Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Temporary Farewell

Well Guys,
I really appreciate the support you have given me this year by reading thoughts I never thought mattered. Whether this blog was read by one single person, or thousands- I really would not care to see the difference. The fact that I made a difference through my words to you at some point during this period made more of a difference to me in my quest to find a purpose for myself this year that you will ever know. When my sole purpose in high school was to make people happy, I was more than thrown off guard when those same people no longer surrounded me. I felt like I had no real purpose where I was, back home I was a leader and mentor and I was never made to forget that role. At Springfield, I did everything in my power to prove that I could still be that person for all the lives I was blessed to be a part of during my 18 years in the same hometown. I made time trials in cross-country, stayed in on the weekends, hated myself for the C I was getting in Chemistry, and joined various student organizations. I was determined to make Springfield into what high school had been for me- but I found it impossible. As I came to this harsh reality I began to slip, not necessarily in grades or social standing, but I began to forget who I was. I questioned if I ever knew who I was being that my sole mission in life was to see others smile. I lost sight of what I truly enjoyed in life even though I knew that if I had asked my family and friends they would have told me immediately and been right. It seemed as if everyone knew what made me happy except for me and I was too foolish to ask for help. The year was not lost, I met some amazing people, made some humbling mistakes, and survived with some of my sanity (woo?)! I tried several times to be someone I was not, did everything people expected of me, and almost sustained an ACL injury that would've ended my season... oops. But with that said I'm grateful for what this past year has brought me regardless of its short comings, barriers, and endless questions that still haunt my thoughts to this day.
Though this post is seriously vague and confusing especially after months of not posting, I am about to make it this much more confusing: I will not be posting for a while (as if you haven't already noticed). I'm taking a break to do some writing to myself in attempts to answer some of the questions burning in my head. I did not want to leave you guys hanging as you have been wonderful to me as someone who simply wants their thoughts to be known. If I could share these writings with you I would, but sometimes I don't even know where they lead. I will use them as inspiration for future posts when my feet know paths that take more than just left turns (track puns) and when I can truly put out some clear writing that y'all can understand.
Thanks for being wonderful and I hope that sometime in the (hopefully) near future you'll be reading from this Duck again.
This Duck is going on the pursuit of Happiness,
A Duck Inspired

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Seeing into the Future

Over the past semester I have caught myself thinking, more than once, "I wish I could have seen if this was worth it" when things haven't gone my way with either people or things in my life. For classes I think this after I get a bad grade on a test, "well I wish I would've studied more" or "I could've studied less , this test is nothing". I blame my inability to see the future, or the difficulty of the test rather than own up to the fact that I should've studied more or in a different way. In reality, I should just be owning up to my own mistake, learning from it, and moving on. With other people, I wish that I could see if they were actually as invested as I am in a friendship or a relationship, to see if I should put in the same amount of effort or if I should just leave. But this isn't me either- why should I base how much I care on how much others care? I'm not saying that someone who does not appreciate you should deserve all your attention, but if you happen to care about that person- why hold back? Life isn't meant to be lived in moderation- feel with your entire heart, learn with your entire being, and be open completely to new experiences. If something is new to you, let it scare you-but don't let it stop you. Don't let your fear of not knowing what to do, where to go, or how to act stop you from something that could be wonderful. Let others teach you, take a leap of faith once in a while, something new is not the end-all be-all of your life. A relationship, for example, is terrifying for a lot of people- it is new, it is foreign, it is awkward-but could it be worth it? One may argue "I am happy with what I'm doing now, why would I try something new if what I'm doing is working just fine? " Valid point, but a point I've heard way too many times in the past year. Just because you are happy now, does not mean you need to block yourself off from all other aspects of life- this is simply an excuse for your fear. Stop using it. New experiences does not mean giving up the life that you lead now. Though a relationship is compromise, it is not necessarily change - just because you are in a relationship does not mean that the two of you have become one person-no! You are your own person who makes your own decisions, and if you were an extension of someone else it would not be healthy. Your partner does not have to always agree with you or your decisions, they don't have to be attached at the hip- they simply have to be supportive and respectful. Respect and support is important in any relationship, romantic, familial- anything. Respecting the fact that people are responsible for their own decisions and actions is important so that it does not become a controlling relationship, and support is important because life sometimes gets the best of us. When it does, having friends/family/a partner that will support you is of the utmost importance. Does this mean that we expect you to baby us or pity us? No. Listening is the best support, when one refuses to listen - whether it is a subject that pertains to them or not, its a slap in the face. It doesn't take much to listen, but it means the world when you do.
Another thing that I will preach until the day I die is- communication. Nothing is more important to the success of any situation or type of relationship than communication. In a work setting there are meetings to discuss progress, task assignments etc. - if we didn't have these meetings, no one would know the status of the company or who should be doing what, and this would probably end in the failure of the company. In a roommate situation, if you are bothered by something and you don't tell them or bring it up, you will never find a solution because the roommate will never see an issue. If you constantly let things build, they're eventually going to blow up in your face (hint hint to those of you who are going to college next year, be a good roommate!). In a team setting, like volley ball for example, you see players yell things during the game like "mine" or "got it" or maybe even call out another player's name. This form of communication helps prevents players bumping into each other, makes sure that the ball isn't missed, and ultimately increases potential of success for the team. So please, if there is anything I want all of you readers to take away from this entire blog it is this-make a genuine effort to communicate with the people in your life. Don't run from them- its going to be uncomfortable in some situations, its going to be new, and you probably are not going to be very good at it at first- but please start trying now, for your sake, for their sake, for the sake of humanity! Communicating is a guaranteed way to show someone that you care, that "you in this", that you are at least trying to make an effort. I learned from so many people and experiences that "communication is key" and one of my life missions is to help people see the truth in that.
So before you wish you could see into the future, remember that you have a role in determining your own future.
Communicate often, keep an open mind, and take responsibility (just remember that life isn't always about responsible decisions, its okay to be a little irresponsible once in a while ).
Lots of love, and much appreciation to all you wonderful readers!
~A Duck Inspired

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Hero(s)

Do you remember elementary or middle school when most of us had to do some sort of project or write a paper on our "hero" in our life (in my case, several times). Every time it was this internal struggle of whether to pick your mom or your dad, or some relative, maybe a friend those were the typical options as a small child. We were always told to pick one hero in our lives and write about them or speak about them etc. One hero...why? In Psychology the subject of heroes came up in discussion and it was said that "a hero is a person who is in the right place at the right time, one time". So now we have two restrictions in our perceptions of a "hero": we can only have one hero and a hero is simply someone in the right place at the right time. No! I am surrounded by heroes-to have just one hero would be miserable. My friends and family are my support beams, they are my heroes because they keep me going everyday, they give me a reason to live. And then there are the unsung heroes in society, not just firefighters, doctors,police, EMTs; what about your mail person? Your fellow custodian? The factory worker in the background? We forget about these people that keep our society, our economy, us as individuals-alive. You mail person keeps you connected, allows for a web of communication, love, business, even that junk mail you can't stand (it has to serve some purpose). Your custodian keeps you out of your own filth, keeps us civil, and allows our quality of life to be livable (we know that some of you would not survive without them...c'mon guys). And the workers we always take for granted because we are in a world where everything just appears on a shelf for us or online - its awesome! But because of this incredible availability to consumers, we forget about the people that make those goods that we use everyday possible for us. Does the definition of hero have to be set in stone? Is it subjective? To me, a hero is personal- there is no right or wrong, black or white, just a whole lot of light when everything else seems dark. So I guess my definition of hero is one word: light. Light helps us to see, light is the warmth that keeps us alive. A hero is a light. So find your light and don't let it go out. Don't shut out important people in your life. Love and be loved (and never be afraid to sound cliché if you truly believe in it).
A Duck Inspired

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Loneliness and Loving

Sometimes we lose our place, our way, our mind, and on those days sometimes we feel completely alone. There are two paths from here: Accept loneliness and ignore those around you, or really pause and accept that you have some really awesome people looking out for you. Of course, we all need time alone, time to compose ourselves when we're about to lose it, but don't bar the door forever! People love you, they care about you, and most certainly worry about you. Look around sometime and just think. Think about all the times of frustration, sadness, anger, and desperation you've had. Who was there? No one? Or was it really just you secluding yourself? Now think about who was there in times of happiness, excitement, laughter, and pride. Who was there? Probably the same people that were there for you at your worst. What we don't understand too often is that we don't need to be at our best for people to accept us at our worst. Its okay to let things slip once in a while, failing is not always negative in the scheme of things, and falling in front of people (both literally and figuratively) is better than falling when you're alone because guess what? There are people to help you up and you won't be on the next "Life Alert" commercial! But in all seriousness: next time you feel terribly alone, miserable, or otherwise- ask yourself if you're truly alone. When the answer is "no", let the people who love you in- you may think you're doing them a favor by shutting them out, or "protecting them" but that's when you need to get over yourself. They want to help you, your problems are not the end of their world, and with their support it won't be the end of your world either. Lastly, with Valentine's day here I feel obligated to say this: don't take people for granted. Don't wait to tell anyone that you love them or that you care about them. Sometimes I wonder if we didn't have these holidays built into our calendars, our schedules etc. would we remember to appreciate those around us at all? With a society based so much on time and deadlines we often forget what is truly important in our lives, instead we just try to get through the next item on our to-do list (don't get me wrong, I love my to-do list). So try spreading some of that love I know you all have- pleasantly surprise someone, you'll make their day (maybe even their week!). So throw it back to kindergarten today and do some "Show and Tell", show and tell those you love and those who support you how much you appreciate them.
Love Always,
A Duck Inspired

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pressure These days...

While most parents and some students will tell you that there is more pressure on students today than there ever has been I am here to tell you that we do it to ourselves. Sure, there is a feeling that doing "more" is necessary for success, and of course colleges are looking for the most well rounded student out there but is it truly necessary for us to try and be a part of every activity out there? No. Again, as I have mentioned in my previous post I am a hypocrite and I am that student getting involved with as much as I can get my hands on, but is anyone putting a gun to my head? No. So I guess what I'm trying to say is the cliché, "do what you love". Life is too short to do things that stress you out for no good reason (except for school, that will probably stress you out but its mostly necessary so deal with it). For example, I do track - I LOVE track. Do I get stressed because of it? Of course. As an athlete of any level you often feel pressure to attain and maintain certain standards and reputations, when these standards seem to be infinitely out of reach it gets frustrating and stressful. That being said, when I step back I know that I can always say that the stress was worth it, that track truly does make me happy, that I always have a team to fall back on, and that track has given me more life skills than I could ever imagine. So find your "track", find something not that won't stress you out, but that when it inevitably does, it will be worth it. This being said, you may have more than one "track" in your life....go for it! Until you reach the point where you step back and realize "wow, this is most definitely not worth it", then do everything and anything you can that you love- but know when to stop. Surround yourself with people who will remind you why you participate in whatever activity it is and will try to stop you from doing whatever that is when you don't realize how unenjoyable it truly is for you (make sure those people will also stay friends with you when you tell them they are wrong countless times because only you can realize and make the decision to stop).
This being said: find something you can do besides your "track", as the hypocrite I am I really haven't found that yet, but I do recognize that I love John Green books and mugs full of orange blossom tea so when all else fails- you can find me in a corner reading with a mug of tea (approach cautiously). SO if you can't find some other activity to keep you occupied, at least find your "John Green and Tea" , because we all need to walk away from the things we love most sometimes especially when we're frustrated. Time away usually brings perspective and reason (and sometimes even makes you less stressed!), if you continue to be miserable- you might consider reevaluating your favorite activity. If you do make the decision to stay with that activity, please do us all a favor- do not be a chronic complainer. Of course we all complain, and of course there is always a point where we just feel like everyone and everything is against us. I promise you- we are not all out to get you, take this a your cue to step back and reflect a little....or curl up in your corner with your mug of tea. You will get through it and there are people that will help you always (and if you don't believe that, then come find me) but DO NOT complain all the time about every little thing in your life. I promise you that eventually those people will no longer want to help you, they might anyways, but just know- it is not an enjoyable task.
At this point of the year, stress level vary- high school students are submitting applications to college or catching up on the homework they've waited to do until the last two days of vacation, college students are in the middle of their luxuriously long break (either ready to get back to school or wishing they never have to return), and everyone else is either back to work, or on retirement, Granted, these are hugely stereotypes and I could be completely off base but the point is- we are all stressed at some point. Just because you are not stressed, does not mean that other people can't be stressed (students: just because we are stressed does not mean that our parents can't be stressed too....just remember that)- know that everyone is fighting their own battle and just try to be civil to everyone (even if you feel it quite impossible). So I guess if you take anything out of this I hope it is this: Do track and read John Green , do what you love and then some. Oh, and be nice. Please just please be nice as much as humanly possible because the way I see it, there is nothing this world needs more than a bit more positivity.
A Duck Inspired