Sunday, April 24, 2011

At 5, we search for eggs, at 22, we search for dreams

Easter has always been and always will be one of my favorite holidays. It combines the food aspect of Thanksgiving, the basket (gift aspect) of Christmas, and the childhood game of hide-and-seek. Only instead of people, we hide eggs, and instead of seeking all over the neighborhood, we seek all through out our homes. This was always my favorite part.

My brother and I would compete until there would be one or two eggs stranded in some desolate location that my mom would surely be laughing about as she hid the egg there. Despite always taking an extremely long time to find the red or blue or green colored egg, it was always my favorite egg to find---because it was the challenge.

Like Easter, I now find myself seeking on a life-time egg hunt. Only this time I'm not searching for the red and green striped egg or the polka-dotted one, I am searching for the full-time job, the man that will give me the most wonderful and loving family, and the opportunity to be on top of the world. I am searching for that TV pitch that gets accepted, that movie script that wins an Oscar, and that book agent who helps sell my novel as a number 1 best seller at Barnes and Noble.

Yes, at 5, we search for eggs, and at 22 we continue that egg-hunt, only our eggs are bigger, and withstand more cracks. Because At 5, we search for eggs, but at 22--we search for much more--much more that can't be found behind the pillow of a couch, or beneath the living room chair. Much more that can't be hidden behind the leg of a piano bench, or the head rest of a bed. Much more that can't be found in the corner of the refrigerator or stuck between love seat cushions like a remote control. No. These things can't be hidden in book shelves or cupboards of our homes, because we are no longer searching for something that we soon forget about after we find it. We now search for much, much more.

We search for dreams, and passions and opportunities that are dyed with perfection and beauty. We search for the right words and the right answers that are dyed with consonants and vowels. We search for a home, a business, a family, a life--all dyed with hard-work and faith. We search for money, once-in-a-lifetime chances--all dyed with longing and hope.
Above all, we search for happiness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sometimes we lose an artist so he can draw a better world...

“There was no one out there who didn’t want to be Breht Boone’s friend. // A world-class conversationalist // Genuine .”

The Knicks are struggling in what could be their final game of the season. The Celtics are pounding, and the scoreboard reads four eights across the board: 88-88. The bar is rowdy and alive. The waitresses are hustling and the bartender is sliding shots down the line. The world is still moving, but a table of four that will soon grow to a table of 5,6, and eventually 15-20 is at a standstill.

I look across the table to one of the best friends that I have made here in this big endless city that sometimes echoes loneliness even when a bar is filled to capacity. His eyes try to swallow his tears, but they are unable.

“I just don’t know when I’ll break down again,” he says to us. One of his best guy friends reaches for his hands, and we nod in agreement. A night like this isn’t supposed to be easy—like the Knicks losing in the final seconds—this family feels the struggle of a tough battle—one that saw the loss of not a championship trophy, but a champion—a person who smiled beautifully, drew poetically, and lived genuinely. A person who would one day build a gallery of art to auction off. A person who allowed each person whose life he became a part of to be the highest bidder and have the opportunity to be a part of his.

I didn’t know Breht Boone that well. Before I met him, I knew of his epic alliterative name and of his art, of his kindness and his sincerity--and I before I met him, above all, I knew that I wanted to be his friend. Before ever speaking a word to him, shaking his hand, or giving a head nod hello, I knew that I wanted to one day have him be part of my life. The family of friends that I had been invited into last year had spoken so highly of him that I often declared to some of them, “Damnet, when do I get to meet Breht Boone?“

And then one day I did. And every word I had heard about the man, the artist, the cheerful soul, was undoubtedly true. It wasn’t before long that Breht and I were having a conversation with two, three, and then four other people about movies we hated, movies that were awesome, and movies that we couldn’t agree on. It wasn’t before long that I could see why each and every person I had met before Breht, had such kind and enduring words to say about him, his personality, and his talent.

Now, sitting in a bar with his New York City family, I can see their pain, their hurt, and their disengagement with any world that exists outside the one they are living in. Time has stopped. And even if the trains are moving, the streets are humming, and the lights in Times Square are glowing, this family doesn’t know that. They know what they are feeling and whom they are feeling it with. My friend is no longer trying to swallow his tears, his face is red, his hair is ruffled, and his body seems tired. Several others join him. From across the bar, I see others laughing over memories they have over the charismatic comic book fan, the man I was often told to be the last man standing at parties, the man they all loved and believed in. I see my good friends, remembering their great friend…their brother…their reminder that great people do exist in this world—people who are probably too good for this world anyway.

On the night that I met Breht, he reached to grab his phone and show me examples of his drawings. He told me how he was planning an art show, how excited he was for it, and how everything was coming together. It may not be the art show we all expected, but I am pretty sure he’s going to draw us a pretty beautiful and amazing gallery of a better world from up above.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paying Tribute to Best Friend Appreciation Day

I'm not sure that Best Friend Appreciation Day actually exists, and it would only take a moment to Google it, but I declare today, April 17, to be my Best Friend Appreciation Day--the day I take the moment to recognize how a stranger--or a group of strangers became an acquaintance or a group of acquaintances--and then became a friend or a group of friends--and then my wonderful, beautiful best friend---or again--group of best friends--never to be traded, never to be altered, never to be lost.

Sometimes, as you watch someone walk away, all you can do is smile, knowing that a piece of your life has been made better by one simple second with that person, or by one simple conversation, or by one simple moment where you took the time--and that person took the time to say "Hey, let's take one time to just sit down, talk, discover, and learn from each other." Sometimes your life is simply made better by a friend that you never -- ever imagined having come into your life--that you never could have predicted would step into your world -- that you never would have guessed would go from someone you once said hello to in passing to someone you hoped you'd never have to say goodbye to.

The last time I said goodbye to my best friends, I was boarding an airplane to another country, just a few short days--and/or hours later. Their smiles were for the happiness that awaited me on the landing pad of my near future destination. Their goodbyes were filled with "You will have such a great time, you will be so happy--you will see so much." It reminds me of how we should always say goodbye to someone we love--or--see you later to someone who has entered our life for a short period of time--or long period of time, with a smile on our face even if we are sad in our hearts, because the truth is that person will be leaving for a new journey, a new future, a new world, with a smile on their face and hope in their heart.

I am so lucky to have had the best friends in the entire world to know how to say goodbye the right way, to know how to love people and their decisions, to know how to understand different worlds are for different people, to know that saying goodbye to people is seriously just "Be happy, and enjoy it...we'll still be here--forever, and always." The best friends that you make always will be the best teachers that you have.

My best friends have taught me a lot of things like how to:

Enjoy the moment--See the world--Follow my dreams--Live passionately--Understand others--Find happiness--Be independent--Live on the edge--Follow through with promises--Listen well--Speak well--Take time to relax--Take time to have fun--Make the best out of a bad situation--and how to Love.

When I was a freshman in college, I sent my best friends hand made Valentine's Day cards that stated what a best friend was--to me. Before I left for Italy, just under six months ago, one of my best friends sent that back to me. She wouldn't know it, maybe not 'til now at least, but it meant the world. In Moulin Rouge, they state that the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. I have come to a firm standing that one of the other most greatest things in the world to learn--and discover, is how to be a best friend--and how to have a best friend--how to love that best friend--and how to be loved by that best friend. One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is knowing that the people you care most about--also care most about you. And those people won't ever change, even if miles change, even if locations change, even if lifestyles change.

My childhood best friend, and I still speak, still laugh, and still love each other. I will never stop loving her the way I loved her when we had our sleepovers, built forts in the woods, or made up really bad dances to the Spice Girls or 'N Sync. If she was the best at one time--she will always be one of the best to me, now and in the future--no matter the circumstance.

A lot of people may say you can only have one best friend. I don't think that's true. Many people are lucky to come across a handful of people that they can call a friend. I consider myself lucky to have come across what I consider to be handfulS (note the S) of best friends--people that I will always go to, that I will always trust, that I will always LOVE.

These are the people that I will always have an appreciation for--every day--even if there's never a day declared for it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A little voice inside my head said: Don't look back--You can NEVER look back

image copyright: Creative Commons

I refuse to sit backwards on a train unless I absolutely have to. I have always said that this would be the perfect character detail---the perfect architecture for the personality construction of someone who is stuck in the past—who can’t see tomorrow or even the present. All that is on his or her mind is yesterday, or the day before that—the mistakes made that are long past, the regrets, the moments that have already gone by.

I like to think of myself as someone who will always sit looking forward on a train, because I am always thinking of the next step, the next place, and the next goal I can set for myself—another deadline—another dream.

So when I look back, I try to make it on very prime moments in my life—very proud moments.

A lot of people might say their proudest moment was the day that he or she got accepted in to college—or the day they graduated college. Someone might say that it was the moment they hit their first homerun on the baseball field, or drew their first accepted museum piece. Another person might say it was in making their loved ones smile. But when I do look back, and see these things—these achievements, none of them are the ones I want to say are my proudest moments. Even being given the opportunity and being asked to play for a division one field hockey team doesn’t rank on the top of my list, despite the hard work and effort – and money for camps and equipment – that contributed to that achievement.

No. My proudest moment was nearly two years ago, when I finished the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, after four months of intense training. It was the moment that I fell to the feet of one of my high school teachers and said “I did it.” It was in the moment that I thought I couldn’t take anymore pain—that I would have to cut off my legs—that I would never walk anymore. It was in the moment that I accomplished something I had once said I would never even attempt. It was in the moment that I came back from my runner’s high and realized what I had just done. It was in that moment, that my heart pounded heavily, and that I truly felt on top of the world. It was in that moment, that I found the most pride in my life.

It’s hard to believe that was two years ago. It’s hard to believe that a moment in two years hasn’t topped that. So as I look back and smile over a proud moment—over a moment of ecstasy, I turn myself around on the train, and I begin to look forward again, I remind myself to set new unrealistic goals—new unrealistic dreams—and make them real…make them something I never would have believed I could do—make them my next proudest moment.

What’s your proudest moment? What’s your next proudest moment?