New Year's Contemplation HOLIDAY PACKAGE WEEK 12/30 NEW YEARS

New Year's Contemplation HOLIDAY PACKAGE WEEK 12/30 NEW YEARS

No resolutions for me just a different attitude.

This New Year's Eve will be the first time ever that I will not be in my hometown of Erie celebrating. As a traditionalist, I rarely branch out from my normal routines. Every other year I would spend New Year's with my family and we would watch New Year's Rockin Eve and have a fancy dinner. This was always pleasant and enjoyable, and it will be memories I will always cherish. It was the one night a year we ate whatever we wanted, and had course after course of food. We toasted the New Year with sparkling grape juice, and that was that.

Instead of this routine, I will be celebrating in Nashville, Tennessee. This city, much bigger than my hometown, will be new to me. I will for the first time see what it is like to celebrate New Year's outside of my own town, and experience a new adventure. I think that beginning the year in this way will be a positive kickstart to a more adventurous outlook on life. I want to take 2017 in stride, and be more willing to try new things.

I say this as I realize that I will complete my undergraduate years of college at Allegheny in the winter of 2017, and be thrust into the real world and go to graduate school in 2018. So, I know that in a way 2017 will be my last year of true freedom before stepping into adulthood. Not to say that I'm completely free now. I have a million obligations and responsibilities, but I am still a younger adult undergrad. This is why I must make the most of the upcoming New Year.

Though I don't often believe in resolutions as I feel they can be made at any point during the year and are often broken, I want to go into 2017 with a different outlook. I place so much emphasis on striving for achievement and this has gotten me far, but it has come at the cost of losing chances to relax and not be stressed. My trip to Nashville will be fairly brief but I hope that the time I spend there will be the beginning of my quest to let go, and be open to experiences.

Perhaps this is asking too much from a trip, but I am excited as I prepare in the days leading up to it, and am ready to enjoy myself. I will go into this trip with less expectations and more ease to just enjoy my time there, and this will hopefully continue long after the ball drops on New Year's. I realize that I cannot change completely, in fact, I don't want to, I like routine and tradition regardless of my 2017 wishes, but maybe I will place less emphasis on this and more emphasis on enjoying myself in the surroundings I live in. Cheers to the New Year!

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?


Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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