Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
The last year of my life has been an absolute whirlwind. Graduate, move, new place, new people, what? In the heat of the moment moving South was the BEST idea in the absolute world. I WANTED to get away from this place. I WANTED to meet new people and relocate. I WANTED all of it. So, I did it. I made it happen.
I took the trek South 2 days after I graduated and moved in with two of my favorite people in the world. They welcomed me, they loved me, they gave me a deal. I loved life for about 4 months. My birthday came and went with my parents visiting and it was amazing to see them after a few months away. When they left, I started to realize how much I loved them and how much they were a part of my life. My parents flew home, I had a void.
I chased this void for 5 months. My family came a few days after Christmas. Dad, mom, brother, and EVEN my grandma. I took time off for this, and had an amazing week. It was incredible to have so many family members around me, surrounded by love. But was it enough? No.
A few weeks later, I decided on a drive to work that it was time to move home. I had had enough fighting the homesick feeling and fighting my hatred for my job. It came time to call it quits and move home. I reconciled with myself and said, OK, I DID IT. It’s time to go home…
Valentine’s Day has never sat well with me. I think it is a completely silly holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about love and letting others know that you love them. But, we really need a fucking holiday to remind us to do this?! Really?! If you’re that shitty that you don’t remember to treat your man or woman every once in a while, you shouldn’t be with someone. A “holiday” shouldn’t have to remind you to get flowers or chocolates, or whatever it is you people get.
Valentines Day is really just a hopeless “holiday” in America. In Italy they are celebrating Saints and religious figures. VERY legitimate actions in my eyes. In America, men are scrambling to figure out something to get for their “girl” on Valentines Day.
If you are truly trying to impress your woman and you just don’t want to take the V out of Valentine’s Day, pick another day. Take her out to dinner on Monday. Send her flowers on a random Wednesday. Surprise her at work and say hello on a Thursday. Buy tickets to a concert, or set up a viewing of her favorite art. Like Nike, Just DO IT! It doesn’t have to just be one effort on February 14th every year. What a cop out, for real!
Ladies, pick a real man. If you are completely flattered by his actions on one day of the year and alright the rest of the year, you’re fucked up. Wake up. You’re a beautiful girl, you should be treated as one, each and EVERY day of your life.
End of rant.
I always like to look back to certain moments in my life and think about where I thought I would be in the future. If that makes sense? Like, 8th grade I thought i was going to be going to Syracuse University for Engineering or Architecture. WRONG. My senior year, I knew I was going to Alfred State and studying Business Administration. Totally bummed that I would never study abroad with my college choice. WRONG. My senior year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. The only thing I did know is that I wanted to move away, particularly down south. The other thing I did know, was food and beverage. I found my “dream job” down South and started working, thinking everything would be great. WRONG.
Do you know what the one thing that was right throughout those many years? FAMILY. They never left my side, they never doubted my choices, they were there throughout it all. It’s just funny to me that throughout all of the times, my predictions were wrong about my life, I never had a prediction for my family. I KNEW they were going to be there no matter what. Supporting each and every goal along the way.
With this in mind…My next prediction is that when I move back to Western New York and become much more happy. I am going to leave it at that. Nothing too complicated or rich. Just that I’m happy. I think that is an easy goal to reach. We’ll see what the future has to offer me.
I wouldn’t trade any experience along the way for another. The choices I have made and the fates that have found me have led me to this point. I have never wished to travel back in time, and I surely won’t in the future. This life is mine. Although it may have it’s funny way of showing you things, the important things always show themselves. FRIENDS. FAMILY. HOME.
People always talk about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Well while you were in someone else’s shoes, did you ever take a step back and look at yourself? What do YOU look like to other people? Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. When someone sees you, what do they see, hear, feel? When someone says your name, what goes through their mind?
It’s like listening to a voicemail of your own message and saying “is that really me?!”. We always have a different perspective of who we are. Each and every person has their own view and thoughts about their self. But what do others see?
I hope that other people see me for who I am. I hope that they say good things, great things about me when I come up in conversation. I hope that people find me attractive, inside and out. When people see me, I want them to think of me as a person that changed their life, even in the smallest way.
I want people I don’t even know to talk about me when they get home. The cashier at the grocery store, “the nicest young man went through my line tonight. He had a smile and was very polite. I really needed that after the day I had”. The guest at the hotel, “yeah, the stay was great! A young man took the time to tell us about a few great places in the city to go and they were incredible. Thank god he said hello to us in the lobby.” I want people to remember me for the LITTLE THINGS. That 10 seconds of politeness, or that quick smile (even when you might not be having the best day), can make the difference in someone’s day.
I want people I meet to figure out who I am in the first 10 minutes. Firm handshake. Eye contact. Always polite, always outgoing, and able to listen. Never above or below anyone at any time. Confidence over cockiness. Never afraid to be ME around new people. They either like you, or they don’t. And if they don’t, their loss!
I want my friends to never forget me. I hope they always know that I was there for them, every single day. Open for thoughts, laughter, smiles, drinks, whatever it may be. Every. Single. Day. Even if we haven’t talked in months, it’s easy enough to pick back up at any point, for any thing. I hope they know that I was always honest with them. Whether it was an honest opinion, or the honest truth. Honesty is always the best policy. I hope they know that I tried to stay strong for them during our hard times. TTW. BLW. KWQ. I hope they learned from them, and I hope I helped them learn. Help them learn how beautiful life is, how every moment is fleeting, how each new experience is worth it’s weight in gold, to never take ANYTHING for granted, to laugh, to love, to LIVE. I hope my friends learned from me, as much as I learned from them. I hope I changed their lives in some way or another.
I want my family to just continue being my family. I know that they love me. I know what they think of me. How they see me. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t be my family. But I hope whoever I marry and have children with, see what kind of person I am. And I hope I instill all of my values in them. I hope they see the world like I do, and treat people like I do. I hope my children talk about me to their children and their children talk about me to their children.
I NEVER want my name to die. I hope I make that much of an impact on their lives that I pass on values and ideas for generations. It’s all about creating a legacy. Your body can’t live forever, but your MIND and your IDEAs can. At 23 years young, I hope I’ve started a beautiful legacy.
Now, it’s time to get to work on the rest of it..
My job entails going into the homes of the mentally ill. Often times, these homes are broken down, moldy, and old with thrift store furniture held together with make shift patches or slip covers. More times than not, the carpet is covered in stains and, slightly embarrassed, they request for me to bring their family a food box because they couldn’t make their $40 for food stamps last all month for their family of 4. Can you imagine eating on just $40 for an entire month? Can you imagine living on a disability check of only $698 for your entire family? Can you imagine? Think of all the luxuries in your life. Think of the cable TV that costs $60 per month…and the wireless internet..and the new outfit you just got so you can go out with your friends. Think of the car you drive. Think about the amount of times you go out to eat with your friends, even if it’s just to grab something off the dollar menu. Think of all the times you go through Dunkin Donuts, or how you don’t think twice when it gets too cold in the winter and turn on your heat. Think of if you’re raising your family and you can’t pay your electricity bill and your lights are shut off for days with young kids in the house. Think of having your fridge break down, so the food you got from the food pantry, spoils. Think of everything through someone elses eyes. Now look at your life. Are you proud of where you live? Are you proud of your education? Are you taking these amazing things in your life for granted? Did you eat at least one normal sized meal today? Do you schedule your own appointments with your primary care doctor without stopping to think if you can afford it or not, or if your insurance will cover it? Around the holidays especially, people need your help. Donate food to a food pantry. Donate your time to a food shelter on Thanksgiving. Donate a toy when they’re being collected locally. Donate a couple dollars with your $400 tv you purchase on black friday. Do something. Stand up and make a difference. Sure, there are people that abuse the system. But there are also people who fall between the cracks and are truly struggling to make it from day to day. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. It’s truly eye opening. Open your eyes..Especially this month..be thankful for what you have & maybe try to make someone elses holiday season just a little bit better. Making a difference in someone elses life - could end up making an even bigger difference in yours.
Spot on kgun. Thankful. Blessed.
Came across an old playlist on my iTunes and as I looked at the different songs on there I realized something. They’re a conglomeration of the roller coaster of feelings that I have gone through in the last 4 years. Going to go through it and see what happens since this always seems to be a good stress reliever. Warning: it might get messy.
Augustana - Sweet & Low
NOT the song I wanted to start with. This immediately reminds me of my friend Brent Woodward who committed suicide. I don’t know why, but the night I learned of his passing I listened to this song on the ride home. From then on, I am immediately taken back to that exact moment. My brother driving and two of my best friends in the back. When I heard this song, it all became real. I had lost one of my best friends in the world. Every time I hear this song it reminds me of him. But the good times with him, not particularly that night. I always remember that life is fleeting and that it can be taken from anyone at any time, even by that very person.
Counting Crows - Anna Begins
Probably one of my favorite songs off of one of my favorite albums, ever. I listened to this album during my junior year when I was going through a really tough time. I immediately fell in love with this particular song. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to it, probably hundreds. It is pure lyrical genius. It’s a lot more intricate than most of the shit of today. But anyways, it’s about a guy and girl and the girl isn’t ready for a relationship. And they’re back and forth, back and forth. And I feel like I’ve been in this exact same spot countless times, especially with one particular person. This song always takes me back and makes me think of where I was at this time in my life. Scared, mad, SO SO confused. It means so much more to me now. But, it still means the same exact thing. Get it?
Eric Church - Livin’ Part of Life
Might honestly be one of my top 5 songs. If I’m ever having a bad day I ALWAYS play this song. It IMMEDIATELY gives me goosebumps and a smile. It reminds me to remember the little things in life. Remember my family, friends and the love that we all share. The little things like sippin’ a beer on the dock or sharing a story with your dad. This song seriously takes me an incredible amount of places. In the end, it reminds me that whatever happened to put me in a bad mood, isn’t really a big deal; and I need to get the hell out of it. Life is too fucking short to be down and out. It’s time to get high on the livin’ part of life.
Counting Crows - Long December
This playlist is such a roller coaster of emotion. Takes me back to Tyler Wilkins going through cancer. I’d play this song to just let my emotions go. And I wish I could say anything else about this song, but it takes me right back there. At my desk, in my room Junior year learning of Tron’s diagnoses, again. This album was my immediately release. So a lot of the songs off of August & Everything After remind me of him. Which, I guess is why I love that album so much. Cancer sucks.
John Butler Trio - I’d Do Anything
Thanks to my brother for this one. Absolutely amazing song in itself. This band is little known and absolutely incredible. He turned me on to it while I was in Italy. That’s actually where I made this playlist, I think. Or at least most of it. I’d fall asleep to my iPod every night because of my snoring roommate. But at the time it really resinated because of the lyrics “I’d do anything to be with you girl”.
Yellowcard - View From Heaven
First heard it from Mik Quinlan. Who lost his brother suddenly, and most definitely tragically on November 11th, 2010. This song is almost perfect for KQ. I absolutely love it. And it IMMEDIATELY reminds me of him and that whole day, week, month. It’s hard to put into words. KQ32 forever.
Justin Moore - If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away
I know. This playlist is sad. Sorry. It’s what I think about at night. Every night. This song definitely makes me miss my brothers TTW BLW KWQ. But it makes me miss my grandpa even more. I lost him when I was really young, 3. But, I still remember doing a lot of things with him. It just makes me wonder what else we could have done over the last 20 years. What kind of different person I would be because of him? Would my family be any different? This song always makes me think and cherish who I have here.
Thriving Ivory - Angels on the Moon
This oddly gives me hope. “Every days the first of the rest of your life”. The lyrics give me hope to keep on keepin’ on and live every day for those that can’t. I love dreaming, I love doing anything and everything I can. When I hear this song I think of all of the ones that couldn’t do what they wanted to do. So, I’m going to do as much of it as I can for them.
Dave Matthews Band - Proudest Monkey
It took me a minute to figure out what I felt about this song. But it makes perfect sense. I guess I put this song on the list because I was in Italy. Exploring new places, exploring my dreams. I learned so damn much from that experience. And now, it means even more. I’ve traveled all the way down to Ala-freakin-Bama. It basically lays out your day to day emotions of trying out something new. Do I want this new, scary, sometimes hard and extremely exciting life? Or, do I want the life I know, old, same, sometimes exciting and rarely hard. Ehhh I’ll be the monkey out of my tree. I’m not a monkey-see monkey-doer.
Jason Aldean - Days Like These
Love this whole album. But this song always reminds me that there are those absolutely perfect days. Where there’s nothing wrong in your world. When the day seems endless because you have the people you love, some beautiful scenery and just quite possibly something delicious to drink. “Ain’t no time for wastin’ time”. Sure is the truth. These kind of days remind us all that this life is certainly worth living, through the good and the bad.
Uncle Kracker - Good To Be Me ft. Kid Rock
Haha. Well, this is kind of misplaced. But shit, this song makes me happy. And again, it reminds me on a bad day that it’s good to be me! Nothing is ever THAT bad. Just a feel good song.
Zac Brown Band - No Hurry
This is my favorite song off of that album. So simple, so true. Why is everyone in such a hurry every day? You’re not going to get this day back. Take your time, take everything in, enjoy yourself. Even when you’re at work. Enjoy peoples company, enjoy a random conversation, enjoy the fact that YOU HAVE A JOB. Keep it simple. Why be in such a rush to get that promotion? To count down the days for a certain event? Enjoy each and every day that you have. Who knows what one will be your last. So go raise a little hell before you get to heaven.
Thompson Square - Are You Gunna Kiss Me or Not
On the list because it was popular at the time I was in Italy. Not going to defend it at all. I like it. It honestly reminds me of taking a shot. Taking that leap of faith that may or may not work. In the song, it all works out and it’s beautiful. But even if you take the shot and it doesn’t work out, at least you have no regrets. Often times we worry too much about what other people think or how someone will react before making a gut reaction. Sometimes you just can’t think, you have to feel. Do what you feel and you’ll end up alright.
Pearl Jam - Breathe
I don’t know where I heard this first. But it’s my favorite Pearl Jam song. And I think that is saying a lot with the list they have. I love the simplicity of it and the just awesome lyrics. This song takes me all kinds of places. Reminds me of those that I’ve lost, while also reminding me of those that I love, or wildly enough, a combo of them both. Lost & love or love & lost.
Counting Crows - Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
I know, a lot of Counting Crows. Quite possibly the most genius lyrics in any song ever. Absolutely beautiful use of words and analogies. So simple, so deep. And I think that’s why I love this song. Because it’s exactly like me. Pretty god damn simple, but incredibly deep. Usually more than people know. This is a 7 minute, almost 8 minute song of awesome lyrics. I wish it was more well known. Or do I? Hidden gems are never a bad thing. SO SO SO good.
OAR - Mr. Moon
Since 9th or 10th grade, if I was having a bad night I would always listen to Mr. Moon. OAR is one of my favorite bands and Mr. Moon always resonated with me with having a bad night. A few people know this, and when I put up something with this song in it they assume something is wrong (which is usually right). I always, always, always look up when I’m outside too..so usually at night I’m looking at the moon.
Counting Crows - Murder of One
Yes. All of these songs are basically off of August & Everything After. I didn’t get this song the first few times I heard it. But after a few hundred listens, it makes a whole lot of sense. And no, it didn’t take me that many to get it. Anyways, song is about a guy and a girl who have a connection, but the girl is with the “wrong” guy. Or at least that’s how I see it. And that’s how I usually see it in real life too. Weird that I like this song so much right? ”There’s a bird that nests inside you, sleeping underneath your skin, when you open up your wings to speak, I wish you’d let me in.” Favorite line by far. A lot of people have feelings that sit inside of them without ever telling anyone, especially the person they feel that way about. Why?! Say what you feel. The hurt of the feeling sitting inside of you is far more then anything you will ever feel in return.
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Old Dirt Hill
Top 3 songs easily. This song makes me remember my childhood. It reminds me of having fun for countless hours after school until we went to sleep and did it all over again. Maybe you had a crush on this girl at school or you kicked the shit out of a bully. Something was always exciting and new. Sometimes I think we lose a lot of these feelings as we get older. Which is horribly sad. I love this song because it takes me back to those days. When I was “just a kid, and that’s what I miss”. Everybody needs to have that beat brought back to them again. I don’t give a shit who you are, everyone has an inner child. And if you don’t then I probably don’t want to be your friend. Bring that beat back to me again!
Keith Urban - Without You
Judge me. I dare you. I hope this is something I can sing to my wife, when I have one of course. It’s a pretty awesome song. Makes me think a lot farther ahead. Really dangerous. And I guess maybe a lot of 23 year olds don’t look THAT far ahead. But I guess I do, deal with it. Shit yes I love partying and all that goes with being young. But I won’t call myself successful until I’ve found the woman of my dreams, a place in this world I love and can call home and two beautiful children. Yeah, I said it.
Jason Aldean - See You When I See You
Always, always, always makes me remember KQ32. I think I had this song on repeat for a week or so afterwards. I know I’m going to see him some other place, some other time. And I know we definitely meet in between in my dreams.
Eli Young Band - Crazy Girl
This might just be one of my favorite country songs. It’s crazy to me that some women don’t know that their “men” don’t love them. Tell whoever you love, that you love them, every day. Every. Day. No phone call should end without I love you, or text, or email, or iMessage, or whatever. How do you know that won’t be the last time you speak to a certain someone? Let it be known! Don’t be a baby.
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Oh
Best part of this might be the Dave Speak at the beginning. But shit, this is just a good song. A perfect song of how love feels. A thousand different feelings of craziness. But if you’re with that one person, that is ALL that matters. And that one feeling is ALL that matters. “I love you OH so well”.
Dave Matthews Band - I’ll Back You Up
This reminds me specifically of one person. We’ve been in constant contact, no matter what for the past 7-8 years. No matter what she decides or where she decides to go, I’ll back her up. She’s kept me sane for the last few years, and I hope I’ve done the same. “Do as you please, I’ll back you up.”
Dave Matthews Band - Grace is Gone
My ALL TIME FAVORITE SONG. I was already listening to it a lot. But Myrtle Beach 2008 I listened to this about 20 times on repeat. After I heard about Tyler’s diagnosis I needed something to keep me sane. This song is somehow where I found my peace and exited my emotions. It is so weird where we find our comfort in troubled times. But thank god for this song, this is where I found my salvation. Everyone has that song, I know it. It can be such a simple song that provokes such astounding memories. Exactly why I love music.
FM Static - Tonight
How I feel about all of my brothers. TTW. BLW. KWQ. This song always hits home. It always strikes a chord. Let anyone and everyone you love, know. Don’t wait. Tell them whenever you feel it. Whenever you think of them, tell them. They say the word love is misused, but who makes the call? If you feel it, use it.
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Crash Into Me
Cliche. But easily one of my favorite Dave songs. Gives me goosebumps. One of the first ones I knew by heart and will never forget. I really only like it with Dave and Tim acoustic though. Weirdly, I really only like a lot of the slower songs acoustically. They’re just SO much better. Simple is good. May or may not be played at my wedding. Acoustically of course.
Justin Robinett - Before All The Rocks
My brother also told me about this one. Absolutely beautiful song. Perfect, almost. If I could play guitar and sing, I would sing to this to my future wife. Maybe the guitar part? Anyways, makes me think of now and where I want to be with a relationship. This song is just awesome though. Listened to it countless times in Italy. Over and over and over and over. Funny how I fell weak to a lot of the feelings I had while I was over there. Even more funny, I still have them.
Counting Crows - Round Here
2nd favorite song. No dispute. I love Stodie. I love the 607. This song reminds me of the Valley. And when I say Valley, I definitely mean Canisteo. But I also mean JT, Hornell, Arkport, Alfred. If that isn’t a community, I don’t know what one is. I would sometimes think that I hated that place. How dumb was I?! Probably the most honest, forgiving, beautiful, hard working community around. For the most part. Shit, everyone isn’t perfect. I love that place. Period.
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Where Are You Going
Also a cliche Dave song. But still one of my favorites. Because sometimes, where you are is where I belong. Doesn’t everyone feel that way? Wherever someone else is, they want to be there? Love this song!
3 Doors Down - Landing in London
This song is lyrically awesome to me. There’s always that someone that pulls you out of the darkness that you’re seeing or feeling. The one person that makes you feel better about the situation, feeling, whatever it may be. But it also makes me think of that person that might be away from someone they love for a long time. It’s taken on different meanings as I’ve done different things and gotten older. I think that’s the definition of a good song!
That’s it. 2 and a half hours of songs. A whole lot of me. I feel so much better. Try writing something if you’re feeling indifferent. Hope you’ve enjoyed this ride. If you have seriously read through this whole thing, you just might know me more than some of my friends. Whoever said reading was a bad thing? Someone has to write it first!
I haven’t written on here in WAY too long. So I figured I’d try to recap the last few months of my amazing life…
I cried a few times before I actually left. I didn’t know if I’d be able to take the change. Would I be able to be so far away from my family? My friends? Would I make new friends? I had my family in Alabama..but not the 607 family I was used to for 22 years. Oddly enough, I had a really hard time saying goodbye to my animals. Goodbyes are hard. But, just like John Q, I always try to think of it as a “see you later”. But shit, we can all be optimistic and all..but there is always going to be that last goodbye. We just don’t know when it is.
Anyways, my trek led me down to Fairhope, Alabama. Hot weather, water, beaches, and southern living. Oh, and a new job. Scared out of my mind on my drive down. Mind running a million different ways. Once I finally made it I had a whirl wind weekend of finding things for my new home, figuring out my new job and of course..attending Hangout Fest 2012. I think Hangout really welcomed me in a way..knowing that I made the right decision. And of course, a solid bonding weekend with my new roomies, my cousin and her husband.
Work began a few days later. Always intimidating. Met the new co-workers and toured the place. Started wondering if I made the right decision, again. A week went by, I started forming bonds with everyone, getting to know them, where they were from. Jeff from Montana, Logan from California, Cheryl from Indiana. Ok, I wasn’t the only Yankee! I started filling my role and making friends. I was learning every day. Learning new things in my job and new things about the area.
Fast forward 4 months. I’ve been to the beach more than I can count. Out and aboot to the multiple bars (just a few more than home) and met an incredible group of people. Every day I’m learning, meeting someone or doing something new. Whether I’m at work, at my new home or out. I’ve created a new life, a new experience, a new everything from what I once knew. Where I come from, that’s not something many accomplish.
Change is always scary. But change can feel SO good. I think that’s a huge risk and reward in this life. You won’t get one without the other. I am incredibly happy that I made that leap of faith and moved. Yes, sometimes I miss home. Sometimes I miss home like crazy. But, I know that Canisteo will always be there, the Valley will always be there.
I’m all for making new memories, new friends, new homes. But there will always only be one TRUE home. Thee 607. Until then…it’s SWEET HOME ALABAMA.
You’d think albino penguins would be more common since they spend so much time in the snow. (If you’re going to be an all-white animal, what better backdrop could you find? But, of course, nature doesn’t work that way.) Snowdrop the penguin was one of the few albinos that made it to adulthood. He was born at the Bristol Zoo in England, and was accepted by his clutchmates unconditionally.
7 famous albino animals
It’s funny how dreams work. When you wake up from one, you always struggle to remember exactly what happened during those few seconds, minutes or hours that you were dreaming. Well, that’s how the last 2 weeks have been for me.
My best friend from the Navy came home after not seeing him for almost 2 years and 2 tours in Afghanistan. I saw family in Alabama that I hadn’t seen in just as long, if not longer. Had an amazing week sharing stories, drinks and fun. And it all culminated with one phone call. A job offer in Mobile, a dream come true.
If I could tell someone just one thing, it would be to never give up. Don’t ever give up on your dreams, thoughts, ambitions, beliefs, any of it. You CAN do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t EVER let anyone ever tell you any different. This world is full of opportunity and all you need to do is go out and grab it.
It truly is amazing how many dreams have come true for me. Study abroad - check. Get a job - check. Move down south - check. And soon to be, graduate - 1/2 check. Dedicate your mind and heart towards something and except nothing less. Every little accomplishment is just one more step towards a big one. Take nothing for granted. The people, situations and experiences in your life are what make YOU. Be determined. Never give up. Never accept no for an answer. And remember to always, always look up.