub shop, fell in love in the way you can only do when you’re in grade school, snuck out with my best friends and drove aimlessly down those roads late at night…. the list could go on forever.

And now when I come home and walk into the corner bar, the central hub where you can see half of your graduating class all in one night, I remember why I am the way I am.

That town raised me.

It showed me how to be a good friend, sister, daughter, aunt, athlete, teammate, student, and most importantly, just a good person in general.

I thank God that I not only have a town that showed me right from wrong, but one that has a community of kind people who I know will always welcome me home with open arms, no matter how long it’s been since my last visit.