CWA #2

Topic: The best advice for a teen just graduating from high school.
Purpose: I was flipping through my book today and came across this topic. I’m the oldest in my family on both sides. I received some sound advice when I graduated but a lot of it seemed to be cliché and was too little, too late. I have a cousin graduating this year and another cousin (or two) next year. This is for them.

The hat and gown suits you well. It seems to be the single outfit in human history to look great on everyone. Not only does it hide any physical abnormalities or dislikes about yourself but it, in all its plainness and flowiness, forces people to believe that you’ve accomplished something great – which you have. You graduated high school; an achievement that was 12 years or more in the making. The hat and gown you’re wearing – it makes people look at you with pride and accomplishment. It makes you, the one wearing it, feel good and special.

That same hat and gown is awfully deceiving though. It doesn’t give you a sure-ride ticket to anywhere unless you continue working beyond the blip of an achievement that you made. And I don’t say blip because high school graduation isn’t important – it’s probably one of the most important moments in your life. But it’s a blip simply because there are so many more great things you’re capable of doing going forward now that you have that checked off your outline of life. There are so many more moments and times in your future that people will look at you with pride and accomplishment – if you allow it.

If you’re lucky, your dreams for your future are clear. You have a plan and you’re going to go and get it as soon as this graduation party is over. On the contrary; you might not have a plan. You might not know what you want to do with your life. The dreaded “What are you going to do now?” has been asked a hundred times over the past six hours if not six months. “I don’t know” doesn’t seem to be acceptable even though it’s the truth.

Don’t be afraid to not know. That’s the absolute best advice I can give you. Don’t be afraid of figuring it out. It’s scary as hell but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Simple the process of a future down. Go to and graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids is still what people seem to want to hear. Even now in 2015, that’s what their ears are ready for. You’re 18, although thinking about your future is important and I wouldn’t abandon it all together, there is no use in thinking of the big picture right now. Consider each moment in your life a single picture creating a lifetime collage. All the milestone photos of your life will continuously accumulate, make them the absolute best. Be proud of what you’re going to do in your life. Follow your dreams, live your dreams.

Don’t be stupid and make detrimental mistakes. Don’t abandon those that love you; primarily your family. Appreciate the world and what it has to offer. Travel, make new friends, take photographs. Pay your bills on time and don’t be reckless. If you decide not to go to college – don’t waste those young years away. Understand the reality of real life and accept it instead of try to fight it. In doing that, you don’t need to give up your free roaming spirit or life. If you don’t see yourself in a typical 8-5 setting 10 years down the road, do something about it. You’re still going to need to make money to survive, accept it. Don’t rely on and abuse your parents financially. Save up some money and make wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join the Peace Corps, backpack around Europe, fall in love, skydive. Do everything you possibly can because you want to not because society wants you to.

From personal experience, I do think college is important. However, I would only recommend college to those that know what they want to do. To those that do have a plan. I’m still paying off my 2 years of college debt 5 years later. I didn’t get a fancy job, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, I didn’t make lifelong friends, and it didn’t help me decide what to do in my life. But that’s me, don’t let anyone else’s experience deter you from living your dream. If I could do it all over again, I would have done more research in high school, visited colleges, and actually spent time to decide what I wanted to do. I would have moved away and attended a four-year college. I would have traveled abroad my junior year. But I never did because I felt that the resources weren’t available to me and I didn’t know where to look. That’s why you have me. What are your favorite things to do? Sports? Painting? Photography? Working on cars? Photoshop?

There’s something to do in the “real world” for everyone. You can become a sports reporter, journalist, newscaster. You can own your own art gallery or become an art professor. You can be a photographer on your own or with a media group. You can become an automotive or diesel mechanic, a shop teacher. You can become a graphic or website designer. The possibilities are endless, your future is wider than your arms are even capable of spreading. Don’t waste the days after high school graduation away. Find yourself but don’t lose yourself. Dream big and follow through.

So, even though this was important for you to read, take my advice; put this down and spend time with those that love you. Throw that square hat up into the air, smile until your cheeks hurt today and everyday. Be honest, take those milestone pictures, and show everyone what life is all about. Make your collage worth looking at.

A Mini Auto-Bio.

lgoI finally updated my “About Me” section. Included is the below text. I wanted to share a brief synopsis of my life. I don’t have a sob story and my life hasn’t been full of whimsical travels or anything; but I do have one, a life that is. I have a story. And through this blog; I plan on bringing my story to life. Bring my perspective and my thoughts to the surface. I plan to find me and this is the preface:

I’ve decided to start this new blog for the year twenty fourteen. I haven’t really made up my mind on the exact purpose but I just knew that I needed a fresh start and a fresh outlook. I needed to reassess my life and the way I was perceived based on the lack of life that I put out into the world. I’m on the track to find myself through writing and through living.

I was born and raised in a dinky area near the Canadian border known to most as Roseau, Minnesota. Anyone from that area knows that you’re really not from Roseau; everything around there is pretty much known as the ‘surrounding area.’ For awhile we lived in Salol but finally settled in the country near Wannaska, enjoyed our winter sledding in nearby Malung.  Spent summers in Hockeytown, USA (Warroad) and went to school in Roseau. We were rivals with the Warriors and the Gators but knew everyone from here, there, and in between. 

Looking back, I really miss the shit out of that place. I miss the people, the friends, the freedom. I miss the happiness and the school. The teachers and the sporting events. I miss my grandparents and the restaurants. I miss the memories. I miss it all.

When I was in 9th grade, we migrated to an even smaller town (more like village) called Viking, Minnesota. The same surrounding area thing occurred here. We were a mile from “town,” school was 15 miles (or 8 minutes if you know how to drive on country roads) over in Newfolden. Most everyone who needed or wanted a job would circle over to Thief River or Karlstad which funny enough are in opposite directions. We’d go to the fair in Warren and party by Old Mill.

Reminiscing about my high school days aren’t as enjoyable as my Roseau life. I had a fine time. I made friends, got into trouble, and acquired my fair share of memories but I didn’t love it. I was and always will be the outsider, the new kid. My summers weren’t filled with friendships and no one called me or wanted to hang out with me first. I was usually a last resort. Switching schools mid-high school isn’t really something to brag about unless you plan to be an all-star athlete. Life long friendships had already formed and your lucky to squeeze yourself into a long lasting circle of confidants.

It’s the past though and it’s a period of life that I firmly believe helped form me into the person I’ve become. 

Since high school and actually during, I attended college in Thief River. Due to the uneducated staff and quality of academic standards in Marshall County Central; I really had no clue what I wanted to be when I “grew up” so I just opted for my A.A.

I sometimes bitterly wonder where I’d be in life if we had stayed in Roseau. The school was better, I excelled in all my classes, I was in a great group of friends, all of that. I don’t like to think about it often because than I instantly feel guilt. We moved because my mom had been making a long commute to and from work daily for years and it had taken a toll.

I don’t resent my parents for moving, how could I? I love them. They did what was best for our family structure. It just really blows that I have constantly had the “what-if” jingling in my ears for years.

Setting that aside, I met the love of my life the summer after high school. We’ve gone through rough patches where the pain and distress in our relationship was worse than an amusement park ride derailing. Thankfully, we’ve been one of the few couples that have fought and fought hard. There were many and I mean many times where we had no one to believe in us. Our families, in their own right, “knew” it wouldn’t last and quite frankly probably wanted it to end. Through the years we’ve lost friends and I myself pushed a lot of people away because of love.

In short, we made it. We pushed through the hurricanes, the tornados, and the tsunamis. I really am not sure where my family currently is on forgiveness and acceptance but it’s a process. There were moments that I am not proud of and there are moments that Channing wishes he could take back but the past is the past. It stays there for a reason. 

What really matters is what is deep in our hearts. We make each other laugh, we see each other through the toughest and the best of times. We care for each others lives and the people in them. We are stronger because of our past and we look forward to another 5 years 9 times over.

I want to one day be a mom of two sweet, healthy, little babies, live in the country in a beautiful home with hundreds of acres of land. I want to have two dogs and a cat. I want my children to go to a good school and be raised with love, morals, and respect. I want to dream. I want to write. And I want to travel.

That being said; those are really the key points involving the people in my life. I live for my [family] parents, brothers, and Channing. They are my world. I have many dreams and goals both personally and professionally. You’ll get a peek if you just bare with me.

Who Inspires You?

It’s hard to fathom the amount of inspiring people that this world holds. Although I don’t have a lot of people in my inner circle of life; the people I’ve met along the way are all different kinds of inspirational.

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In my journey to adulthood I’ve met people that have had cancer and survived it – multiple times. I know a chick that never let her size prevent her from having the time of her life. I went to college with a girl would one day go on to spread awareness about the victimized within the Catholic church. I know mothers and fathers with beautiful (on the inside and out) children born with disabilities and embraced it. I know LGBT men and women that have stood up to and defended themselves in the presence of bigots. I’m in love with a man that was forced to stay strong through a very painful criminal case. I know a woman that could have easily died while giving childbirth. I know a kid that dropped everything to better his life and succeeded in doing so.

There are so many people that have passed through my life, in what some cases only seemed like a two minute span, but that doesn’t make them any less inspirational. If you demonstrate any quality from strength to power to controlling your own life to never giving up than you too are an inspiration to many. There is no predetermined mold for what will define you in life and there never will be. But if you face your fears and never give up, you’ll form your own mold and path in life in whichever way you choose.

The people that have come and gone in my life continually teach me to be kind and empathetic. They teach me to reach for the unreachable and strive for the best. They show me on a regular basis that they matter and so should I. They prove the discouraging wrong and stand up to what’s right. They hold the key to the many definitions of what I strive to be.

Who inspires you?