To My Gig Harbor High School Class Of 2013, Four Years Later

To My Gig Harbor High School Class Of 2013, Four Years Later

Four years later I’m still saying that I wish you only the best.

It’s crazy to think it’s been exactly four years since all 400 of us were in the same room united as one. When we left we were all headed our separate ways to move either across town, across the state, across the country, or across the world. We were all closing a chapter of comfort and entering a new world filled with unfamiliar faces, new buildings, and a new lifestyle, leaving behind family and some close friends. Some of us went to schools where it was one big high school reunion all over again. Others went to places where no one had even heard of our hometown. In one way or another, we all found success that reached our own individual standards. So to my graduating class, here is what I have to say.

Success does not have a set definition.

When we left high school many of us dreamed that we’d be winning a Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prize two years into high school. When we realized that wasn’t the case some of us dropped out of school and realized that wasn’t for us. Or immediately switched careers in hopes of finding a higher amount of happiness doing something else. That’s okay. It took practice and trial and error to realize what we wanted to do and what would lead us to that platform of success. Some of us were late bloomers and realized now that we want to get an education, or change up our lifestyles and achieve new goals. Success is a measurement that we can make up all on our own, and in the world, we live in we have a lot of options to fulfill our wants and needs.

Home will always be waiting.

For some of us, we have been too afraid to leave in fear of leaving what we are comfortable with. Home is wherever you make it out to be. So screw Thomas Wolfe when he said, “You can’t go home again.” That’s not true at all. Home will always be where you last left it, ready to pick back up when you are. But like Seuss once said, “Your mountain is calling so get on your way,” the world is waiting for you to discover and explore it. You’ll have nothing else to lose other than the experience, and the ability to say that at least you tried.

We’re really not as old as you think.

Sure we may joke that 22 is old age but really think about it. We’re not even halfway to the average life expectancy. So stop making excuses. It is never too late to start something new. To pick up a new hobby, study a new subject, and do whatever it is you desire to do. Some people may not find their “thing” until they’re in their 70’s. But don’t be that person.

Stop trying to rush things.

We’ve come to the point where we see a new engagement/pregnancy/wedding announcement at least once a week. It’s great to see pure happiness in old friends and classmates, but don’t feel the need to rush things for yourself. The time will come when we’re all individually ready. Didn’t your mother ever talk to you about late bloomers?

Don’t Settle.

You don’t need to settle for the first company that hires you and talks to you about starting your first 401k. Just because you get a “dream job” doesn’t mean that it’s your “dream job.” Going back to success being an individual’s measurement, you should never settle for anything until you are 100% satisfied with the results and outcome.

I’m proud to have graduated with remarkable people like yourselves.

There is no other school and not another group of people I would have loved to graduate with. High School in one way or another was a fun time that I will always remember positively with. Through the use of social media and the tools, we have today it has been a pleasure to keep tabs on everyone and see what has happened and how much has changed within these past four years. As just a preview of the lifetime we have ahead, I can confidently say I am excited for where we will all end up 10 years from now.

So at our 10-year reunion, it will be interesting to see where we all end up. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize, who has the most children, who even has the most career changes. Whatever it is that we all do remember that this world is yours and it’s whatever you make of it. It was a pleasure to graduate with you all, and it’s an even pleasure to continue to watch our class grow into this crazy thing we call adult hood. So four years later I’m still saying that I wish you only the best. The highest amount of success that makes you happy, and the most amount of happiness that you need in this lifetime.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.


In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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