Quotable Lessons

What a whirlwind it’s been these past couple weeks! With my 29th birthday arriving earlier this month (on the 3rd), it caused me to reflect quite a bit on my life and in particular, the past decade. To say it’s been tumultuous would be an understatement. Much of it was difficult, painful and at times, excruciating to endure. Other parts of it were dramatic, but positive, in some respects. With that being said, I ushered in the last year of my 20’s feeling loved and cared for. In the evening, my family and I gathered together and shared a couple hours exchanging laughs and enjoying each others’ companies. So often, I find myself in moments drifting away, worrying and fretting about the next day, hour, moment, and beyond. Though, this time, I centered my focus on that present moment, knowing that if I didn’t, I would regret it hours later. Consciously I knew, hours later, I would lay in my bed, reflecting upon the day wishing I had simply enjoyed the moment, relishing in the time with my family. Looking back, that evening was a defining moment in my 20’s, as I felt more loved and appreciated than I could have envisioned.

Flowers Blooming 2              Flowers Blooming

Pictured: Flowers spotted while on a walk the day of my birthday.

To that end, I found myself looking for even more quotes than usual, as I embarked on my 29th year. So often, I stumble upon the most intriguing and expressive thoughts through Twitter, of all places. With that being said, I thought I’d share a few of these quotes or statements, because perhaps they might impact someone who may be reading this:

“Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper.”

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”

“Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.”

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”

“Spend your life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress.”

“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”

“Love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.”

“In this life, we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

“Work hard in silence; let success make the noise.”

“Every scar has a story, don’t be afraid to tell it.”

“Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.”

“Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be – that’s your life. That’s your late night pizza with your loved ones, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favorite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those 5-10 pounds are your favorite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life. Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your life.”

Notable Reflections

Perhaps it is because it’s what I’ve been subconsciously searching for, or maybe it is simply a coincidence, but recently I’ve noticed numerous articles, quotes and pieces of advice centered around the concept of fear. Fear is something I’ve battled throughout my life on many occasions and it is only when I make a choice to act in spite of it, I feel a surge of confidence and comfort. Shying away because of the fear we harbor within us is one of the easiest ways to feel overwhelmed and ultimately, trapped. Acting and making choices in spite of fear is not an easy feat by any means, or at least to me it isn’t, but when I summon bravery and courage, most of the time, I end up feeling at piece with my decision.

Courage quote 2

Sometimes, the occasions when I’ve experienced fear were simpler and less significant than others. For instance, when I was about 17, my sister and I traveled to Disney World for a quick spring break vacation. I was excited and eager to ride an upside-down roller coaster for the first time. Though I’d been to countless amusement parks in the past with numerous opportunities to ride upside-down roller coasters with friends, I’d always opted out and chose to wait on the sidelines as my friends squealed with excitement over the largest, complex roller coasters around. In some instances, I was frustrated with myself and my fear of riding the roller coaster, or rather, by my decision to not experience it at least once. My fear and worry continued to get in the way, leaving me curious to what it might feel like to be upside down. On that particular trip to Disney World, I made the decision to ride the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, one of Disney World’s only upside-down roller coasters, in spite of the fear I still harbored within me. When the moment of truth arrived, I stood at the foot of the coaster, with the ride employees urging me, “You need to make a decision now.” My fear was piquing at that moment, but when a ride employee volunteered to ride along with me and talk me through the ride, I took a chance. Some of the ride is blurry to me now, since it has been 10 years since that moment, but what stands out to me, is my courage and ability to ride that coaster in spite of the fear still pulsating through me. Though it might sound so simple to some, for me, it was a feat proving I could still make choices and take action in spite of fear. Fear does not have to completely dissolve within us in order to make a choice or take action.

Courage 3

In hindsight, what I’m attempting to say is that I’ve missed out on many opportunities, chances, friendships and relationships because of fear. As I grow older and I reflect on these instances within my life that stand out to me, I realize how fear is something we can control. Sometimes, it feels as though fear may control us, but we are the ones creating that fear and are in the driver seat of that fear; we determine the direction the fear charges towards. Perhaps my perspective is flawed, but it is what I feel most resonates with me and my particular experiences.

Life Quote

That being said, here are some quotes I recently stumbled across that I hope will bring you some perspective and comfort this rainy Tuesday (if it is rainy where you are today; here in Pennsylvania, it is a rainy, chilly day!):

“I could conquer the world with just one hand… as long as you were holding the other.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.”

“If you live in fear of the future because of what happened in your past, you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.”

“Fear is not your enemy, it is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow.”

 

 

 

Perspective by the Quote

Good Morning! I hope your weekend has been a pleasant and relaxing one, thus far. A couple of days ago, I had every intention of posting this very post, but unfortunately, several unfortunate occurrences seemed to interfere.

Never Quit

Between the issues related to the wireless network/router and my laptop, to the minor settings issue with my iPhone, it was frustrating and difficult to feel as though it wasn’t my fault, or beyond my control. When I found myself becoming stressed and overwhelmed, I turned to what I most often do – quotes. For those who know me well, or have been reading my blog for even a brief time, quotes are something I highly value and feel it helps me keep situations and life, in general, in perspective. Needless to say, I managed to stumble across several quotes this past week (most were tweeted by one of my favorite TODAY Show anchors, Hoda Kotb) which I found to be inspiring, motivating and comforting. The last quote I found (which you’ll see pictured, below) is from a necklace I happened to spot while browsing at Kohl’s with my sister and niece. Initially, I spotted it a couple weeks ago and then several days ago, we visited Kohl’s again and since the quote had been on my mind since first seeing it, but I couldn’t recall the specifics of it, I was able to locate it and snap a quick photo to share.

Quotes of the Week:

  • “And suddenly you know… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
  • “People grow when they are loved well. If you want to help others heal, love them without an agenda.”
  • “With the right music, you either forget everything or you remember everything.”
  • “You’re the wish my heart made.”

Disney Necklace

 

 

 

 

Bouncing Back: A Tale of Resilience

Happy National Iced Tea Day and good morning! I hope your week has been a pleasant one, thus far. Today’s post was slated to be vastly different than this actual one, but somehow, I managed to completely delete the post which was literally minutes from completion. Needless to say, I was devastated, overwhelmed and felt like giving up. I was instantly returned many years prior to a day when I was pressed for time and crafting an essay for school. The entire essay was nearly completed and thoroughly researched, when suddenly, it was gone. When I say it was gone, I truly mean it. I tried everything to retrieve it, asked for help, but nothing I did could bring it back.

Courage quote

My first instinct after it happened, was to run my room and hurl myself onto my bed, sobbing for what it felt like hours. I remember back then, my mom walked into my room and told me I had two choices: I could choose to continue sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, or I could get back onto the computer, start crafting a new, even BETTER essay and save my words as I go along. Everything happens for a reason and maybe the first draft of my essay wasn’t all that great, similar to with the blog post I was nearly finished writing. Sure, it introduced some new products I was excited about, but more so than that, it taught me a lesson; a lesson that I need to get back up and write something else. What have I learned today? I’ve learned to save my drafts as I go along and maybe even write my blog posts in Microsoft Word and then transfer it to my blog and add photos and other little touches. So, I’ll think of this occurrence as a teachable moment, in a sense, one I can learn from and share with others. Like years ago, I could choose to feel sorry for myself, moan and whine about the deleted post, or take a deep breath and write something else. Maybe other people can relate to this or maybe not, but I figured I should share it.

Resilience Quote

Yesterday, while watching Kathie Lee & Hoda on NBC in the morning, they mentioned that people who voice their thoughts (even the whiny, negative, complaints) are often happier in life and feel more connected to others. I’d never really thought of it in this way, as I often will publicize my complaints, whines, worries and happiness with my mom and sister, but not many others, anymore. So this is me, today, being brave and bold, sharing my complaint and upset, about my deleted post and also sharing a bit of lighthearted happiness on a day that has me feeling a bit under the weather: free Iced Tea! It’s an easy way to cheer me up when I’ve been battling a cold and a quick pick-me-up from this unfortunate snafu with my deleted post.

So, if you’re craving some free refreshment today, like me, here are some quick tips for you:

National Iced Tea Day Freebies:

Iced Tea

  • *FREE* bottle of Snapple Iced Tea: visit http://sipyoursummer.com/ as quickly as you can to print a coupon! Prints are typically limited and the value is $1.25, so it should make for a free bottle! Keep in mind, the coupon is valid ONLY TODAY (June 10)! Yum! Happy Sipping!
  • *FREE* 16oz cup of Teavana’s new Pineapple Berry Blue Iced Tea at participating Teavana stores, nationwide! To find out where your nearest Teavana Retail location is, visit (teavana.com/retail)
  • *FREE* coupon for a bottle of Inko’s Iced Tea: simply visit https://www.inkostea.com/contact-us and enter your full mailing address and voila, your coupon will be on its way!

A Beautiful Mind, Mourned

This particular morning began as it typically did, my morning routine carried out in a methodical fashion. After reading the newspaper, I made my way over to my laptop and mindlessly clicked over to Twitter, to catch up on the latest happenings, not expecting to see anything of remote significance, or at least not something that would inspire this very blog post. However, within minutes, my mind and heart was instantly churning, as I became enraptured with emotion and grief. The headline posted by my local ABC News affiliate TV station, 6abc, read, “John Forbes Nash, the mathematician behind the movie, A Beautiful Mind, and his wife, Alicia, tragically killed in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.” My first instinct upon reading this tweet was shock, then it moved to upset, then to grief. There they were, aged 86 and 82, respectively, still residing in Princeton, where Nash worked for years as a renowned professor and weathered through bouts of mental illness, killed in a car accident in an otherwise, temperate Saturday afternoon. Apparently, they were riding in a taxi cab, on the New Jersey turnpike, when they were tragically struck at about 4:30pm.

John Nash

It’s always so bizarre to me when I hear stories like this. After watching the movie, A Beautiful Mind, numerous times throughout the course of my life (both in my childhood and as a college student, for an assignment in my Abnormal Psychology class) and seeing all the Nashes encountered and endured, their lives were not taken by these illnesses or trying situations, but rather a tragic event, occurring in a split second. It’s instances like these that cause me to question most everything. It’s often not the illnesses or diseases we might fear of contracting that can cause a loss of life in minutes, but rather these tragic events that seem to happen at a moment’s notice, without warning. For 86 years, the Princeton community and world, in general, were graced with John Nash’s intelligence and eccentricity. Seeing his life documented on screen taught, influenced and inspired me. Sometimes, in a way, I think it contributed to my majoring in psychology. The first time I ever saw the movie, I was a young teenager of about 14. When I watched it, I was perplexed and unaware of a mental illness called schizophrenia. It was new to me, hearing the name, seeing the symptoms Nash depicted in the movie, and attempting to make sense of what I was seeing. After learning about it, I was intrigued and began to learn more about it on my own time. I began to develop a keen sense of understanding and empathy for those afflicted with schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness. When I chose to switch my major to psychology halfway through my college career, as a 20-year-old, I took an Abnormal Psychology class, where each week, my professor would choose a movie where a mental illness was depicted and we had to compose a review of it, as evidence of our understanding.

A Beautiful Mind

One week, A Beautiful Mind was chosen and though I’d see it in many years prior as a teenager, I felt the need to watch it again, realizing that my entire perspective and understanding of it would be dramatically different as I was now an adult and a psychology student. I was right in my hypothesis, seeing and noticing different aspects of the movie and mental illness as I watched the film as an adult. Perhaps it was that my life experiences I encountered throughout the years shaped and colored my changed perspective and viewpoint. Throughout the film, I watched in awe and was impressed by Nash’s resilience and ability to continue on, no matter his symptoms or fears.

Mental Illness quote

Therefore, it is with a heavy dose of sadness and grief that I write this very post today. In a way, I felt I owed it to John Nash and his wife, Alicia, serving as the impetus behind a lot of my understanding and empathy for mental illness. Sometimes, in a way, I think it helped me in more ways than one. As a senior in college, I completed an internship where I worked with many adults who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia and I looked to them not as someone with a mental illness, but as someone who has the ability and strength for resilience. They were individuals who simply needed a trusted source and person to see them for who they are and not their illness.

John Nash and Wife

Never did I view John Nash as his illness, but rather someone who was an inspirational figure to me, someone who I respected and admired, and who, in spite of it all, rose above the people who might have encouraged him to give up or surrender his career and goals. To me, he and his wife are two people to be celebrated and looked upon with the highest regard.

Grief Quote

Thank you, John Nash, for your words, inspiration and talent; the world was blessed to know you.

Changed in an Instant

Yesterday was a day as typical as any other day. At night, I met with a friend for a bit and then arrived home around the early 10pm hour. Throughout most days and evenings, I am typically checking social media quite voraciously, loving to read the latest news and be aware about what is actually transpiring. Last night, upon arriving home, I mindlessly clicked over to the Twitter app, curious to see if anything new and exciting was occurring. Though, what I came to see was new, but not in a positive sense.

Merely 15 miles from me, give or take, 8-10 train cars completely derailed off-track, trains that were innocently-enough traveling as they typically did from Washington D.C. to New York City. Instantly, from reading the massive number of tweets from local and national television anchors, in addition to numerous TV stations, I knew something was gravely wrong and that this was not a minor event, by any means. My heart began to race as I scanned through tweets and Facebook posts, seeing people being escorted in numerous amounts from the trains, covered in blood, many distraught and crying, some inconsolable. I was disturbed and unable to sleep the majority of the night, feeling almost guilty in a sense for laying there in bed, safe, while these other innocent individuals were faced with massive destruction and a life-threatening experience. At this point in time, 6 train passengers are confirmed dead, with a significant number of others in critical condition, or injured in some way. The entire night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the crash, the people on aboard, their loved ones, the people waiting for them at home. It could truly happen to anyone and I couldn’t help but place myself in the passengers’ shoes and in their loved ones shoes.

Too often, we, as people get into our cars, or other modes of transportation without thinking of much. Sometimes, when driving, we are caught in bumper to bumper traffic, or we leave the house later than we needed to and are rushing to get from one place to other. At these times, we can drive on autopilot, failing to consider the others around us who are also driving. Yes, we are driving cars, trucks, SUV’s, and the like, but there are people who are driving these modes of transportation. People, who are mothers, fathers, sister’s, brother’s, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands, wives, and the list goes on. They are not simply an inanimate object operating a vehicle. I think sometimes, we, as people can forget this, as we become distracted and caught up in getting to where we need to, or we take out or anger and frustration on the roads.

In an instant, everything, and I mean, everything, can change. Sometimes they can truly change for the positive, but other times, the change can be grave and detrimental. In an instant, those we love can be taken from us. I think this truth is probably what I am struggling with most today. As I watched the trains overturned and the people screaming and running for their lives, or trapped within the trains, I couldn’t settle myself, as my mind continued churning and churning. They are innocent people, boarding a train for what should have been a relatively quick and routine trip, whose lives are now changed, no matter the severity of their physical injuries. Sometimes, I think the emotional injuries can be worse than those of a physical nature, because no band-aid can eradicate the emotional scars and wounds, except time and a new perspective. Whether they want it to or not, this train experience will change all of those involved, or even those who witnessed the third accounts of it, like myself.

I was wracked with such pain and empathy for all of those involved, wishing there was something I could do to somehow make it better. Though, I realize, the only thing I can do is love my family and friends and be as safe as I can be on the roads and realize that being late somewhere, or going a little slower on the roads isn’t going to make that much a difference. Every minute and second counts.

Today and for the days to come, I am keeping those involved in the trash crash in my surrounding city close and deep in my thoughts, praying for a fast recovery, both a physical and emotional one, hoping they know their strength and their ability for resilience. I’m also truly thankful and in awe of all the first responders and officials who quickly spun into action to help these people. They are truly heroes and I have the utmost respect for them and hope they know how much they are appreciated and celebrated, today and everyday.