Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

As most of you know, I am the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. The image above holds a special place in my photo album simply because of that. I've never been to the wall, but I intend to go at some point.
When I was growing up, Memorial Day was always about the parade in our small town, visiting my relatives' graves, and cooking out at home. My dad was never big on celebrating the true reason for Memorial Day...and I now know why. 
However, we are coming up on the anniversary of my loss and I sit here looking at this picture thinking, "But for the grace of the gods..." 
See, if my dad's name would have been on that wall, I wouldn't have been born. He often would talk about his time in Vietnam and how he wished he had stayed, fought, and died for his country, then the PTSD wouldn't have destroyed his life the way that it did. It used to make me cry because if he had done those things, I wouldn't be here and I sure as hell wouldn't be the woman I am today for walking on his journey with him.
He was an amazing man and he was my hero (though I can hear him telling me, "Girl, I ain't nobody's hero"). He sacrificed his mind, body, and soul for this country. He may have come home physically whole, but mentally, he would never be the man he was if he hadn't seen and done the things he did. 

So, today please remember that All Gave Some and Some Gave All. We are free because of the men and women who have put their lives on the line. We are able to BBQ and spend time with our families because these people have given up time with theirs.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Learning to Live

Most of you who have been with me for a while know that I'm coming up on a pretty big anniversary. It's been a year since I lost one of the most important people in my dad. That one event threw my world off its axis and I've spent the better part of a year trying to get it back on track.

So here I sit, almost an entire year older and I hope a little wiser. I've been through a lot in the last year, but what I have discovered is that I need to learn how to live. For the most part, I've been simply going through the motions, but I haven't really been living life.

I had a professor this year who told me I need to loosen up, let my hair down, and just have some fun. I sat across from this man who I consider a brilliant man and was dumbfounded. 

He told me I wasn't having fun with my writing. I thought I was having a ball with my writing. I mean, writing is a serious business, right? The good doctor looked at me with a smile on his face and said, "Writing is a very serious business, but if you aren't having any fun, then why the hell are you doing it?" This from the Absent-minded professor? (The brilliant man could never remember where we were when it came to writing assignments.) I walked away from this meeting in a different frame of that really had me thinking.

I put aside what I was working on and put all of my efforts into something new and different. I focused on my blog for school ( and my algebra homework. I picked up a book I've been wanting to read and delved beneath the pages. I found myself smiling more and laughing with friends. I simply stopped trying to live and actually lived.

School came to an end. I finished my exams and I'm not worried about my grades. Why? Because once I stopped worrying about things, it all began to work. I'm simply letting go.

Yesterday, I got up, popped Nickelback on my MP3 player, tied on my tennis shoes, and went for a walk. I have been having some issues lately and I needed to work them out in my head. A lot of my issues deal with the negative voices in my head. Somebody told me it's a record that I need to stop listening to. So, on my walk, I took the record and smashed the hell out of it. There is no way that record can be put back together.

Somewhere along the way this year, I lost sight of me. I stopped believing in myself and thus, lost my passion. I deserve passion! I owe it to myself and I will damn well have it!

So this is me...I'm letting my hair down, giving a huge rebel yell, and I'm barefooting it for awhile. I'm almost 41. I'm not dead. I'm alive and kicking. This is my year of learning to live!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Few Things I'm Learning As I Go

So, I'm a college student. Most of you are aware of that. What you don't know is that I started this journey with one goal in mind: get a degree. That was all I wanted. I wasn't going to school to make friends. I wasn't going to engage if I didn't have to. I wanted to earn a degree and walk back into the world smarter. That's it. I'd mind my own business and live my life and everyone else could just leave me alone.
Last semester, I got kicked off that track of thinking. I met a young man who refused to allow me to live in my shell. He asked me questions and stopped to chat with me on campus. He engaged me and made it his mission to make sure I engaged other people. He changed my life though he will never understand that.
I walked onto campus as one of the older students. I figured the kids are going to look at me as the "old woman" on campus. I never expected for them to like me. I didn't care whether they did or not, but they did. I had a couple of people last year tell me, "You know, you're pretty cool, right?" Me? The bookworm? Seriously? You all need to read up on what being cool is! *G*

This semester a different woman walked onto campus. I walked in a little more confident and a whole lot friendlier. The other day, I laughed all the way home. Want to know why? I had been stopped by 4 different people to chat in the hallways. ME! Then, I walked across our tiny campus with another student, chatting about our previous class. When I realized what had happened, it made me laugh out loud. The woman who walked from class to class with her head down, not being engaged with anyone, has friends on campus and not one of them is my own age.
Here are a few things I'm learning:
1) Age is simply a number
2) You are truly only as old as you feel
3) This new generation has a lot to learn, but they also have a lot to offer.
4) Many of these young people refuse to be silent. They stand up for their convictions (and that is AWESOME!)
5) Youth is pretty blind to age.
6) I actually have something to say that they want to hear.
So, I guess an old dog can learn some new tricks, if only they open themselves up to the opportunity. And it all started with the least likely person.

My quote for this week: "Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars."