Make It Happen

There’s an old saying, “everything happens for a reason”.

Although I consider myself an optimist, I’ve struggled to embrace the validity of this statement for as long as I can remember.

Recently, I’ve instead come to the conclusion that every person happens for a reason.  In essence, each individual we encounter presents us with an opportunity to learn something: how to be, or how not to be.

Over the course of the past ten months, in particular, I’ve been exposed to countless new faces and personalities.  While I often feel as though this has been the most mentally exhausting year of my life, the degree of exhaustion quite parallels the reward.  In a cast of what has felt like thousands of introductions, I’ve observed those who opt to stand out for the greater good, those who choose to blend in with popular belief, and everything in-between. 

Friendships and upsets aside, this continuous whirlwind of interpersonal encounters has equated to opportunities, inspiration and most importantly, an internal promise to always do the right thing, regardless of ease. 

In the end, we will encounter three types of people during our lives: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens (Lasorda). And although their individual impacts will vary substantially — they will all happen for a reason.

 

Quality

Quality takes enormous precedence in the realm of satisfaction.

When I think of quality, and the means by which I expect it, I think of people.

The premise itself is solid. We’ve all heard our father’s rattle off the old saying, “keep your standards high”. Although we may roll our eyes at the sound of these words, they inevitably ring true.

Such logic is not exactly new-found. The first President of the United States, Mr. George Washington himself, once stated, “be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well-tried before you give them your confidence”.

I suppose as I grow older, the validity of this statement only sinks deeper. At one time, I was largely preoccupied with the notion of salvaging friendships where the negative outweighed the positive, simply for the sake of maintenance. I thought this made me a good person. I thought it made me happy.

Through experience, I’ve come to no longer believe in allocating time to those who would not do the same for others; whose intentions are less than good; moreover, whose quality of character are far from deserving of a slot in this heart of mine.

I’ll always believe in exercising courtesy to all.

And I’ll stick to allowing time to assist me in identifying the ones worth holding onto.

And although as the years pass, these folks will inevitably undergo growth and change; I rest assured, for quality stands the test of time.

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The Weight of Words

Little known fact: I frequently browse knick-knack shops and bookstores, thumbing through pages on a quest for small bursts of inspiration.  I scribble these gems onto receipts and the backs of shopping lists and proceed to stash them away for a rainy day.  I have a passion for words; for how they merge to form statements, and for the means by which these statements facilitate action.

Not surprisingly, I was raised in a home where school essays were scanned meticulously by my mother prior to completion.  Summer reading was not suggested, but matter of fact.  And upon asking my father to define any given word, we were directed to the immense, brown leather-bound book that lay atop the dusty shelves of our home office.

Such tactics conveyed the importance of representing ourselves appropriately, daily; on paper and in the world.

I often sit and sift through the ever-growing collection of receipts and scribbles.  Sometimes, the lines and phrases inspire me to take to the keyboard and write words of my own.  Often, they change my outlook on various subject matter.  Always, they strengthen me.

I am a firm believer that our words are stronger than our actions.   That we should strive not only to be heard, but to enlighten; to speak with conviction, purpose and passion.  In doing so, our actions will surely follow suit.

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Less Than Perfect

Perfection.

The majority of us tend to be on a constant quest for it, namely in the workplace.

We find ourselves caught up in things that are, or things that are not.  It is the absence, or presence of these “things” that seemingly make our lives a living hell.

I’d like to suggest, however, that this absence of perfection is precisely what makes us strong.

Thus far in my short three and a half years as a member of the professional workforce, I have most certainly encountered individuals and circumstances less than desirable.  Tears have been shed, words have been said.

Life has always progressed.

The tears, nor words spewed out of frustration, did not initiate any sort of positive change.

We are only better for enduring the experiences; for hopefully taking a look back and treating each problematic encounter as an opportunity.  Ultimately, overcoming distaste; resolving to enable ourselves to work cohesively with anyone and everyone.

In short, “Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly” (Lovasik).

Piece of Mind

What puts you at ease?

For me, it’s Van Morrison.

It’s tapping my foot to the beat of Brown-Eyed Girl as daddy drums the steering wheel of his old Beamer, barreling northbound on El Camino Real.

This is my song.

The warm breeze wrestles whispy strands of hair, obstructing my big brown eyes from vision.  A smile creeps across my face as I smooth the wrinkles from my khaki skort, all the while clicking my white Sketchers against the floor.

Of course, we are headed to Olympic Driving Range, where we will proceed to hit a couple hundred golf balls before dusk invades the blue summer sky.

I stand corrected.  Rather,  I will hit a couple hundred golf balls.  Dad will not hit one.  He will, however, grab that damn seven-iron and swing it about fifty-five times, standing behind me, observing.

At some point, Dad will lean in and yank the bill of my black Cobra hat, stating, as if, for the first time,

“Em, you hit the guy in the cart picking up range balls, I’ll take you for a slurpee on the way home.”

I giggle, well-aware that regardless of whether I manage to make my target: that slurpee is mine.

Daylight is now rapidly escaping us, and my hands are growing raw.  Dad proclaims that I must end the night with a good shot.  A few attempts go awry before I succeed.  

At last, I turn to daddy and shrug my shoulders.  He says nothing, but smiles, and motions me toward the parking lot.

Here we are, again, cruising.  I clutch my Coca-Cola flavored slurpee tightly between my tired hands, inevitably suffering a brain freeze.  My eyes begin to grow heavy as the sounds of sweet rock ‘n roll lull me sleep, sinking deeper into the seat with each breath.

 

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more at peace, as in this moment.

On the surface, uneventful, I somehow experience utmost contentedness.

In an effort to make sense of it all, the wise words of honest Abe himself are all that come to mind,

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”.

I’ll take it.

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People and Places

I used to believe that traveling to different destinations would bring me the fulfillment I so desired.

I set my sights on big cities bustling with rich history, intense flavors, and picturesque landscapes.  

Thus far in my young-adult life, I’ve been fortunate to call many a thrilling new city “home”.  I’ve been enamored, intrigued, inspired — you name it.

It’s funny, however, as I reminisce, I realize it’s not so much the places themselves, as the people I’ve encountered along the way, that have influenced the becoming of a best possible version of “me”.

It was the girls who started as friends and became family.   Lulu, Erica, Bri and I ventured into a world of unknown, experiencing an array of firsts.  We exchanged laughs when life was easy, nursed hangovers after lessons learned, and dried tears when times were tough.

During my senior-year of college, it was Irma whom demonstrated to me first-hand how to care for others; to nurture and enable their emotional and educational success.  And it was Alizianna who taught me the true meaning of loyalty; to this day, standing by my side despite all odds.

I cannot forget Randy, instructing me to “rise above the bullshit”, in moments of brief disparity; also responsible for sending me to the floor rolling with laughter on more occasions than I am able to count.

A stint in Chicago brought me closer to Bri; where together, we built endurance to survive in the “real-world”.

My return to San Diego introduced me to Marissa; more than a colleague, but a lifelong mentor.  The woman responsible for transforming me from eager but timid young hopeful, into strong, impactful young professional.

Most recently here on Maui, I’ve been fortunate to seek inspiration from Shelly, whom I continuously admire for remaining true to herself, all the while, battling strife and struggle without falter, and surfacing better for it.

It is but one word that encompasses the likeness of these individuals.  They are each genuine; by definition, “actually having the apparent qualities or character“.

I can’t be sure what destinations lie ahead; but I rest assured, wherever they may be, I’ll find myself in good company.

In short, “the greatest value of having good people around you is not what you get from them, but instead, the better person you become because of them” (Pashwar).

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Eight Truths About Living In Paradise

1. The roads are consistently terrorized by tourists in Mustang convertibles who drive slower on inside lanes of the highway, and neglect to pull over for ambulance and fire trucks.

2. Most of us do not sit in offices equipped with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean  Contrarily, I spend my days staring at four white walls, attempting to tune out the sound of the toilet flushing each time someone exits the restroom.

3. Forget about remaining up-to-speed with what is new and hot on the radio.  It seems this island has mastered the art of morphing every single song into a surprisingly fitting reggae version of it’s original.

4. The majority of Hawaiian business practices have been deemed archaic, if not obsolete in “Mainland United States”.  Do not seek this as an opportunity to implement immediate change.  To say these folks are partial to their routine is an understatement of the highest degree.

5.  Crossfit is essentially a religion in this town, and those who practice are somewhat equivalent to Mormon missionaries, attempting to convert each new person they encounter to this way of life.

6. If you are vegetarian, or better yet, vegan, it might behoove you to reevaluate your dietary preferences before calling this place home.  Meals without beef, pork and/or fish are far and few between.

7.  If you possess any desire to fit in, you best be quick to adapt to the local dialect, referred to as “Pidgin”.  Raised by a journalist and a copywriter, I suppose you could say I’ve struggled to embrace email responses simply stating “if can” or “no need“.  I’m trying – yah?

8.  Lastly and most importantly, it truly is this beautiful – all the time.

 

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