Twenty Sixteen, This Is How I Want to Remember You

A lot of life happened this year.

Time moved slowly when things got tough, and sped up when it was all really good. I was clumsy with my heart and unkind to myself when I should have only poured love into my soul. Not all moments that were captured were perfect, and all the undocumented ones happen to be some of my favorite. I learned a bit about what we’ve got to do to be happy- with ourselves, our lives, and our world.

Not all things last forever. Not all people will stay. But it’s the things that last and the one’s who do that I will carry with me moving into this next turn around the sun. I stopped waiting. Stopped waiting for tomorrow, for that someone to call, for the next big ‘moment’ to celebrate. That’s when life grew ten fold- when I started, just started something. Started running when I wanted to do a half marathon. Started saying no when I usually would have said yes. Started smiling at strangers more. Started practicing a lot of self love. I learned to stop looking down at the pavement and my phone- I was awe struck at least once a day, by something beautiful.

The music stayed constant, headphones and speakers turned all the way up. I kept on dancing even when all the lights came on and there were no more songs. I sang a lot of ‘Sweet Disposition’ in the shower; thanks Temper Trap. Television got good again, and there were some nights of binge watching hidden in between the days; thanks Westworld.

The news was sad at times and we said goodbye to many people. Loss, loss, loss. We lost a lot this year. People, elections, love, our minds. The human condition keeps moving forward, so we keep moving forward. Disappointment lingered, happiness appeared. The paradox of the last 365 days. So I made space for more patience and change- all good things take time. I’ve got a lot of time, and a lot of good things.

Choices, I made so many of them. Some were wonderful, some were terrible, some were sad. They led me to new cities, new people and new depths of my heart and soul. People are enriching, the stories they tell and the hope they bring. I wove a lot more love into this tapestry of my life, it colored in what was once very dull, very average. I am lucky, so incredibly lucky.

Dreams became reality, fear became hope. Words were redefined this time. With their magic wielding- allowed me to get lost in other worlds, carved out the path to a new career. I wouldn’t know how to be, who to be, without them. Big love and many thanks.

Forgiveness. It’s that simple. Forgive yourself, and forgive others.

I drank a lot. Coffee, tea, water, GIN. Drunk words and sober thoughts all met in the middle somewhere. And this time, I cried a lot in happiness instead of pain. Stayed up far too late talking peoples ears off about the good ole days. I liked those nights, those memories, those people. I owe you guys one, drinks on me.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.” I said goodbye to a number of things, which in turn brought me something beautiful in the end. Who I am learned to take the time to be selfish. It all came at a price- whether it was letting go of people or places, and the memories they held. The idea and the reality should be one in the same, if they are not, please always remember you can walk away. Especially if there is no more love, love yourself enough to walk away.

Twenty sixteen, you were like a 90’s hip hop song. Far too long, but still so good. You were a ‘Golden Era’ in a time when everything was a little dismal and we were all a little weary. This is how I want to remember you- reckless and wild. And so incredibly important. Thank you for your ways, you brought me more life. Thank you for the days, each one is the best one yet.

-m.j.t.-

 

 

Get Busy Living | Here I Am

After a month of radio silence, sleepless nights, early mornings, and putting my life back into a schedule- I am here.

These past few weeks have allowed for both moments of reflection, and some goal setting as I ring in another year of life. The last 365 days were all filled with so much love, encouragement, support and growth. It’s true what they say- about growing older, and getting wiser. I don’t claim to know everything, but I’m beginning to understand the most important of all: me.

As you age, you handle loss better. For the most part, some things will never change. Once something is your favorite, it will always be your favorite. As the days rolled on, I started collecting my favorite things. Favorite place, favorite book, favorite happy song, favorite sad song, favorite moment so far, favorite goal, and favorite time of day. I realized it’s important to keep these things with you, to remind yourself of them often. They are things that are solidified, steady, and something you can always hold close- you’ll never lose these things.

That is another thing about age; the finality and permanent smudge that everything eventually wears. This all becomes tainted by time, and carried over in waves if we let it. So, sometimes the things we cherished and loved, we must let go. Not all things are here to stay. Not all love lasts forever. Not all moments are as pure and whole as others. And sometimes, they’re so good to us, we carry them on us like limbs and scars.

Time decorates you. Time completes you. Time allows for things to be new again, old again, young again, free again. Embrace it if it lets you, escape it if you must, but never turn your back on it- you’ll never get this back again.

The last and most complete lesson, is to write every day. Write about how you woke up, and rushed out the door. Pick apart those moments between the snooze button, and the last sip of coffee. You’ll start to realize that waking up to a quiet house, is the sound that you like best. That the smell of bread as it begins to toast, is a comfort of its own. Turning on the computer, and the slow ping of emails and updates; reminding you that life is calling. There is a laziness to every morning, that even fills the most chaotic and rushed. Let it in, let it in.

So as I sit here, and age a little more between the words. I welcome you back into my life. I welcome some more reading, some more writing, and a little extra love.

Cheers to another year.¶

 

Get Busy Living | What I thought about when I opened that little box of memories

I sat crossed legged on the floor of my childhood room. The paint’s been redone once again. From sunny yellow, to nauseating pink and purple stripes, now coming to a calm sunset blue. I took out that box, the one that usually remains settled, dormant, untouched for many years. It’s the one you dig out in moments- of nostalgia, sadness, and sometimes weakness.

It contains all but moments- things that should have been thrown out many moons ago. But somehow find themselves still here, living harmoniously inside this cream colored secret box of mine.

I open it slowly, like a gift that keeps on giving- the lid is covered in quotes and words. All dated and signed like I was afraid I’d forget that I wrote them.

What sits at the top is a collection of old birthday cards. From best friends, past friends, and people who were there in passing. But it’s never about the pieces at the top, the things so easily on display for whoever discovered it. It’s always the deeper you dig, the more treasure you find. The closer you get to the love, the closer you get to knowing me.

Because at the bottom, are letters, the remaining pieces of loves, and lovers. The pieces that I consciously stopped remembering. Except for when I open this box. I guess the thing about letting go, is that we never truly do. Never let go completely. And maybe its not so that we have reminders of those people we loved- but so that we can have reminders of who we were when we loved like that. When I loved like that. Someone who loved so fiercely, for not knowing a thing about love at all. Was she loving right? Should she care more? Care less?

How silly it all seems now, because there was never a right way at all. Love was love. Love is love. And it came in many forms.

Maybe it was CD’s of dub-step, with letters written longhand, describing each song. The moment you feel the drop, anticipating it. All those shiny silver disc’s wrapped in handmade envelopes entitled “Moar Lyrics. Moar Fun. Moar Love.” How you listened to it, over and over, in those walls that were still so pink and purple, you were dizzy. Partly from the color, partly from the songs.

Maybe it was love notes. Celebrating seven months of first love and first loving. Postcards marked from Spain. How you checked the mail every day, just up until that very card came. How we dreamed of being lovers in Spain. How loving you was an adventure all on its own.

Maybe it was cling peach jars, and three versions of the same letter, written to the same lover. Filling the jar to the brim with quotes- words from another mind, saying everything your fourteen year old self didn’t have the guts to say. But you spent the time, finding the exact right ones, clipped them up- to hand over in a jar, to a boy, in the middle of the rain, on that very driveway where he’s picked you up a handful of times. How you’d love that boy for a long while.

All love. All different. All beautiful. All their own.

So, the box, the one we keep in the back. Sealed tight with pictures, letter, cards, and your heart. All living simultaneously inside. Take it out every once in a while, blow off the dust, take in the moments.

Because it’s all just proof. Proof that you’ve loved like this, and that you’ll love again. Stronger and better. Each time. With time. With life.¶

 

Get Busy Living | Two years, and a home grew here

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It’s the end of an era, in this tiny back bedroom of apartment  123.

Slowly, we take down the photo’s, decorations, the small trinkets and Polaroids that make this apartment ours, and this room mine. Once the fan stops turning, and the lights go out one final time, it won’t belong to me anymore. I’ll turn in the keys, and get that deposit back.

But right now, one last moment in here, it’s still everything. It’s still my escape.

I’ve made memories in this little room. I fell in love in this room. I’ve made love in this room. I’ve lost and found myself again within these four walls. If they could speak, how much they’d say- what stories they’d have to tell to the next person who unpacks their life.

So many sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, laughter, binge watched TV shows with my best friend, the outfit changes, the growth. It all belongs in here. It all happened here. And eventually it will all be left here.

The girl who lived here for two years will be washed away, steam cleaned, spackled, repainted and polished. In the midst of every morning, she became. She became strong, confident, bold and whole. These walls were a foundation, a place to land unsteady feet. A place to experience life, and herself.

So the splotch on the carpet by the window- spilled coffee from a restless morning.

All the places where the paint has lifted from the walls- pictures of her favorite faces and places used to hang there.

She loved this room. This corner of the world. She wrote stories in these walls. She read stories within these walls. How they took her on adventures. How every day in this home, was an adventure.

And oh how she loved, and oh how she learned.

I look around this room one final time.

Watching ghosts of her, me.

I’ll miss this feeling. I’ll remember this feeling. I’ll pack away this feeling.

This is how it feels, to live.¶

Get Busy Living | You will always have me

My entire life will unintentionally be a dedication to you. Being your older sister, I feel it my duty, to make sure to shelter you from the harsh reality of the world. But I know that I cannot prevent the things that will happen to you in life. My only hope is that I can prepare you for the moments, when the world nudges you in the shoulder a little too rough- and to always be there to cushion the blow. I also hope that I can leave you with a head full of dreams, and a heart full of promise. To remind you that life is a thing of beauty, and that you can always find love in everything you do, and everywhere you go.

We already know that you’ve got success up your sleeve. You’re pursuing your dreams, in a way that makes me stand back in awe. Because when I was eighteen and entering college, I didn’t have a single clue as to who I was, or what I wanted. You showed me that direction is something you take very seriously- something you do with so much drive and ambition. It’s one of the many things that you’ve taught me along the way. It has directed me to always choose that feeling of fulfillment. Regardless of what people may say. Especially the nonbelievers, and the opinions of our parents.

Growing up with you, will always be my favorite part of life. I get to experience life twice. Once on my own, and a second time around to observe. College, boyfriends, first dates, first kisses, and even the first time heartbreak comes around. All these things I had to learn on my own, experience first- some of it was great, and at other times is was awful. But with each experience, it has lead me to some truths, and the best piece of advice I have. That is, you will stand up again. You will move on. You will know how big a heart can grow. You will know better. You will be stronger. You will have me.

No matter what the situation in life, it’s nothing you cannot overcome. You are the strongest, bravest, most head strong girl I know. Life may fight you, but you fight back twice as tough. You have made me believe that every situation in life is temporary. It’s a lesson I always keep with me, no matter what stage in life. I just want you to know, and to remember.

After all the rambling, and the fighting, and the days we may not talk at all. You have been the biggest blessing and lesson in my life. Maybe I never really learned it all through experience. Maybe it was always you. Maybe you have, and will, always teach me the biggest lessons in life. Maybe being older doesn’t always mean wiser- maybe sometimes it just means that I get to walk through life with someone, always. And maybe that’s what I meant to say this whole time.¶

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Get Busy Living | You’re doing just fine

It’s three in the afternoon, and I’m sitting in the middle of campus. Trapped between the smell of roasted coffee and the hum of college life. I feel my flighty nature kicking in. I’ve been at the library far longer than any one person should be. I feel the monotony of a routine starting to make me itchy and anxious for something brand new.  I feel the borderlines of this town slowly closing in. Because I’m looking out the window, and wondering when will be the next time I feel that ‘I’m coming alive again’ kind of feeling.

When I entered college, I thought I had the world figured out. I thought that my major would carry me through four years. I thought that wanting to graduate would be enough. It wasn’t until I started taking classes and being less than interested, that I really began to question everything that I had solidified. I was floating for the first time, at a point in my life where decisions were meant to be finite and definite. Everyone was making plans- and although I had them, they didn’t feel like enough, they didn’t feel like me. So that was the day I changed my major. Three hours with an adviser, trying to pick something that spoke to me. And that wouldn’t be the last time that I spoke with her, and that wouldn’t be the last time that I changed my major.

Four is the number. I changed my major four different times. I was indecisive for entirely “too long” during my college career. But eventually, I found something I was good at. That challenged me. That I enjoyed learning about. I was finally becoming that person again; someone who has plans, and something that resembled solid ground, something I could stand on. But at times, I will still ask, am I chasing purpose, or am I chasing passion?

And the truth? The truth is that I’m walking the fine line between each. But for a long while, I was chasing neither. My writing streak had dwindled. I stopped writing for a good portion of my first two years in college. I stopped putting effort and creativity into my blog- the very two things that makes for good content and great writing. I stopped fueling my passion, because I allowed for practicality to rule my life. It was only when I started to write again, keeping a journal each day, that my writing began to pick up- to take shape and purpose.

The meaning for all of this is that if you feel like you can’t find your purpose- choose to chase and nurture your passion. Understand that when you are passionate about something- it allows for you to fulfill parts of yourself, that practicality and reason are unable to do. Choose to follow the road that is unpaved, less traveled, and new. Choose this because above all else, when you find something that speaks to the very parts of you, that makes waking up every day so easy- and continues to shape your very self- you are choosing to find your purpose. Always keep the most genuine parts of yourself, alive and well.

Chasing your passions, will open up so many doors to finding out what you were meant to do, and who you were meant to be.

So if you’re lost, and you’re wondering if you’re okay. Let me tell you, you’re okay. You’re doing just fine. Life is about choices. Your life is made entirely of your own choices. So choose well, and choose often. Choose what you love, each time, every time- you’ll never be disappointed. You’ll never be lost. ¶

Get Busy Living | For the lovers who want to last forever

You must wear your scars and your hearts, open to the world, leaving nothing to hide. Because you know that you can’t get one, without the other.

There is a beauty in this. The sobering thought that we stand up again, despite the damage and pain we face. It is the constant reminder, that nothing here is permanent. No matter how much we try to preserve the natural state. The heart, our love, this body, the mind. It will all be met with the battle of life. Everything that you will, have, or are going to love, will scar you in some way. They will be the marks left on your heart, and they will run with the memories in your mind.

This is us.

Because we will carry these marks in this vessel of a body. We will use this beautiful thing to make life, love, and carry the sounds of great joy, and to shed the salty kiss of tears. We will be the ones who take an entire lifetime to learn how to properly love ourselves- and in turn, love each other. We will be clumsy, and sometimes ridiculous. And in between walking with ourselves, we will be joined by others. Who we will try to love desperately, fully, and genuinely. There will be times where we will collect the sunshine in the palms of our hands. Gracing our bodies with the warmth of the sun, and the glow from the heat of our love.

And at other times, we will be the unintentional fighters who wind up in the ring. Throwing punches, from the chaos of our noisy minds. Spitting out harsh words tinged by hatred and fear. More scars, more dings, more scratches. Sometimes, our insides will take a portion of the blow- and in those moments, we will feel that it will not rain, but it will pour.

But this only makes us shine.

Because we will continually strive to be the defenders of honesty. We will continue to grow into our wisdom, and seek out our absolutes. We will thread our needles with compromise, and a gentle teaching to be better. We will sew our wounds with lessons, and new horizons.

So, I ask that you carry your scars. With all the pride you can muster. Because nothing here is permanent, nothing will last forever. The scars we healed, and the wounds we tended to, will all eventually fade. But the stories of our lives, the love we shared, and the love we received. Only that will transcend a lifetime.

Be love, spread love; every last piece and part.

That will be our only forever. And that will always be enough.¶

 

Get Busy Living | What I couldn’t put on my resume

I’ve approached the point in my life, where a resume is something I keep on my person at all times. I’ve become more of a list person within the last several months- than my entire life- if that’s even possible. What skills do I have? Writes down a few things. Is proficient in Microsoft Office even impressive anymore? 

Wrapping up the last year of my college experience, has had me waxing nostalgic about all the moments, people, and things that have made a difference in my life. When I started my freshman year, the possibilities for change were endless. I was finishing up old chapters that had to be left behind in my hometown. Along with half my closet, and everything that decorated the walls of my room. A place that I had called home for the last 18 years. Where everything that was familiar, comfortable and homey to me, was being abandoned. Left behind for something bigger, stepping stones, and the opportunity to begin again.

They don’t tell you when you leave for college, that uprooting your life is a hard adjustment. Even when you know it’s coming. You have to learn a new city, and acclimate to the weather, the people, and the change of pace. The food isn’t as good as mom’s cooking, and you begin back at the bottom of the barrel. But what fuels you to continue, is the promise of a shiny, and exhilarating time for being who you always wanted to be.

This is titled,  What I couldn’t put on my resume, because you can’t list what it means to grow. To experience things for the first time. You can’t describe the people who have impacted your life in such profound ways. Or how joining organizations, really changed your outlook on college and eventually, the world.

All these things, I gained throughout the past four years, I am unable to sum up in bullet points. Because they are worth so much more than a piece of paper. When I moved into my dorm freshman year, I had been paired with a random roommate. She was kind, a little shy, and we went on an awkward dinner to Chili’s, to get to know each other. We talked about our hometowns, what we were involved in during high school. The entire conversation I remember just being homesick. We walked around the fair that was being held on campus. Even documented our first night in college with a photo of us standing uncomfortably far from each other. Each night in that tiny room, with our extra long twin beds, we grew closer, and became each other’s secret keepers, and life coaches. By the time winter break rolled around, we were already missing that 10×10 room, and each other’s company. Now as we finish off our college career, she is my best friend, and someone I could never have survived the last four years- let alone life- without.

Another item on my checklist for college, was to join a student organization. To push myself outside of my comfort zone, but also to meet new people. I found myself doing volunteer work with a small group of students, who had just founded the organization the semester prior. No one really knew what they were doing, and I enjoyed being a part of something new. As the year went on, I grew closer to the members, which inspired me to run for a leadership position.

Three years, and three different positions later. I am exhausted. I have cried. I have gotten angry. I yelled. There has been sweat, and maybe even some blood along this path. Our organization has seen five members, and we have grown to an astonishing 45 members. Collectively, we have rebuilt and revived something from the ground up. We learned what it meant to believe in something that looked hopeless. We have gained friendships, we have suffered loss and we have introduced something to the community- together. Something that has fed the homeless, farmed produce, raised money and hope for children battling illness, and twenty four sleepless hours of the most rewarding relay.

The moments that you can’t even begin to share about being selfless for others. The feeling of complete success and awe of what you created with like minded people. Watching an idea come to fruition. A dream realized. Accepting failure, and encouraging success. These things will continue to be a part of me. Realizing we made a difference for someone else, because all we wanted to do was spend our extra time well. Making time when you thought you didn’t have any. Seeing the world. Meeting people with stories that are nothing like your own. Becoming a person. Becoming whole.

How do you even begin to tell someone, that beyond the bullet points, and the expensive piece of paper; that in four years, you became someone who wanted to change the world. Maybe not all at once, but slowly, and steadily. That in four years, it wasn’t always within a classroom that you learned about life and everything that encompasses who you are. You became the kind of person you used to admire.

This is what growing feels like. This is how personal success reads. This is what I couldn’t put on my resume.¶

Get Busy Living | Here’s to the best parts of ourselves

This one is for friends-

I have learned all of the things necessary to live a full life, because you exist.

When really incredible people walk into your life- with no intention of leaving-you keep them close, make them welcome, and do everything you can to have them stay. Because there will be days that you feel you just can’t face, and they will be your guiding light. The one’s who let you know that on the other side of your fear, your secrets, your mistakes- lies a life that is deserving of being well lived.

They are the ones who keep you grounded. Even in all your success, you must always return home to yourself. They remind you that being who you are- is exactly who you should always be. They teach you about the confidence that you never thought you could have. They allow your dreams to be goals, because they see in you everything that you can’t always see in yourself.

Because family is not always the ones who share your blood- but the one’s that you share everything else with.

They teach you that life is this massive, and incredible gift. That there is no such thing as bad days, just days that went a little rough, but nothing some company and good food can’t solve. They teach you that there is room in life for goodness, love, patience, silence, understanding, guidance, and even disappointment. And without all these things, you’re just a shell of a person, wandering this world, so jaded and alone. They will teach you that love is immensely unconditional. And there are no mistakes that can’t be worked out, worked on, or worked through. That what you share is much more incredible than life without each other. That the only thing we truly do fear is the darkness of a life, without each other’s light.

This one is for those very special people. The one’s between all the people who have come and gone. The one’s who stuck around to clean the house, after the party was over. The one’s who mention to bring an umbrella, before the rain has poured. The one’s who leave out leftovers when they know you’ll be there late. The one’s who call with the best news and the worst news. They are the kind of success, which has nothing to do with gaining a thing, but their love. They are the champions of our life, one of the best gifts, and the recipients of our very best selves. They are the ones we silently love. The one’s we forget to tell we love every day.

This one is for friends.

Thank you for everything. Also, I forgot to mention, I love you.¶

Get Busy Living | In this for the in between

Sometimes I feel like I live my life in extremes. I’m a little too happy. Sometimes a little too sad. I give too much. I never take enough. I am forgetful that sometimes I’ve got to be here for the in between.

Between all the great days, and the days we can hardly make our way out of the house- let alone our bed- we live the normal days. The ones where another pot of coffee has been made- and it’s just right. The ones where we forget that we filled the tank of gas over the weekend, so you make it to work on time without a hitch. Especially the ones where we make it through the end of the day, so spent on flitting from place to place that we forgo the shower, and just hop straight into bed.

It was another day where you lived. You took all the time you had, and just used it all up. It’s another day where small, tiny, commonplace miracles happen.

I say this because, when you stop complaining about all the long days, the over burnt coffee, the empty tanks of gas, missed meetings, and the unwashed sheets. There were days where all these things fell into place, and you took them for granted.

So, live for the extremes. Live for the in between. Live for it all. It’s another day that has come and gone. Spend it all, spend it well.¶

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