The Difference A Year Makes

Two-thousand-fourteen.

I ditched my caramel highlights for charcoal brunette, and a sassy sea of layers. I acquired a taste for things like raw fish, and fruits I previously failed to know existed. I began referring to my “flip flops” as “slippahs,” and I wore them – every, single, day. I spent many a weekend playing golf with men old enough to be my father (or grandfather for that matter). I even found myself speaking a tiny bit of pidgin and flashing the shaka in passerby.

I threw myself into my work and traded plenty late nights at the bar with friends, to burn the midnight oil in the office with a cup of coffee. Two-fold; I fervently chased my dreams of career success, while simultaneously learning the importance of not missing the moments in life.

I witnessed characters come and go to the point of numbness, realizing the important ones would remain a part of my life regardless of how near or far they may reside.

I watched my baby sister relocate to Spain to teach English to small children (or keikis as I’ve come to call them). I supported my brother as he made his way to Louisville and the Men’s NCAA DII Soccer Final Four (and found him to have grown head and shoulders above all three of us girls). I celebrated with my sister Natalie as she secured her dream job, and took her coaching to a whole new level.

As I reflect upon the ways in which my life has developed over the course of twelve months; I also cherish those charming constants.

I’ll continue to lean on my parents for their expert insight in making important decisions, and look to them when the occasional ass-kicking is in need.

I’ll always be “that one” who spills coffee in her lap daily, and trips over her trash can on the reg.

I will likely never sacrifice my role as family “peace keeper” and my tremendous preoccupation with the well-being of those close to me.

A small part of me will forever remain that brown-eyed little girl who skipped around the cul-de-sac with a microphone, forming all of the neighborhood kids into teams and commanding them to participate in games, athletic events, plays, and a variety of other activities. Truthfully, I am not sure why they obeyed. Some call it bitchy bossy, I call it “a leader in the making”.

So what difference does a year make?

As for me, I choose to believe it brings newfound experience and intelligence; and I welcome it with open arms.

It is my mother who sums it up most wholly in explaining, “the older we grow, the wiser we become”.

To my friends: a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.photo

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-school 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 sight.  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 tiny, tired hands, inevitably suffering a brain freeze.  My eyes begin to grow heavy as the sounds of sweet rock ‘n roll lull me to 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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