Here’s to a new chapter.

I left my best friend in Ohio.

Is that a dramatic statement? Yes. Are we surprised? No.

It has been five days since we moved my brother into the University of Akron, and this is a family shift that I am still getting used to. Yes, he is only three and a half hours away, but he is not home. When I moved away to college [30 mins away, but still], I didn’t realize how much of an impact this was on the rest of my family, simply because I was not there. I was on my own, busy, walking along this new path of life. But now that the roles are reversed, I see what my Mom was talking about for all those years.

The relationship that my brother and I have is one unlike many I’ve seen. I don’t know if it has to do with how close our family is or how far apart in age we are, but whatever it is, it is something that I am thankful for. Because we are so close, it makes the loss of him not being around 24/7 that much greater. I know it’s only been a few days, but I’ve already caught myself about to text him asking if he would want my leftover lunch, or if he wanted to run with me to the store later.

Although he is states away, he has talked to me every single day since he’s been gone, which makes me feel still so involved in his life when he fills me in on everything going on, and makes me feel like he isn’t out of town. Little things like this have already made the difference.

Today is his first day of college classes, whereas it is the last first day of college I will ever have in my lifetime [shoutout to grad school almost being over!!]. I am so overwhelmingly proud and excited for him.

Unpacking all of his things and setting up his dorm took away any ounce of sadness that I felt. In fact, it made me want to go back to undergrad, moving away, myself, because I remember that feeling. I remember the excitement I felt to be on my own, away from home, ready to start this new chapter in my life. Remembering this makes me feel like a total mom, because I am so excited that he gets to experience all of these things, too.

So, little bro, kick ass. Kill it. Good luck. Can’t wait to hear about your new adventure. xoxo.

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January 20, 2017

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“We must think big and dream even bigger.” – President Trump

I’m gonna put it right out there from the start. I am not the biggest President Trump supporter. Watching the live images of Former President Obama and Former VP Biden and their families leave office has made me so uncharacteristically sad today. President Obama was the first President I ever voted for, so based on my own personal experience, it was the end of an era for me.

But, one thing that stood out above the rest in President Trump’s inaugural address today was the above quote. I am a big believer in that you should always, always, always follow your dreams, no matter who tries to knock you down, no matter who tries to stop you, no matter who tells you your dreams are unachievable. Do not give up.

You do not have to love the fact that Mr. Trump is our next President, you do not have to hate it, and honestly, you do not even have to care. But one thing that we can all come to realize through this election is that anything is possible. A multi-million dollar businessman is our new President. Our President, not a politician. Who would have ever thought?

His dream to become President can be dated back all the way to 1988, where he considered running for President as the Republican nominee but later chose not to run. Or even back to 1999, where he announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee when he appeared on Larry King Live, and campaigned until February of 2000 for the Reform Party nomination.

I am sure that all those years ago, or even more recently with this past campaign, that people thought he was crazy. People thought he would never win, would never achieve his dream, would never fulfill this plan. But here we are, in 2017, and he has done it. It may not have been a welcome win for everyone in the United States, but a win it was.

On this day, 4 years from now, we could be in a completely different place than we are at this exact moment. Everything could change, or not much would change at all. Nobody knows what these next 4 years will bring, but we can get through it and come out stronger and better than ever. Anything is possible. xoxo.

Here’s to a fresh start.

1*_JgZ9V8Wmb2YUZ0j83hoig.jpg2016… Where to even begin?

This year, it seems like we experienced quite a bit of everything. Who could forget Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Queen Elizabeth turning 90, Donald Trump winning the United States Election, or the death of the now-famous gorilla Harambe? We experienced some tragedy — the outbreak of the Zika virus, the Orlando night club shooting, the controversial sentencing of Brock Turner, or the mutliple police shootings, just to name a few.

It may have started off as a sarcastic one-liner, but as we come closer to the end it really seems like “nobody was safe.” We lost [what feels like] so many icons this year — David Bowie, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher — staples of our childhood, and as we come closer to the end of 2016, the list is continuing to grow.

If there is one thing that we should take away from this year, it’s that anything is possible. While I do not know your own personal triumphs or sruggles that you may have had this year, I do know mine. And I can confidently say that this year shook me up, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Never in a million years did I expect this year to turn out the way it did. I overcame some pretty tough battles. I worked through the pain I was experiencing. I overcame my struggles with anxiety. I changed my life — joined a gym, fell more in love, enrolled at a new university, spent time with friends, cut my hair, changed my job, and started to focus on me.

I educated myself in the things that matter [well, to me at least]. I watched the first woman become a Presidential nominee, and watched a well-known celebrity win the token spot. I learned to embrace change. I learned to respect others and the differing opinions they have while standing up for myself and what I believe in. I partook in research, fieldwork, and internships to help individuals with developmental disabilities flourish in today’s soceity — something I stand so strongly for. I started looking and applying for new jobs in my field. I worked my ass off in school and was rewarded with a 3.9GPA; something I never thought was possible while juggling these multiple batons.

All that, and the most important thing remains. Although sometimes I got knocked down, I always got back up.

2016, thank you for the memories. And to 2017…you are 4 days away, and I am ready for you.

(PSA: My New Year’s resolution is to start blogging & to be more open about my personal experiences. Stay tuned!)