Category Archives: Literature

The Roads of Life

I never really expected myself here at this point in my life. I always had this picture of what I’d be like when I got older. I would be off at some amazing school somewhere with a great group of friends and a handful of opportunities knocking at the door. I never gave much though about everything else because up to a certain point, my journey was smooth sailing. I had hit cruise control and was just enjoying the scenic views. Unfortunately, the road got a little bumpy. When I tried taking control, I realized my brakes were out and swerved off my preplanned destination. Now it seems like I am deserted on the side of an unused road just waiting for help.

Now that I’m twenty-one years old, I am not in school and have no idea what I want out of life. The one thing I was passionate about was wrestling but my days of competing are long over. A torn meniscus in my knee and a blown out shoulder really crippled my career. I still find myself going to matches and being involved in the sport as a fan. I’d love to help out and coach on the side, but I don’t know if I could ever see myself doing that as a career.

Another thing I have found myself doing more often is watching vlogs on Youtube. Usually it is couples that film themselves everyday and put it out for the world to see. They always seem to be having fun and doing cool, quirky things. I could watch them just shopping at a grocery store and won’t find myself being bored. If there is one thing I could do, it would be able to film myself and put it on Youtube. I’d love to try different, crazy things and share my life experiences with the internet. I have a lot of ideas for funny videos and it’d be awesome to collaborate with other Youtubers. I think the past part would be able to capture my life for everyday and always have that memory to look back on. That is probably one of the most rewarding parts of doing it besides sharing your crazy journey of a life for others.

Even people who seem to have it all probably feel a bit lost in life sometimes. If you are feeling this way, it is most likely other people have dealt with it as well. While I am still on the side of the road waiting for some assistance, it is nice to have some time to think about where I am going.

Dysfunctional Sitcom of Life

Recently, I just watched my first episode of Roseanne. I always saw reruns playing on television but never got around to enjoy it. I was surfing through channels and noticed that an episode was just starting. With nothing else on, I thought this would be as good of a time as ever to try it out. The first scene already had me laughing with the daughter and son arguing like most siblings do. I loved the relationship between Roseanne and John Goodman as they bounced jokes off each other but then made the audience relate to serious situations. It was really well written and captivating as I found one episode turned into a full marathon. I don’t know what it is about sitcoms, but I always find myself mesmerized by the chemistry of the actors. The really good shows make you believe they have known each other their whole life and you quickly connect to them. I not only found myself admiring the characters, but wanting to be part of that family.

Not the typical family, but the Tanners in Full House were always having fun even watching television.

Not the typical family, but the Tanners in Full House were always having fun even watching television.

The first sitcom I was hooked on at an early age was definitely Full House. It was the perfect combination of a responsible dad, funny uncle, rebel uncle playing guitar and riding motorcycles, and three sweet, charismatic daughters. I can still remember Stephanie’s famous “How rude” line and Michelle saying ” You got it, dude”. The actors pulled me in with their funny jokes and story lines, even though I found it strange that Danny let his two brothers-in-law free load off him for seven seasons.They always seemed like they were having fun no matter what they were doing. The Tanner family could be sitting at the table eating dinner, and something spontaneous would happen to turn their boring meal into an epic feast with food fights, jokes, and even a talking beaver puppet. It wasn’t about how much they all cared about each other. I had a loving family that would do anything for me and be there if I truly needed it. I think it was the actual story lines of the show that caught my eye. I wanted to go on a vacation to Hawaii and jet ski, snorkel, and find myself leaving the islands with crazy stories that happened. I wished every problem I encountered would be magically solved at the end of every show.  I wanted every day to be like a Full House episode, but unfortunately I didn’t live in San Francisco or have an awesome red Corvette that played a catchy theme song when I drove it. I was stuck just watching from  the outside as I had to deal with the monotony of school and real-life problems.

Another show I started watching after school was Boy Meets World. In my opinion, this has to be one of the best and most memorable sitcoms from the 90’s. Not only did Cory have this great family, but the of closest best friend on tevlesion Shawn and him were inseparable. Even if it seemed overbearing or too much, they would always be there for each other with advice or a helping hand. Shawn even got along with Cory’s soulmate Topanga, as they all hung out and had a memorable four years at John Adams. While most people grow apart after high school, they remained best friends through college. After graduating eighth grade, I was so excited to move on and have these types of memories. I wanted that best friend that I would go on adventures with and could always call up whenever I needed. I wanted an older brother Eric that taught me about life and told me his stories. I was hoping that my next door neighbor would become a teacher and be in my classroom for the next eight years of my education. While I never had an older brother, a Mr. Feeny, or cool teacher like John that took Shawn in to live with him;  I did have some good memories with a close group of friends. But just like Boy Meets World, all things have to come to an end. High school wasn’t going to last forever, and I never found that Shawn that I could call my best friend for my whole life. (On a side note, I really hope the new spinoff Girl Meets World doesn’t ruin the series.)

Corey and Shawn were always up to something in every episode of Boy Meets World.

Corey and Shawn were always up to something in every episode of Boy Meets World.

I still watch sitcoms but can’t help but feel like they are missing something. I always find myself going back to reruns of my favorite shows of the 90’s. I still feel like they have more memorable characters and relatable story lines, but I think they mostly hold fond memories of my childhood. Now that I have grown up, I actually did live all those episodes I wanted to be in so bad. I have gone through relationships and breakups, good report cards and tests I failed, disappointing my parents and making them proud, enjoying friends and losing them, and even graduating. I got to live my own sitcom and not only connect to the characters but actually care about them. I made up my own one liners and catch phrases and decided how I wanted each episode to end. Maybe I won’t remember every lesson Mr. Feeny said or sit down Danny Tanner had with Michelle, but I will always cherish my own memories longer than any series can be on television.

Old People Are the Best Drivers

As I was coming back home from the gym, I was stopped at a very busy four-way intersection. The problem here is only one road has stop signs as the main road always has cars whizzing around the corner. You begin to inch up as the last car passes, but then another truck comes whizzing by when you’re about to cross. After patiently waiting a couple minutes, I finally had my chance to go. But just as I was creeping forward, I saw a van coming up the road. I was in that awkward situation where I don’t know if I have enough time to go or I should just wait. I decided to be a nice guy and let the car pass. I guess it might have been my quick glance, but I didn’t realize this car was rolling at about five miles per hour. It was close enough for me to wait, but since it was traveling seven times slower than the actual speed limit I could have crossed the road probably three times back and forth. At first, I thought the car was stalling out or something terrible had happened to the driver. As I was ready to get out and help, I quickly realized what was going on: old people driving.

It was a elderly couple peering out the dashboard window. The woman sitting in the passenger seat seemed like she was in pain with a grimace I’ve only seen people passing a kidney stone make. I couldn’t even see the driver, but could tell it was her husband by the cap that just creeped above his steering wheel. I see it all the time with elderly men that operate cars but don’t fix the seat so they can actually see all of the road. This moment seemed like it lasted a week as the couple’s car actually moved in the middle of the intersection to make a right hand turn. They almost clipped my car as they swerved into the street. I was dumbfounded that these people thought it was a good idea to drive. They are clearly aware that they can’t handle all the responsibilities of operating a car.

Hilarious still from South Park depicting exactly what I see when elderly people drive.

Hilarious still from South Park depicting exactly what I see when elderly people drive.

Now I understand some senior citizen are in different situations. They might not have a loved one or any family close enough to drive them around places. It actually made me really appreciate having a car that I take for granted. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t just pick my keys up and go wherever I needed to without a hassle. It was a nightmare when my car was in the shop for one day and I couldn’t get out of my house. I could never imagine someone knowing that they weren’t fit to drive for the rest of their lives.

It is a terrible thing to have to deal with, but there are also solutions. Hopefully, some retirees have saved enough throughout their life that they can afford a car service to get them to certain places. I’m not saying rent out a limo to drive to Atlantic City every weekend, but there are affordable driving arrangements to help elderly citizen get to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and visiting friends/family. And if they really planned ahead and worked on your savings, it’d be possible for retired people to reside in a adult community. I have actually visited one of these places recently, and I was tempted to live there. They have everything you could need from grocery stores, doctor offices, recreation centers, and even a bowling alley. The houses are wonderful and feel like you just bought a brand new place to call your own. However, not everyone sees eye to eye about this.

Now, this post isn’t about bashing grandmas and grandpas. I just feel like safety should be an issue and taken seriously. Some people feel like age doesn’t affect them, when they can barely read the signs and determine if the light is green or red. I have seen elderly citizens drive with their nose on the steering wheel as they can barely see the road with glasses thicker than actual street signs. They don’t want to be burdened with relying on others so they can still feel like they have independence in their lives. It’s probably the worst feeling knowing you are not as youthful as you used to be. But people that are not capable of driving should not be on the road. They not only put themselves in harm, but also can cause serious injuries to other people. The past year I have seen the terrifying videos of elderly people driving into grocery stores at about forty miles per hour crashing into shoppers and even children. I personally think after a certain age that everyone should be retested and given eyes exams. It may be the only way to bring them to the grim reality that their days of driving have come to an end. Hopefully, most people will grow old with loved ones and family they can rely on. While I love driving, I sadly know one day I will have to hang up my keys for good as well.

Failure Isn’t the End of the World

I hate hearing the phrase “If you come in second, than you’re just the first loser”. Athletes are always pushing themselves to get to their ultimate goal. Obviously they don’t train with the intention of finishing behind other people, but in any sport or contest there’s someone that falls short. There are people that put their blood, sweat, and tears into their passion. This can be the football player that wakes up at five in the morning with barely any sleep to go for a run or the guitarist strumming for hours even if his fingers are bleeding. But if they don’t win that championship ring or succeed, than all that hard work wasn’t worth it. I used to have that mindset for a big part of my wrestling career. I would get so upset when I lost a match that it would deter me from putting in that much effort with my training. I didn’t want that feeling of defeat after I probably put in as much time or more in my workouts and lifts as the kid as I was wrestling. This way of thinking really crippled my potential. I was so scared of losing that I couldn’t even focus during my match. It felt like I was about to have a heart attack before the ref even blew this whistle. This problem wasn’t getting any better until something happened before one the biggest matches I had ever wrestled.

It was my junior year and I had just made my way to the finals of the county tournament. It may not be a huge deal to some people, but one of my biggest goals for the year was to win this event. Growing up with all these kids, it would be amazing to be crowned champion and be known as the best in your area. I was wrestling a good tournament, but I wasn’t used to the pressure and intensity of the finals. There is only one mat in an enormous gymnasium crammed with screaming fans. All the lights are shut off in the building except the lone spotlight shining on the mat. That means every single person is focused on you. There isn’t another teammate to rely on like in other sports. It is just you out there. If you make one mistake, it won’t go unnoticed. The nerves began to kick in, and I could feel all the intensity get to me.

I was doing my usual routine to warm up before my match. I’d stretch out and just pace back and forth thinking to myself. About three matches before I was going to step out on the mat, my assistant coach pulled me over to the side. He asked me how I was doing and I just shrugged saying I’m fine. He could see right through my guard and noticed I was nervous. The next thing he said to me I’ll remember for the rest of my life. He told me about what his dad said to him before he wrestled in his county finals match. Don’t worry about if you win or lose. Don’t think about how people will react if you do this or don’t hit that move. Just go out there and leave it all on the mat. It was like a light bulb just went off in my head. I suddenly didn’t have the prematch jitters I could barely shake off. I actually felt excited to go out there and wrestle. I stepped out on the mat and my whole style changed. I didn’t hear any fans blowing their lungs out cheering. I didn’t think about what will happen after the match if I lose. I didn’t even see my opponent. I was going to wrestle my match and leave everything I had out there. If I wrestled like this, I would have nothing to second guess later on. This new found mindset propelled me to win my first county championship. All the five o’clock runs in the mornings and sacrifices finally paid off. I was overwhelmed by so much joy and happiness that the only thing I could do was cry. I left it all out there on the mat and no one could say anything about it.

I haven’t ever thanked that coach for the little bit of advice he gave me, but that one speech probably changed not only my wrestling career around but my life as well. I was so caught up in the cat and mouse game of life that I never let myself go. It felt like my whole existence was measured by the amounts of wins and defeats I had. This stopped me from really going after what I wanted with a clear mind. After that speech, I could finally be in the moment and focus all my attention on what I was doing. From friendships to school and especially wrestling, this outlook on life gave me a whole new perspective on everything. And I did lose after my victory at counties. But this time I didn’t storm off the mat upset. I actually had no regrets because I knew I gave everything I had in all my matches and shouldn’t be disappointed. I began to learn more from my losses and it helped me become a better wrestler and person. Life shouldn’t be a tally board or record, it is a journey that should be experienced in the moment. Sometimes you just need to let go and everything else will fall into place.

Breakfast In Bed

Breakfast in bedOne of the most thoughtful things someone can do for a person they care about is bring them breakfast in bed. The holiday this usually occurs the most is Mother’s Day. The dad wakes up the kids bright and early as they scoop out fresh fruit, scramble eggs, and possibly burn some toast. They get all excited to see their mom’s surprised smile as they hug and kiss her. They place the tray of food that they worked so hard to make and organize on her lap to show their appreciation for everything she does. This gesture is not only for Mother’s Day but other occasions too. How many times has your mother brought a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a warm grilled cheese sandwich to you in bed when you were feeling under the weather? Or how about on a special anniversary or Valentine’s Day when a significant other wakes you up with a tray of your favorite pancakes and vase of red roses. This simple sign of affection can go a long away and really show someone how much you care about them. However, there are some technical difficulties I have noticed mixing food with a bed.

One of the main problems is actually positioning yourself to enjoy the food you were just surprised with. A bed isn’t like a chair, it is comfortable to lie down in not actually sit up. Most beds have a head rest that you can lean your back uncomfortably on as the wood digs into your spine. Just when you find that right spot, you begin to sink deeper down into your cushy mattress. So every time you take a bite out of your omelet, you have to prop yourself back up. If people are like me, I do not want to be bothered and interrupted every couple of minutes when I am enjoying a meal.

True love can be shown even through food.

True love can be shown even through food.

Another issue with breakfast in bed is sheets don’t get along with crumbs and spills. It’s bound to happen even to the neatest eater that a crumb from your toast will get lodged in between your sheets. It really isn’t a big deal because you can just brush it off the mattress. Unfortunately, the amount of crumbs will slowly build up each time you bite into the golden, brown slice of buttered bread. You may think you have wiped all the debris from your meal away until later that night when you feel the tiny pieces scratching against your skin. You try to furiously clean them off your sheets but each time your hand whacks your bed you are crushing them into smaller and smaller pieces. You can’t even see them now as they irritate you the rest of the night. Not to mention the occasional spill that will stain your sheets orange from juice, this simple meal now turns into a full day of cleaning. Besides the sheets, the person who enjoyed this meal will most likely be forced to clean this mess up and lug the tray back to the kitchen to wipe down. Hopefully, you have a caring significant other that will keep you company as you enjoy your meal and take care of all the dirty work after.

While the meal being brought to bed is a really caring gesture, it might not be the most rewarding gift for the person enjoying the surprise. Even through all the spilt crumbs and spilled juice on your sheets, it is still worth it to know that someone cares about you that much to go through all that trouble to surprise you. They don’t even want anything else in return because the best gift that they could ever get it a smile from you. I know the greatest feeling I could ever have is to see someone else I care about smiling and having a good time.

The Great Debate: Pizza vs. Chinese Food

The Holy Grail of Pizza..Buffalo Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Coke or Pepsi, vanilla or chocolate, PS3 or Xbox are some of the great debates that can cause unrepairable rifts in friendships and relationships. Our generation has probably become the most indecisive ever with so many options being crammed down our throats. Just watch an entire commercial break and you’ll see two new reality spinoffs, on top of three different pizza chain ads( Will gauge my eyes out if I see that Papa John skit with Manning one more time). I can hardly even pick what brand of chips I want when I go to the store, let alone which flavor. Sometimes I wish I grew up in the 1800’s, when things were so much simpler. Instead of choosing which Xbox game to play from the hundreds of options at Best Buy, my only choice for entertainment would be to push a hoop with a stick. Hopefully, there weren’t too many hoop/stick brands to choose from.

A recent debate that I have come across has really been perplexing me. It is more dividing than pro life vs. pro choice, legalization of drugs, and even lowering the drink age…Which food is better reheated the next morning: PIZZA vs. CHINESE FOOD. Drunk college students, late night clubbers, and even lazy adults feel that sense of victory when they find that half filled pizza box or quart of Chicken Lo Mein hidden in the fridge. But once again, the debate is not as simple with the hundreds of varieties of these delectable cuisines.

For the pro pizza side, most people can find joy in just savoring that lone slice of a cheese pie after the last call at a bar. Simple and original and always safe bet. Throw it in the microwave for minute, and you feel like you’re Gordon Ramsey whipping up a five course meal ( most likely the side effects of too much liquor).The pro Chinese food has too many options to list, but I will say most meals are more filling and probably more nutritional than your average slice of pizza. Throw in the some sweet and sour sauce on fried chicken and you’ll be feeling like a million bucks. However, pizza may have the upper hand in this debate.

Chinese food definitely has the variety of choices from chicken & broccoli to beef and rice, but I have never seen people fight over General Tso’s Chicken like they do for a certain kind of pizza. The holy grail of all pies has to be buffalo chicken. Not only is it delicious warm and fresh, but it must have some secret ingredient to make it even more mouth watering reheated. Not only have I seen people burn their last dollar buying fresh pies of buff chic at 2 in the morning, but I have seen friends legit fist fight over a single slice. Pretty intense for something most people take for granted.

Like I said before, some of these debates have torn rifts in friendships. For me, it really doesn’t matter. If I’m hungry and it’s there, I won’t even reheat. Years of cutting weight from wrestling has given me the super power of savoring and enjoying any kind of food warm or cold, fresh or a couple days old.

Wait for Tomorrow?

After the ball drops and the morning hangover kicks in, everyone begins to remember the “important” New Year’s resolutions they made the night before. From getting back in shape to quitting smoking, millions of people set their goals high for the upcoming year. However, the “resolution” that is always followed through the most is pushing back these life-changing resolutions . How many times have you heard or even been a culprit of saying “Oh, I’ll start it tomorrow”. I’ll be the first person to admit that I have done this countless of times in my life.

It can start off as a simple “I don’t feel like it, I’ll take out the trash later.” You wouldn’t even think about it twice, just a simple excuse to keep enjoying the football game or another episode of True Blood. For some people, it’s a one time offense. They’ll eventually get to it. For others, it can be a bad habit almost as addicting as picking up a cigarette. That simple line can almost get you out of anything.

It starts off from putting off chores to scrambling the night before to finish a project that was given out two months earlier. I still can remember that devastating feeling of finding out on Sunday night Barnes & Noble is closed and there’s no way to get that book I need for my test the next morning. Eventually, midnight strikes and you head over to Spark notes and accept the mediocre grade on your test. No real drastic consequences, just shrug it off and make another empty promise that next time it won’t happen..But it always does. Just think, if you didn’t procrastinate on every project you ever did and started if off early, all those grades would have added up and made a world of difference. I know it could have changed my whole high school academic career.

This procrastination bug is the hardest addiction to break in my opinion. It might be less lethal than other habits, but is still as life-changing as others. It has not only prevented me from  many opportunities, but also locked me into a cycle of laziness. I hate making cheesy resolutions, but I will make one now. I WILL NOT WAIT FOR TOMORROW! I am not going to put off things for a another day, week, month. I am going to seize each day and not wait another minute. You can wait on life as long as you like, but life will not wait for you.

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