Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 6- Something I hope to NEVER have to do

Day 5- My Bucket List

1-Run a marathon
2-Visit Europe
3- Have a few babies
4- Go rock-climbing, on real rocks.
5- Sit on the beach for a full day and do NOTHING.
6- Retire
7- Cook Thanksgiving dinner
8- Mail an entire year's worth of birthday cards ON TIME.
9- Give a gift for no reason
10- Publish a book
11- Sing Karaoke
12- Fly a plane
13- Finish my degree
14- Make a speech in front of a crowd
15- OWN (And by OWN, I mean pay off) a home, or maybe 2.
16- Potty train Tank.
17- Scuba dive
18- Meet Jimmy Buffet
19- Renew our vows. ( I really like weddings!)
20- Sacrifice something for someone else.
21- Host a charity event
22- Be a Grandparent
23- Absorb all the wisdom I can from my parents.
24- Teach someone something
25- Build something
26- Cliff dive
27- Sky dive
28- See Alaska
29- Participate (and finish!) a triathlon
30- Prove that I meant "til death do us part".
31- Forgive
32- Pay off my student loans.
33- Coach my own children
34- Eat at a cafe in France
35- See Niagra Falls
36- Go snowboarding
37- Catch a REALLY BIG fish
38- Win a race
39- Try anything once.
40- Open water swim.
41- Visit all 50 states
42- Keep a CONSISTENT journal
43- Be a stay-at-home Mom
44- Go on a roadtrip
45- Learn to ballroom dance
46- Swear off fast food for a year
47- Plant a vegetable garden.
48- Actually grow something.
49- Get our entire home ORGANIZED. I mean REALLY organized.
50- Refinish a piece of furniture
51- Take a completely random class.
52- Spend an entire week without technology.
53- Beat Romeo in a video game. And not just because he let me win.
54- Visit Australia
55- Ease a broken heart
56- Inspire someone
57- Visit an impoverished country. Actually help.
58- Go to Disney World. Again. And Again. And Again.
59- Run a race while pregnant.
60- Run a race as a senior citizen
61- Go hunting. Get something.
62- Own a house on the beach.
63- Win the lottery.
64- Do a pull-up.
65- Do something I thought I could not.
66- Add a lot more things to this list =)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 4- Forgiving YOU

As a preface, I will not explain the situation surrounding this particular post, because it is of a personal family matter. I will, though, share this letter with you.

To you.

How could you? How could you walk away from your family? Who gave you the right to abandon the people who love you when they needed you most? What did it feel like when you wrote your family of 30-years off?

To me, you are a coward. You ran when things were at rock bottom. You weren't there when you were needed. You didn't want to stick around and deal with the heartache, so you left and created even more pain for those who you left behind.

Now, to me, you aren't even a sliver of a man. You were, at one time, but no longer. You were once a great man. You were such a huge part of my life, and just as quickly as she passed- you were gone. And for what? For the thrill of giving some other woman your last name?
You are heartless. Soul-less. Selfish. You cared not for all of those you left behind. You vanished as quickly as you could. You're spineless.
Nonetheless, despite these bitter words, I do forgive you. I forgive you for running in fear and in heartache. I forgive you for burying your relationship with your family the day you buried your wife. I forgive you for being scared of how bad it hurt to lose her, and how painful it is to live with the memories.
I don't, however, forgive you for the pain you caused your children. Or for the vacancy you left your grandchildren. Or for the questions you left us all standing with. You wanted to run- and you did. You left what was once your family, standing in the dust. I'll never forgive you for that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 3- Forgiving ME

I've never been big on regrets, and I do my best to not have them, but at the same time, there are always things that we may have done a little bit differently.
I can honestly say- I don't think that there is some big event in my life that I feel the need to forgive myself for. Everything, in my life, has happened for a reason. That is very clear to me.

Nonetheless, there is an event that I would've done something different.
Quite a few years ago, I lost someone very special to me. She was way too young to be gone- but as they say- only the good die young. She was the most glamorous woman I knew. She was elegant and classy. She was quick-witted and poised. She was, and always will be, one of a kind.
Before she passed away, she was very sick. She suffered a lot. She lost all of her hair, she traded her beautiful clothes for hospital gowns.
All during this time, which only lasted about 4 and a half months from the date of her diagnosis to her death, I wasn't there. I stayed too busy to think about it. I remained way too interested in everything other than should've mattered. I missed it.
When she passed, I remember gathering pictures, shopping for appropriate funeral attire. And I remember being told that there would be an opportunity to speak at her service. I admit that I tried to write something, and I think in the end, I had something prepared. But I didn't read it. I fought back the urge to stand up and say what I needed to say. And to this day- I'd re-do it in a heartbeat. If I could go back today and had the opportunity to speak in memorial of one of God's most amazing women, I'd stand up and scream what I needed to say.
So since I didn't do it then- I'm going to do it now.
When I had a head-full of golden ringlets, she may have been all-but gentle with that comb, but her soothing hugs were more than enough to cure any number of tears. When she walked, though she may have just tripped over her own feet, she stood as tall and graceful as a statue. To me, you were a Queen who lived in a castle. But to God, you were the Angel that he needed. I know that you're already making heaven an even more beautiful place.
There will always be times that Mom and I will need you, and I know that you'll still be there when we call, though now we don't need the phone. I know that you were watching when I went to prom, when I graduated and went to college. I carried you with me down the aisle the day I said "I do". You watch Mikaela and Evie and send your love through them. You stand by Sean as he continues to grow. You give Mike and Shannon the strength to be such remarkable parents. There are so many moments that I would've loved to share with you, though when I think about it, you were there watching.
I miss you daily, and I know I'm not the only one. You have touched a lot of lives. I know that I wouldn't be who I am without having known you. I would've never known that beer-drinking could still be classy. Your wordless life lessons have stayed with me, and I can only hope that I can share those lessons with my Goddaughter some day. Thank you for being the woman you were, irreplaceable.

9/11/01- The perspective in retrospect

I spent a lot of time thinking about this post yesterday. I thought about what to write, I relived those moments a few dozen times, I thought about how things have changed. Each year, my feelings are just a little bit different than the year prior. The anger remains, but the apathy is different. I feel like every year, I've been able to see a different sympathetic perspective.

A few years ago, a group of friends and I went to tour the FDNY. We were all studying in the Fire Science program at U of New Haven. This experience was truly a brand new perspective. We met with firefighters who lost 343 brothers that day. We saw their memorials, we even saw their tears. These men were fighting their own war here on our soil.

Mural at Engine 55

Mural at Engine 7

Accumulation of patches at St. Patrick's Cathedral

10 Truck en route passing Ground Zero

This experience opened my eyes to the struggles that ARE STILL HAPPENING. As the war in the Middle East continues to progress (despite what the media may coerce us to all believe), the families effected here, not only on the military side, continue to face difficulties.

343 Firefighters

23 NYPD officers

37 Port Authority Officers

2359 Civilians

184 People at the Pentagon

246 Passengers on the 4 planes

More than 3000 families lost a Mom or a Dad. A brother or a sister. An Aunt or Uncle. A daughter or a son.

3000 Families.

It amazes me that the days following September 11th, 2001 were some of the most patriotic, proud, somber and humbling in our nation's history.

Where has that gone?

As this nation continues to fight for our own freedom, where has that sense of pride gone? Where have all of the flags gone? The memorials? The patriotic music?
Now it is eclipsed by anti-war sentiments. By protesters. By people BUILDING MOSQUES ON GROUND ZERO. It's been surpassed by financial deficits.

If this picture isn't enough to make you angry, than this one should be.

God Bless America.

God Bless all that fight for her, both here and there.

And to all others- to those who cannot find it in your FREE hearts to support your nation,


Day 2- My Fav's

Some people have "trademarks"- characteristics that make them easily identified in a crowd. Some people still have theses trademarks- but maybe they aren't so easy to see. Either way, every person has a unique combination of attributes that makes them exactly who they are. Or who they aren't.

Personally, I've always valued my sense of leadership. It has helped me get through really difficult obstacles and still remain true to what I believe. As my parents would attest, I've never been too keen on the idea of taking orders- thus is why Romeo is the one in the military, not me! I've always needed to find out things for myself, instead of taking someone's word for it. I've questioned a lot of ideas, which may or may not have been the appropriate thing to do, and often I've made my own discoveries. I've never wanted to live in someone's shadow, which is why I've worked so hard to be my own leader.

Physically speaking, I've got to say- my legs take the cake. I didn't get the nickname "Mega-legs" for nothing! The running helps- but I'm also genetically blessed. Thanks Mom and Dad!

I'm almost glad that post is over- I'm not very comfortable talking about myself like that. Nonetheless, it's part of the challenge, I guess.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 1- My Flaws

Ok, I can honestly admit that I did indeed start this post yesterday... So in my mind, that counts.

Onto the purpose- I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this post. Being the first of the 30-Day challenge, I wanted to start off giving this all of the effort that I could.
Flaws aren't anything that anyone ever wants to openly admit or discuss. Flaws, to me, are always that area that I spend time concealing, not sharing with the world. So this has proven to be quite the challenge.

Believe it or not, through my childhood and even until now, I've never really been a very independent person. When I was younger, I was always depending on my family to entertain me. I was tagging along with my brothers, or needing to have a friend to come over and play, otherwise I was a terribly bored, and often ornery kid. This has since continued to an extent. I still am not really content being alone. I've learned to adapt a bit, in that no longer do I need a girlfriend to go to the mall with, or someone to be spending every waking moment attached to. Though, there is an EXTREME difference (unfortunately for him) when Romeo is home. He is the one person that I will (for the lack of a better word) cling to. I hate that this is how I feel when he's here, but the sheer fact that we've only once spent more than a month together, I tend to suck up all of the time I can get. I know he feels it too... He feels like I am depending on him to entertain me, though that is certainly not my intention. I really just want to be with him. I'm more than happy just being with someone. Especially after months of being alone.

My best friend, N, will tell you, that I am way too quick to pass judgement. For the longest time, I fought with her about it. I thought she was outside of her mind. It wasn't until recently that I caught myself. I saw that ugly side that I had fought off for so long. I truly believe that I do not judge maliciously, but just to establish a ground. That may not make sense, but to me, it's moreorless a protective barrier. I judge to see who I can trust to open up to. And that, in retrospect, isn't the right thing to do. Who am I to judge? There is only one being that has the power to judge, and that is certainly not me.

Finally, my most predominant flaw, and the one that is the most frustrating, is the sheer fact that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, articulate my emotions. Romeo will tell you exactly how frustrating that is to listen to. I don't know what it is, but whenever I'm feeling something, I just cannot put into verbal words what that something is. I may know that I am upset, but not be able to pinpoint what exactly is upsetting me. I may be frustrated, but your guess is as good as mine what is truly frustrating me. I've gotten better with expressing my thoughts in writing. Usually, I can come up with some sort of a cohertant thought that way. But if I try just to spout out what I feel like during a conversation- whew. Good luck following that one.

Not that by any stretch of the imagination does that cover all of my flaws, but those are the ones I've concluded lately. They're flaws that make me- and sometimes they're flaws that will break me. I'm working on them, not that I want to change who I am, but I do want to be a better person. I guess that is what the next 29-days are for!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

30-Day ME Challenge

I've come to realize that every once in awhile, when life gets a little too chaotic, I forget to know me. I forget to think about what I feel like, forget to count my blessings, forget to work on my flaws. Every once in awhile, I have to revisit my goals and my dreams, because some days, I forget to think about them. Some days, the business of daily life is too much to include a few selfish daydreams. And that is why, when I stumbled on The Young Retiree's post about a 30-day blog challenge, I was hooked. The challenge encourages all participants to take a few moments, every day, for the next 30-days, to reflect on different facets of themselves, and in conclusion, hopefully learn something new.
So here it is- for the next 30-days, beginning on Friday, September 10th, and concluding on Saturday, October 9th, I'll be following the below posting schedule. I'm making a promise to myself to be completely honest. 100%. I'm making a vow to really reflect on me and my thoughts, without the fear of being judged by readers.
I'm doing this challenge for me.
And you're more than welcome to join me on my adventure!
I hope that this will provoke your thoughts as much as it has mine!
30-Day "ME" Challenge
(Please note that some prompts have been altered from the original)
Day 1-Something you dislike about yourself, or a flaw that you would change.
Day 2-Something that you treasure about yourself, something that makes you unique.
Day 3-Something you've had to forgive yourself for in the past, something you would change.
Day 4-Something you've had to forgive someone else for.
Day 5- A list of things you hope to accomplish in your lifetime.
Day 6- Something you hope to never have to do.
Day 7-Someone who has touched your life.
Day 8-A time when you have made a difference in someone else's life.
Day 9-One moment that you did not want to ever let go.
Day 10-One moment you wish that you could forget.
Day 11-Something people tend to compliment you about.
Day 12- Something you wish you got compliments about.
Day 13-A song that describes you today.
Day 14-A letter to someone who has let you down.
Day 15-List of somethings or someones that you couldn't live without.
Day 16-List of somethings or someones you could definitely live without.
Day 17-A book you've read that changed your perspective or opened your eyes.
Day 18-Your views on a popular news subject.
Day 19-Take a stand on religion. Or politics.
Day 20-Your thoughts on alcohol and drugs.
Day 21-What do you want people to remember about you?
Day 22-Something you wish you hadn't done.
Day 23-Something you wish you had done.
Day 24-Make a playlist to someone special.
Day 25-Map out your one-year-plan. Your five-year-plan. Your 10-year-plan.
Day 26-Write a letter to yourself as a teenager.
Day 27-Write a letter to someone you've lost.
Day 28-Pick someone close to you and tell them all of the reasons you value them.
Day 29- Write about a turning point in your life.
Day 30-Reflect on something you learned about yourself during the 30-Day Challenge.
My mind is already churning with thoughts for all of these posts. I am super excited to get started! I'm hoping that this will help keep my busy for the next 30-days- I need all of the busy-ness that I can get!