Regret

When I think about my life, I consider myself really lucky. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, but there have been a lot of people that helped me to pave this path I’m on. There have also been a number of serendipitous moments that I could have never planned even if I tried, be it in my professional or personal life. But, right now, really for the first time, I have a huge regret that I have no idea how I’m going to put behind me.

Five years ago, a girl walked into my life and changed it forever. I remember our first kiss, our first “date” (Tim Hortons), and a million other little moments while I was falling in love with her. It was unplanned and, for a while, a secret we kept from a lot of people due to the circumstances that I won’t go into here. There was something about her I was enamored by.

We had a lot of hiccups along the way (mostly initiated by me), but I always thought she was it, I had found the one. I didn’t want to rush it, though – there are a lot of young people who get married quickly and split up just as fast and I was afraid of that. Despite the problems, they always seemed to work itself out even though I know I didn’t make all of the changes I needed to show her I was serious about us, eventually leading to us splitting up.

Before we split, last summer right after one of my good friends from college announced he was getting married, him and I spoke for the first time in quite a while. I told him I was happy for the two of them and had a feeling I’d see something about them soon. I followed that up with “Made me think about (ex-gf’s name here) and I. You just knew knew huh?”

He didn’t respond.

The day of the wedding, we went down in the early afternoon and it turned out we got there way early. It was pretty warm, and for some reason (as I usually am), I was a grouch about it (I’m working on it). She got pretty upset and, if I had to pick a moment when our relationship started to end, it was that. Instead of playing along and enjoying the day, I was a jerk. We had a good time at the wedding, but I know this was on her mind the whole rest of the day and for days after.

Around the same time, I was really starting to think I was going to propose. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, when, and where. I was going to ask her dad and everything. The thing is, I felt that way a few times over the course of our relationship and, now thinking back and knowing that I really did want to spent my life with her, I truly regret not marrying her. When I asked my friend if he just knew, I guess I was looking to validate how I felt at the time from someone I was close with. He was the first close friend of mine to get married and I was nervous about the prospect of proposing, so when he didn’t answer I just didn’t do anything.

I miss her a lot lately, but I’m glad she found someone and now lives in a place I wish I never tore her away from. I have a lot of regrets from our relationship, but what hurts the most is, I know they all could have been avoided.

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Sometimes, Nostalgia Stings

I don’t often plug my phone into my computer, but if I’m sitting at my desktop and don’t have a wall charger I plug it in. And every time I do this, I wind up scrolling through years of photos I’ve uploaded. I used to be happy looking through them, thinking about when I took them and what I was doing at that point in my life. Now, I look back and realize I messed up a lot. I completely lost someone who was my only ally. She went through hell for me every second we were together. I thought I was ok; lately I’ve been feeling, well, not good, but not terrible either, which I’m looking at as an improvement. Looking through these photos just reminded me of what I lost and how incredible she was. Everyone keeps telling me another one will come along, but I’m not so sure she’ll love me the same. I really screwed that up. I just hope I find someone who loves me half as much as she did.

In the end, I guess we were broken. Something wasn’t right; we weren’t very happy most of the time and I’m not entirely sure what would have set the ship right. Either way, I really, really hope she’s happy now. We haven’t talked in who knows how long, but I hope that since she’s packed up and started her own life that it’s exactly what she needed. She’s strong, stronger than I think she even realizes, so I probably shouldn’t worry. Which is funny, because I think that’s the way she always thought of me – strong. In reality, though, I’m a mush and I’ve been having a terrible time keeping it together.

One step at a time, I guess.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts

I’ve written about what I’m thankful for in another post, albeit it was three years ago, but my feelings haven’t shifted much despite some major changes in my life since then.

Cue cliche line about the past year: 2016 has been a year of ups and downs. From starting out with a new band, to my pup Olive getting into an accident, to getting a promotion, and, most recently, ending a long term relationship, I’ve had to deal with quite a bit. But as I sit here this morning in an air of melancholy, I’m trying to remember what I wrote in a tiny bedroom in Oswego exactly three years ago and ground myself. I know, on the eve of my 26th birthday despite what I’ve been going through, I still have it pretty good.

This year, I’m thankful for..

Friends old and new: From band members and my Odd Fellow brothers, to those who have stuck by me over the years, if I haven’t said it, thank you. Especially as of late, you’ve helped me keep it all together.

Olive: This furry little pain in my butt has retaught me what it means to unconditionally love something. She’s taught me patience, has helped distract me when I need to clear my head, and has truly been my best friend. With the messiness surrounding my past relationship, I’m not sure what our future is together. For now, though, I will make sure to cherish every moment I get with her.

Opportunity: 1) Finding a band is hard, fitting into that band is even harder. I tried for along time to find a band that cared enough about music and was motivated to create consistently and constantly grow. With Trench, I’ve found that. 2) Jobs aren’t always easy to come by and, especially at small nonprofits and museums, the opportunities to move up are often hard to come by. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do that this year, which has been all sorts of frustrating, invigorating. fun, and scary. At the end of the day, I know it’ll help me in the long-term, though at this point I’m not totally sure what the ends are. 3) Love comes and goes, until it doesn’t. Right now, it’s fading and one day it’ll be gone. But I’m thankful that there will (hopefully) be opportunities for me to meet and connect with new people. It’s an opportunity for growth, to push the limits I (subconsciously) put on myself in past relationships, and to learn to open up my heart a little more.

The little things: Like I mentioned three years ago, I’m thankful for my apartment, being able to put the heat on, having some cool clothes (though some may argue otherwise), good food, and at the very least half a brain.

I turn 26 tomorrow, so perhaps it’s fitting that I’m reflecting on the past year and attempting to position myself to keep moving in the right direction. And even if it doesn’t, even if there are more downs than ups in 2016 and beyond, I know that there will still be things I’m thankful for.

 

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Rebuilding, Part II

After my high school girl friend and I broke up, I made a conscious decision to make sure I found out who I was before jumping into another relationship. From 2009 to 2011, I bounced around Oswego for school, Long Island, New York City, Italy, and Brooklyn. I did a lot on my own, a lot of soul searching. I broke myself all the way down. I remember riding my bike over the Manhattan bridge in 2010 heading to Brooklyn. I felt numb. Sometimes I would stop halfway and just look out into the City wondering what was next, wondering how I would get through this (lack of) feeling. I had a rough time working at the bike shop, where I spent most of my time. The guys were hard on me, and while I appreciate it now, it made it really hard to go in every day. Luckily, that summer, I went to visit some family and take some classes in Italy, which helped to take my mind off of what I was feeling, at least most of the time. I remember listening to Polar Bear Club’s Convinced I’m Wrong about 500 times while standing on the balcony of my room in Altomonte.

I didn’t know what to feel at that point. I was lost. When I got back to Oswego after five weeks out of the country, I began to build myself up little by little. A few new roommates helped me get involved on campus, which led to me beginning to coach hockey at SUNY Oswego. Later that school year, my college band started. I hadn’t played in a band since high school and I missed creating things (which I’m not very good at, but that’s not the point). One of my bandmates, Ian, is still one of my best friends. Anyway, that year really got the ball rolling for me becoming who I am today. I started to get my confidence back. The summer of 2011 presented me with a unique opportunity managing the bike shop I worked at the last two years, though I wish it was under better circumstances. Regardless, I worked my ass off, about 90 hours a week, and just socked away the money. It was a hard life, but as the summer went on, I built up a little confidence, met a lot of cool people, and by the time I got back to school that fall I was a different person. I had a different outlook on my life, I knew what I wanted or, better yet, what I was ready for, and took things slow.

By the end of 2011, I met one of the most important people in my life. A few months later, we started dating and I finally felt whole. I wasn’t the greatest person to her over the next five years, and we went through some rough times, by and large because of me. I took her for granted and never gave her the attention she needed. She was always there for me, through all of my bullshit, my activities, graduate school – everything. Eventually, it took a toll on our relationship (no surprise there) and it led to us breaking up recently.

I don’t know if we’ll ever get back together, but either way, I hope she finds a way to be happy. As for me, I guess I’ve been down this road before. We’ll see what happens.

 

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25 Years

Turning 25 is a milestone, but unlike others (18, 21), 25 has catapulted me into a different mindset. All of a sudden, there is a significant part of my life behind me. This is not to say, however, there aren’t more defining moments ahead (I can certainly stand to change. Okay, okay. I can stand to change A LOT). Anyway, what I mean is, this is really the first time in my life I can look back on the choices I made over the last decade as well as examine what I saw, failed at, and accomplished and I can do all of that with a sense of here and now because, hey, here I am – this is where all of those decisions got me.

Now it’s time to chart a new path, though it’s more confusing now than ever. With school and finding a first job, things were a bit more obvious. As I look forward, though, it’s been difficult to see through the fog. The milestones I create won’t have deadlines or, for the most part, a sense of urgency attached to them. This is both invigorating and scary. Aside from goals, there are a lot of things I’d like to make a habit of, like reading and writing more. Perhaps now more than ever I should concentrate on refinement instead of picking up new things. Yeah, I like that.

Here’s to another year.

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A Year Later: El Salvador, Oswego, and Saying Goodbye

10151940_10152274893111550_1680990572_nIt’s been a full year since my trip to El Salvador with SUNY Oswego. My negative feelings for the organizations involved and my alma matter have dissipated, I even started thinking about somehow starting a small fund for history students. I’m not rich, but I was even more broke as a student and would have loved a scholarship, even if it was only for books.

The people I met on the trip and I still connect every now and again, though mostly online. Around the anniversary, a few days ago, I was a little skittish. Whenever I heard a loud noise my heart would start to race. It’s gone away now for the most part, but I think every year at this time (for a while) I’ll be a little jumpy. Further, and perhaps most importantly, I better understand the situation we were in and why it happened. I cannot be mad at those individuals, which I won’t go into here. I realized right away that I had it pretty good because, in reality, I got to leave and no matter how many things were stolen from me, they had to stay.

What I’ve also been thinking about is my connection with SUNY Oswego. I miss it. I spent a lot of time there and made friends and connections that mean a lot to me. From personal to professional growth, it all happened on that campus. I miss being in class (mostly graduate school) and working with students on a daily basis during my graduate assistantship, though I do not miss the lack of pay.

This is all coming to me now because Leah and I are looking at an apartment in Syracuse tomorrow afternoon and as much as we want to move, it’ll be bitter sweet, but I think it’s for the best. The two of us will always have a place in our hearts for SUNY Oswego and the city. We know this place so well and are comfortable here. There aren’t any surprises. We know what to expect no matter where we go. We have a bar, a couple favorite places to eat, and a nice apartment. Unfortunately, tomorrow could be the beginning of the end for our time living there.

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It’s Been A While (Redux)

I keep saying I’m going to start to write here again to get my thoughts out on paper and hopefully clear my head from time to time.

So here it goes…

This morning while looking out of my kitchen window over the Oswego River, I realized something important about why I live my life the way I do. Growing up in a family that never had much, though my mom made sure my brother and I had everything we needed and worked hard to do so, I realized early on the value of hard work and never wanted to struggle like my mom did to raise a family or even just live life the way I want to. I don’t need much and I certainly work hard for what I want, but my struggles aren’t the same as my mother’s were and I’m thankful for that.

My struggles, day to day, include finding time to balance all that I do: A full-time job, a part-time job, being in a band, coaching a hockey team, being on the board of a museum, writing for an Islanders hockey website, having a social life and even alone time. I work two jobs, not because I have to, but because I’d rather have a difficult time balancing the two (and everything else) than finding a way to pay my bills on time (or at all). Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand full well that money doesn’t buy happiness and I know I could stand to “live” life a bit more, but right now I’m trying my best to establish myself. Not with anything or anyone in particular, but with me. I want to feel good about where I am and despite needing to go out and do some stuff like travel and teaching myself things, I think I’m getting there.

The lesson? All struggle is not created equal.

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