The Time of My Life

We’ve all seen Dirty Dancing. Okay, most of us right? We all remember the iconic song, “I’ve had the time of my life.” And we just want the incredible experience to get the chance to belt the chorus.

I think I experienced a moment close enough for a chorus or maybe two.

Let me paint you a picture.

It’s the California sunset, cast over the golden mountains in the distance, a clear picture from the wooden deck I sat on with my family and friends. Jump back a week, the friends embark on a journey out west from Upland, Indiana. 32 hours in the car can drive someone crazy, if you don’t find the right people to spend it with.

Thankfully, we picked all the right people. And the drive? That was the best part. We stopped at every small town, Route 66 attraction we could find, along with the Grand Canyon. We saw a whale that couldn’t swim, Cadillacs that couldn’t drive and soda pop you couldn’t drink. Despite all the “could nots,” the sights were spectacular.

Arriving in California, you can imagine our fatigue and then we came to find out we would be sharing our Airbnb with a man named Bob. He was a nice man, but we didn’t expect to meet him there.

We filled our days with sightseeing, laughter, road trips and celebrity house hunting, taking wrong turns and joking about it the whole way. The hike to the 7.5 mile hike to the Hollywood sign took a lot out of us and by the end, we were just happy to see our car.

We cooked meals and went out to eat, most popular among our group were pizza and tacos. With two boys and two girls in our company (and Bob of course) us girls had to eat and cook with a man’s appetite, but it all evened out with the hiking we were doing.

After a free guided tour of Fox Studios, we got gas, which was $4.99 in LA, and headed to Thousand Oaks, CA to visit family for the last two days. We were greeted with a feast of enchiladas, chips and salsa, much better than anything we had prepared and eaten that week.

Then we stayed up late into the night, catching up on three years of lost time with my cousin. The next day, we hiked, found the beach and ate more tacos, before the scene I described earlier took place and it was time to leave.

It was serene in California. It was just the four of us and nobody else needed to be thought of. We are four single people who will never experience a trip like this one again as our lives progress forward.

The trip in whole didn’t consist of deep theological talks or nights filled with emotional conversation, but laughter and jokes that continue on past Spring Break. The ride back was not all the fun and games the ride there was, because we were tired and drove through two nights instead of one.

But we hugged and missed each other the whole weekend following. We went from spending every waking moment with each other, to no time at all and it was sad. But the joy I felt with those people at that time, continued into joy at school and in other relationships.

I can’t imagine a life where trips like these are in the past and not upcoming and always present. One day, I’ll look back but today I’m eagerly awaiting the next adventure and the next.

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The Final Point

People say you never know when your last game will be. When the last time you’ll touch the ball of the sport you love is. When you’ll hit the ground and taste the turf last, when your last goal will be.

But I knew. By the time Nationals rolled around my senior year of high school, I knew I wasn’t playing volleyball in college. The last game I would ever play was looming just days in front of me.ret1

The anticipation and the effort I put into those last few days of the game were possibly more than I ever had before. And when we won that last game, when we cried the night before and the night of, nine years of practices, tournaments, car rides, victories and losses flashed before me. But I knew it was coming. It was a calm sort of longing for the past and gratefulness for the trials and the triumphs.

I consider myself lucky to know when my last game was. That blissful sort of mourning let me reflect. It let me prepare to give my all and pour out the rest of the love I had left for the game into those 60 minutes. It gave me closure, a peace that I had to be okay with.

ret2.jpgI’ve noticed in life that a lot of “lasts” are unexpected. The last time you’ll see someone close to you, the last time you’ll kiss someone or the last time you’ll leave a place you love.

With this, I try to make every interaction one where I pour out myself. I never want to feel the regret of silence, lack of effort or complacency. When I look back on my last moments, I want to smile remembering that blissful mourning period.

When I get to my final point: in a relationship, in a job, in a place, the memories that follow can assure me it was worth it.

2018

You’re in a house. Lights twinkle on the outside against a snow covered lawn. There are people scattered, chatting away with someone they haven’t seen in a while, munching on a mini hot dog on a toothpick. The TV is on, music is playing. Utter chaos is about to erupt. Can you picture it?

New Year’s Eve is a stressful time of year. The previous scene is what I always experience, in a house not my own and with friends not my age, being a college student. Everything is so overwhelming. But I think the most overwhelming part of this holiday is the looming knowledge that something new is about to begin.blog1

Every 365 days, people get this idea that something is ending and something is beginning, or starting over.

That’s why resolutions are so popular.

Everyone wants to reinvent themselves at the chance of a fresh start and for whatever reason, January 1 feels like that fresh start.

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Whether that’s joining Crossfit, reading the Bible in a year, eating healthier or buying a planner to work on your time management, it’s easy to get caught in unrealistic resolutions.

I know because every resolution I just mentioned were ones I have set for this year.

Some days they’re great and I achieve all of them, and some days, I fail miserably at doing any of them.

I spend most of Christmas break planning what I can change or start over or begin for the new year. But why do I have to start January 1st? Why do I waste two weeks indulging in what I am “so excited” to burn off in 10 days? (Yes, I’m talking about the Christmas cookies my Yiayia makes every year, oh so good.)blog11

And resolutions are a great thing. But instead of thinking of it as one thing you have to accomplish in 365 days, you have to think of it as 365 things you have to accomplish in one year.

In this blog, I want to address the crazy and amazing things that can happen in just a year. I want to look in retrospect, not to dwell on the past, but to set realistic goals for the future.

Every December 31st, I remember what I did the previous New Years and reminisce on the challenges and triumphs I have faced in the year following that day. I wouldn’t be who I am without those days in between and I can’t imagine having lived without them.

I encourage you, reader, to do the same. Remember the days that were really hard and some of the best days of the year. Not on December 31st, but daily as a reminder that every day starts new.

Take this journey back with me, so we cherish the days moving forward.