I've always been a planner. Which works out well since I plan things for a living. Growing up, I had a plan. By 21 I'd have completed my undergrad, been in law school, and engaged with a wedding at 22. So I'm 28, and I completed only one of those things (and since I'm an event planner and single, let's go ahead and let you deduce which one of those things I did...). And you know what I'm thankful for every day? That my plan hasn't gone on schedule.
...Don't be a dick.
So I travel a lot. I'm on a plane several times a month. Traveling is NOT fun. Between lines, delayed flights, and the 6,000 people who have no idea how to get through TSA, your patience is constantly tested. Being someone who has a low tolerance for incompetancy, the patience of a 3 year old, and I'm irritable more than I like to admit, this is prime time for me to be a jerk. But after encountering some really rude people the past few times I've been at an airport, I've decided we should all really just chill the F out and follow the #1 rule of life: don't be an asshole.
How does one do this you ask? I'm here to teach you. Pay attention and write this down. Some of you, maybe highlight it.
Step #1: Be realistic. This isn't your first rodeo. You know it takes forever to get through security, you know the family of 35 in front of you is going to screw everything up, and you know the buesinessman on his cell phone is going to refuse to turn of his cell phone at take off. Accept it, perhaps even enjoy the spectacle. But don't get upset and act apalled when it happens. It literally happens every. single. time.
Step #2 Appreciate the experience. Seriously, this is prime people watching time. You're going to see the weidest, most awkward people you'll ever encounter. Snap some pics, listen in on some conversations, and enjoy it. You're welcome.
Step #3 Be Nice. I watched a gentleman scream at a bartender last weekend because the game was blocked out on TV. #1, if I'm ok with missing a bit of the game, I promise, you'll be okay too sir (nobody likes the Raiders anyways, cool it.). Second, at any point in time when did screaming and making the bartender cry ever get you anywhere? That whole kill em with kindness, it works. People are more helpful and respond better when you're a nice person. And really, who pisses off the bartender? The single person responsible for your happiness on this adventure.
In the end, I think all of these things can be applied to any situation. Life is a hustle. It's a constant struggle to do more, get places faster, and find more hours in the day. But at the end of it all, if you can't say you ran this race as a good person, changed a few lives with a smile, really what does it matter if you made a billion dollars? Seriously, you can't take it with you, but someone up there is keeping score of how you treated others. And if you don't believe in that stuff, I promise, the time you do have here is more fun and more fullfiling if you are able to be kind and compassionate. Even if someone else chooses to be a jerk, someone out there will be changed by your choice to be awesome and treat others as such. Everyone out there is fighting some battle, the only thing YOU can control is how YOU treat others.
People often mistake me for having lived a life of silver spoons, unicorns, rainbows, and perfection. They assume because I'm usually sunshine and glitter, that I've gotten through life on the easy trail. And while you may think because I grew up with a lot compared to others my life was easy, I'm here to tell you, it hasn't been. The reason I'm so happy and smiling all the time isn't because I've been granted an easy road, it's because I've been given some really tough battles, and have proven I am a survivor.
I grew up in your typical suburban household. We've had the big houses, the nice cars, the 2 kids, the dog, and the good life. But do you know why I had that life? Because my parents worked every single day to provide that for me and my brother. They taught me that at the end of the day, it's nice to afford things, but I better be willing to work for them and that if I don't have everything I want, life will go on. And while I love being able to have the shoes, the car, the latest tech toys, I'm also all about the bargain shopping and you won't ever catch me spending what some others do just to have it all. And while I do work to get rich, I do it because I want to provide a comfortable life for my future kids and so that I can take care of my parents the way they take care of their parents. So yea, I'm spoiled, and you know what that's taught me? To want to spoil my family. Not to want more things, to want to be able to say oh hey kids, I CAN help you out with college. Hey Mom and dad - I would LOVE to send you on an amazing anniversary vacation and I can afford it. That's the difference between spoiled and spoiled, how you react to what you've been afforded. Now I often brag about my amazing family, and I mean every word of it. But that doesn't mean we have the perfect life. I just don't talk about the struggles to the general public. It's really not your business. But I think in this particular blog, it's important to understand we have problems. I won't talk in detail, because I think families should keep those things within those who need to know. But we have struggled through times where we had less, and we have had the issues with not treating each other the best we possibly could. And I'm just as guilty of that. There have been times I didn't talk to them for a period of time, and there have been times my parents aren't proud of as well. I've got issues (so does everyone else...) from my childhood that I struggle with every day. People think I've got this perfect family, and I don't. But at the end of the day, we never abandon each other, and through the fights, the horrible times, the illnesses, we refuse to let each other go. I know regardless of anything that ever happens, my family will never ever let me stand alone.
Those of you who know me (because really I'm 99% sure those are the only people who read this thing...) know that I've dealt with a lot of serious illness and injury both myself and watching family and friends go through it. I've dealt with violence both against myself and friends and family. I've gone through a lot in my career. I've seen a lot of death in front of me. I've been betrayed by those closest to me. And the list goes on. I have been completely broken, convinced I'd never make it through the next challenge. And while I dont think the details are important to share with the whole world, the point is, I've had my fair share of struggle. Life has not been this lovely little gift for me. And it won't continue to be. I won't ever pretend it is.
The moral of the story is that just because I don't talk to you about my pains, losses, my darkest days, and just because I do walk around with a smile and laughter 99% of the time,doesn't mean my life is easy. It means I'm strong enough, smart enough, and have enough perspective to know I got this. I like that everything appears perfect in my world, not because I'm trying to pretend it's that way, but because I'm proof that the world doesn't have to make you hard. And that struggle looks different. It's not just the homeless person on the street or the family in the projects or whatever TV tells you. It's in everyone. And it's important to keep that perspective, everyone really is fighting some silent battle you know nothing about. To those of you out there who continue to think I'm adorable and naive and just a pretty face (hey that's true, I am real pretty...) keep on thinkin it. Jokes on you. Because while you're underestimating me - i'm out there growing stronger, achieving more, and building a better life. Watch your back because this cute little sunshine is about to have it all. And appreciate it more than anyone else ever could.
Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace (apparently it's coming back?), and about 1,000 other social media venues, people are more connected than they've ever been before. And at the same time, they're less connected than they realize. Kids are being raised to be more social media savy than I will ever be and yet they're more socially awkward than one thought possible. While I'm all for technology and the connections social media can create, I miss phone calls, handwritten cards, face to face interactions, and times when it wasn't possible to get ahold of someone. We are creating intelligent and advanced individuals - who can't even carry on a conversation with another human being without getting uncomfortable or holding an iPhone in their hand.
I'm just as guilty of being too tech reliant as the next person, my dad works in tech and thus I've had a cell phone since I was 10 and known how to use a computer since I was even younger. But I've also been taught the power of being able to sit down and connect with someone face to face. I've been taught to smile at strangers, say hello to people I make eye contact with, and to take a real interest in what people are saying to me, without my cell phone at my fingertips. And you know what people think about that? They think I'm weird. I get told it's odd how "friendly" I am. And that really puts things in perspective in my eyes. We've gotten to a place where it's ok to send pictures of your shiny bits via cell phone, but you can't wave at someone you walk by on the streets? Should I tweet my twat out instead of having a conversation with my friend about life? Is that more customary? Because it's sure as hell more common.
I work with a lot of students in my job, kids ages 18-23 (I can call them kids now that I'm ancient in my late 20's). It constantly surprises me to work with these students (not all are this way of course) who can literally do anything on the computer, cell phone, iPad, you name it, but when I ask them to make a phone call or interact with a client, they're at a loss for words. They're straight A students, part of this club or President of that society, but they absolutely struggle when it comes to being able to sit and relate to and spark up a conversation with a stranger. And that scares me. It scares me to be looking towards a future where everyone relies on technology instead of face to face interactions. Do you know how many misunderstandings happen a day over social media? And about 99% of those would never happen if people just talked to each other.
I love my Iphones (Yes I have two), my iPad, my laptop, and my social media circles, but my point is, I value my skills with conversation more. I value talking to my Mom every morning before work, and the post cards my Grandma sends me to check in. I love the Sundays I spend sitting on my ass watching football with my friends and yelling at the tv. And I live for the family BBQ's spent playing dominos and laughing with each other. I hope that one day when I have kids, I'm able to teach them to be both tech savy and people savy. I want them to be able to have the confidence to speak to anyone they may meet without being incredibly awkward and yet still know how to enjoy whatever social media may be the latest when they're out there in the world. I want there to be requirements for jobs where people have to be socially intelligent as well as social media savy. I want to exist in a place where folks take the time to say hello and SMILE instead of looking at their phones all the time. And I want that to be the norm. See it as a challenge, get out there, and be a better person, be someone who is weird for being friendly. And enjoy the stories of strangers. They're better and more real than anything you'll ever read on the internet. Most importantly, take the time to get to know the most important people in your life, because while you're texting, tweeting, and FB messaging them, you're missing out on time you could be spending WITH them. And in the end, it's not about how make likes you got, who thinks you look hot on Instagram, or who is following you on Twitter, when you're at the very end of it all, it's those people who will be by your side.
My entire life has revolved around sports (as I'm sure you've caught onto by now). I was born into a family of athletes, competed as a Division One athlete, and then I started my career working in sports. To say I have a passion for all things Athletic is an understatement. Recently, I thought it might be a good idea to expand my resume to include some things outside of sports. And you know what I've learned? There is nothing out there that could possibly give me the same excitement I get on Game Day. While I understand the importance of a lot of the things I've been involved in during my short time in my new role, I just don't get excited about those things like I do for football, basketball, and baseball. And if you know me - you know that when I'm not excited, my level of interest and attention span are gone. We're talking send out a search team because I'm probably already gone and hiding from you. When it comes down to it - this girl - is a "dumb jock."
A few weeks ago - I went down to Mile High stadium (or whatever they're calling it these days...) for a meeting. I was like a kid in a candy store. We got a private tour of the stadium, I sat in John Elway's suite, and I saw the new scoreboard before it was complete. This is my mecca. This is where I feel alive. It was mind boggling to my coworkers how excited I was to be at this meeting and getting to see another venue I hadn't yet seen. This what I love. And for the rest of that day - I was high on life.
So what is it about sports that make me excited? Sports to me are the ultimate setting to reveal what someone is made of. You are put in the most intense of situations, your physical and mental strength is put to the test, and you have to learn to play nice. You're challenged, you have a good time, and there's beer. Alright, the beer is just a bonus. BUT to me, getting to be apart of an industry that to me sits you at the edge of your comfort zone, then pushes you off that cliff and says "what else can you do?" is so incredibly appealing. In my opinion, sports don't get the credit they're due. Yes, we have the idiots, the people who give them a bad name, but I also think some of the smartest and most talented individuals exist in this world. Dumb jocks that they are, they're challenged to act at both a physical and mental peak. No, we are not building planes or performing surgery, but we are using our brain and our body at the same time. And yea, those of us not even paid to be the athletes are doing the same. I dare not compare myself to Lebron or Serena, but you bet your ass I've run 100 yards jumping over football players to get stats or field passes to someone. I've had to help fans out from under a collapsed tent in a storm and I've had to stop fights between 300 pound linemen. My job is not all sideline passes and suite food. Give us all a little more credit. Because while I cannot balance the budgets you do at the bank or teach a student how to do well...anything...I can solve problems at the drop of a hat in really tense situations while dodging baseballs at 95mph. I can work 14 hours in a snowstorm and then get on a plane and do it all again in 4 days. All with my hair curled and my lip gloss on point (You're welcome.). And in the end, when I'm standing on the sideline at some of the top football programs in the nation (THE top program in a few weeks...), I am in the zone and I am living the dream. You can have your 8 hour work day, your corner office, and your 6 figure salary - I'll keep checking off my bucket list and get paid doin it.
This year I've really come to understand what "Life's just not fair" means. Three months ago I lost a good friend to breast cancer. She was 26. From the day we found out she was diagnosed to the time she became an angel, was less than a month. She had stage four breast cancer by the time she found out, and from the chemo/radiation, she acquired lung cancer, brain cancer, liver failure, and eventually she succumbed to a diease I'm all too familair with. And you know what? It sucked.
I met Gen in college. She played basketball and I ran track and as at many colleges, we kenw each other through the sports connection. You become this weird family where you may not all be really close, but you are because you get it. I was two years ahead of Gen and when I graduated and came back to work in the Athletic department, I hired her as an intern. When she graduated and moved on, we kept in touch, not as much as we'd talked before, but we still talked. The day I was told about her condition, I didn't know what to do. I'm what you would call the WORST at emotions. I don't do well with expressing them and really I don't want to talk about them. Ever. My immediate reaction is action. I want to help, I want to be in control, and I want to fix everything. Unfortunately, I can't fix cancer.
As a Cali-born, Cali-bred, bona-fide West Coast Diva, I have lived all things Cali. I rep California like they pay me to do it. That being said, at 27 years old, I've traveled the world, yet never lived anywhere but NorCal and SoCal. I started to get the itch to do more, see more, and be more. I've been lucky to lead a life where I've had every opportunity to get out there and do whatever I wanted to do, and been built up to know I can succeed at anything I work for. BUT, I have also been in a world surrounded by the comforts of family no more than an hour and 15 minute flight away. So for about 10 months, I interviewed across the United States. I went to Amish country Pennsylvania, NYC, Western Michigan, and finally, landed in Colorado. After being offered various positions in various cities, I really felt this role and this state were the best fit for me at this time in my life. So I packed all my gorgeous shoes up, bought a four wheel drive car, and trecked 18 hours to Northern Colorado. And so began my first time ever driving in the snow, learning the difference between a moose and an elk, and establishing that a pea coat is not in fact a winter coat. I hope you enjoy the tales of my adventures mixed in with my overall sass and witty banter about current facts - because while Colorado may not be the most rural small town state - I can tell you this girl from California feels like she's in a whole new world. A world where the masses don't believe in heels (help me), environmentally friendly is to an extreme level, and apparently 15 minutes added to your commute is "heavy traffic." Buckle up kids, it's gonna be a wild ride.
I may not be an expert in fashion, but what the hell do you men in your skinny jeans think you're doing? Fashion is freedom of expression, it's a personality and a way of being for many people. With that being said, a grown man in skinny jean says "I left my balls at home." And seriously, aren't those things bad for your balls? Aren't they supposed to roam free? Honestly, I'm concerned for your health. Metrosexuality has gone too far.
What the hell is wrong with kids these days? They're obese, they're lazy, and they completely lack imagination. When I was little, my mom told my brother and I to go play outside and come back for dinner; then she would shut the door. We spent hours playing kickball with the neighbor kids, climbing trees, and rollerblading as fast as possible down hills (in an attempt to see if we could stop before rolling down into the weeds full of snakes, I think we actually started the show wipeout).
People spend a lot of time judging. I'm not talking about the once in awhile comments everyone makes while people watching, I'm talking those people who have to have an opinion on everything.Everybody knows that one friend or co worker that has to comment on everything from what you're wearing to what you eat for lunch, to your love life.Girls are notorious for this mentality.And I'm over it.What does what someone is wearing, who they're dating, what they do for a living, or what they weigh have to do with you?Explain to me how it greatly impacts your life?I'll tell you how, it makes you negative; and negativity breeds negativity.You don't know what is going on in that person's life that makes them who they are.Making quick, irrelevant judgments of another person is negative, insecure, and boring.Try saying something positive about someone, or even to them.Sprinkle some positivity into your day, it's contagious.So the next time you feel like bashing someone for their shoes/clothes/hair/lifestyle choices; why don't you re-group, re-evaluate your thinking; and either say something positive, or STFU and mind your own damn business.Mom was right, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.