I left on much needed spring vacation in the start of May, and while we were away I asked my girlfriend to be my wife. If you didn't hear about it, fear not, I kept it in very deep confidentiality, for many reasons, and I don't regret that move one bit. I've always been a private person (my parents hated that in me) and still, as I always have, I try to protect certain things with the secrecy of a 007 plot! As a result my proposal plan worked nearly flawlessly… It was beautiful, it was emotional but above all else it was our moment, yeah only ours to stand together and choose a common path for life that we will decide on together.
As we were shuffling through the line in the airport on our trip home, we laughingly looked at each other and said "Whoa… this time it's us" as if to say that up to that point we were watching the "movie of life" where it was only our friends and family that got engaged and married, but now it was now us in the lead roles, and we were a little bit shocked to be living in that moment.
Days later I sat on the couch in a very introspective mindset and began thinking about how well it had gone, and how happy we both were, but I also took the journey back through twisted labyrinth of years and decisions that brought me to this place; the one in life where a choice like this would for me be at all a possibility. I sat amazed at the ground that I have covered, the crazy amount of time that has passed, the things of the past that seemed so important and devastating once that now seem so trivial, and how so many the times of my life that seem so recent really happened decades ago.
I thought about my first grade crush Brook Mercer (the little red haired girl) and my first kiss Karen Rufner (in the back of a school bus); I remembered my first real love (and first heartbreak) Margaret Carroll and eventually I thought of most of the rest of my bigger mistakes… but this time remembering them didn't haunt me. Right there, on my couch, I came to that amazing moment where I had arrived at the realization that I wasn't sad or angry at any of the women of my past any longer… I was in fact happy that they had chosen something other than our relationship as their priority and had moved on. I was happy mainly because they gave me a gift in the process: they forced me to move on too, and for that I am grateful.
Let's understand something: I am "older" by definition to be getting married (for the first time anyhow) and many people were surprised to hear not only that I had made this commitment, but also that I was willing to do it at all! I have for years been accused (falsely) of being afraid of commitment, not true, what I was afraid of was committing to someone who didn't deserve me doing so. I love Erika and I know that she is, in fact, the woman that God intended me to meet and share this earth with. She is perfect for me and I hope to drive her up the wall of a very, very long time. :)
The years have been kind to lead me here to her and I thank God for that, and I have seen enough to know many things but I still can't say with any confidence that "I know what I want"… what I do know from the lessons of the past is: "I know full well what I don't want", and I have found my soul mate as a result!
When I got back to the office his morning I saw an envelope with my name scribbled in the boss’s nearly illegible handwriting. I had no reason to panic; the boss has left me many things in envelopes throughout the years: circus tickets, Christmas cards, errant fan mail, money… (Ok, that last one is a lie) today it was an anniversary card.
You know, I’m usually very good at remembering dates like birthdays, and holidays, and anniversaries, but for some reason the yearly celebration that marks my hiring here at Entercom, always seems to always slip my mind. Maybe it’s because I won’t be angry with myself if I forget it, maybe because it’s no big deal at all, or maybe because I don’t look at the calendar and constantly tick off the seconds till I can retire like so many other jobs I’ve had in my past.
Unlike most people on this planet, I love my job. I do, I love it, and I admit that I even enjoy the crazy hours, weird co-workers, unusual assignments, endless frustration, amazing fans, great music, scary bathrooms, hectic workload, unexpected perks, etc. etc. etc… I love it all of it. I have met and made friends and connections more now than ever in my life thanks to his job and the people I have shared these days with, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I never look at the time I spend at work as work, and I made a promise to the man that originally put me on this payroll that if it ever stopped being fun, there would be no need to dispatch me, I’d quit if that day ever came; fortunately for me it has not, and God willing it won’t.
When I first applied for a job here I had just moved back from trying to work in the acting business in NYC, I had a very sick mother who needed me, I worked at a job I hated, I made no money at all, and I kicked myself daily because I believed I was stuck there in my mediocrity… not true. In the midst of all that self-pity and depression I got some great advice from a very odd man named Bob that was teaching us marketing. He said: “The life you have today, you have chosen to live. You are right where you are, right now, because you have chosen to be there.”
It hit me like a hammer. I was mad, mainly because he was right. It wasn’t the boss that put me here, it wasn’t my friends that made more money than I did that were preventing me from making a better living, it wasn’t the teachers or coaches or counselors in my life that had directed me to an unhappy life… it was my fault, period! In that very moment that those words hit my ears I began taking the steps to find the life I really wanted, that week I resigned… two years later I was hired here.
These days, I always try to look back on the past year and consider the changes that have happened in my life, and in the work that I do, when the calendar flips to April 14th (my anniversary date was 4-14-04) and it always surprises me at how much ground I cover and yet how much more I feel there is to go.
With that said, let me impart some sage words of wisdom: If you hate your job, it’s your fault, so fix it!
-No one on earth was put here to be miserable and God wants you to be happy, so be happy. Begin today to find your calling, no matter what anyone may say about how crazy they may think you are for chasing that path. Life rewards action not fear, and ultimately the people you leave behind will dislike you out of their jealousy of your action, because they are frozen in their irrational dis-belief in themselves.
According a survey by Visa, it'll cost kids $1,139 to go to the prom this year. That's a 5% increase over last year . . . which means that prom costs are rising faster than inflation.
Families who make less money will spend about $100 MORE than richer families . . . and single parents will spend almost TWICE as much as married parents.
Is this true? Are proms actually costing parents over eleven hundred dollars?
I am quite sure that tux rental and floral cost never reached $200.00 in my day (said the 47 year old)... But, even adjusting for inflation, is it possible that I could shell out almost 6 times as much today, or do boys costs for prom necessities not factor into this survey?!
I read an awesome article on line about the purpose of relationships, and how important it is to understand that you do not need someone to complete you, but to share in your completion… and how we all have luggage and simply need someone to help carry and unpack it with us instead of being ashamed of it.
I drifted off (for more time than I care to confess to) thinking about my greatest relationship mistakes in my life, how they changed my view of the world and ultimately changed the course I took to get to where I am now. I also thought of a newly made friend that is married to a man that may be the biggest mistake I’ve ever seen a woman make, and yet she stays. I have always subscribed to the adage that states “there ain’t no point in moving on till you’ve got somewhere to go” and it’s always worked for me with one bold and awful exception: interpersonal relationships.
People frequently complain about how much it stinks to be alone, but it’s substantially worse to be with the wrong person than it is to be alone! Being in a situation that drains you of your strength of self is the equivalent of voluntarily staying in pain or poverty or in direct danger, when a clear road to health, riches or safety is easily available. In other words it’s foolish to try to “make it work” if doing so requires a substantial amount of conscious effort.
Yep, I’ve done it, and maybe you’ve done it, but that doesn’t make it right, it just makes it a commonality that we share; one we should have learned from, and one that needs not be repeated again.
What others say and do is often based entirely on their own self-reflection… they may believe that they are internally very ugly and don’t deserve being treated well. Remember that when you are insulted by someone you love, because ultimately they don’t deserve your love; if they treat you like crap they don’t deserve good things at all, and you should no longer reward their abuse with the gift of your acceptance.
Look at your life right now, and people in it, the very ones you spend the bulk of your time and emotional effort, and perhaps money on, and ask if they are worth those gifts! If the answer is anything but absolute YES, leave that relationship immediately! I know it seems an extremely quick and rash decision, but settling should never be an option, and the time God has given you is moving forward and you should be too. Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that you start searching for the perfect person, but instead look for the person who brings out the best in you. Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, and let go of those who don’t.
I am very happy these days, mainly because of the awesome woman I’ve got in my life, but also because of the lessons I have learned from making a lot of mistakes. If I could tell you the biggest lesson I’ve earned it’s this: people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
As I continue the clean out of my old room, in my parents’ house, I am unearthing some of the coolest reminders of my high school years… one of them a drawing I did in an “in-school detention” that I got for throwing an orange at Patty Ratchford’s face (note to students: teachers don’t appreciate the coolness of food throwing as much as you do).
I had never been in that much trouble prior to that day, and I never had been suspended. I had often imagined getting a day off from school for a small rule bending incident, but an in-school detention was a pure form of torture that had you: having to go to school, but isolated from the entire population for a whole day, YUK!
I was banished to a small room adjacent to the principal’s office in the front of the building, and not far from the office that I had to report to the day I got caught tossing the orange. I was ordered to sit in the one desk (only one could fit in this broom closet sized room) where it was easily pushing 95 degrees. I was given a series of school assignments to complete and was told someone would be in to get me for lunch and a break… eventually. IT SUCKED. But from all badness come a good result to some degree, and this yielded my best artwork ever.
Let’s face it, when all you have is time to think you can be pretty creative, I fact down right miraculous as the picture here will illustrate. Maybe I’m bragging up this artistic wonder work a little too much but look at the dedication, the attention to detail, the near lifelike movement in the shading and… I’m losing you here aren’t I?
The lessons I learned during that penance were more than what the teacher that sent me to a well-earned punishment thought he was going to instill, like:
1. I don’t like confinement at all (for a whole day or even less),
2. I work a lot faster than most (so the assignments I was given to do were done about ninety minutes into a 6 hour day),
3. I get bored very easily (that’s kind of what put me there in the first place),
4. Apparently I’m an artist,
and 5. I do some of my best work in “lock down”… see illustration.
I never really took the time to ask myself if I were “living right”, but as of late it has been a looming storm cloud that I can’t help but pay closer attention to.
The questions that go with living right are the killers: Do you drink too much? Should you lose some weight? Are you taking full advantage of the time you have? Basically: are you really enjoying your life? Good question... and I now ask you to be honest, and answer it too.
In a recent newspaper article, the facts seem to say, we’re not: (Scranton Times-Tribune 3-21-13) We're overweight. We don't exercise enough. We smoke and drink in excess. Those factors help to explain why Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming and Susquehanna counties all rank in the bottom of a new report on the healthiest - and the least healthy - counties in Pennsylvania. Health-care providers interviewed categorized Northeast Pennsylvania as a "hard-living region." "Yes, we do work hard, but we also drink hard, smoke hard and we don't exercise well, It is something that culturally has been an issue here for years.”
I for one, am scared to hear this, and frankly was shocked and awed by the findings. Sure it’s funny to talk about how “nuts” we are, about how we drink hard, about how we live like “wildcats” and spend our nights partying like there’s no tomorrow… but there is a tomorrow coming, and I’d like to see it. I’d also like to be healthy when the world spins around the next several hundred times… and I also feel like I owe it to the people I share it with, not mention to myself.
We are better than this NEPA, even if the choices of our forefathers may not have been so logical.
So, take a moment to decide where you want to be in the next ten years…
if its jail, rehab or a cemetary, we’re moving in the right direction…
but if it’s happy, sober and healthy, it may be time to take a long look in the mirror…
the future of us may lie in what you see there.
In an effort to make the world a better place to live, every so often I feel inclined to rant about the way that things should be (but usually aren’t)… today I will try to make convenience stores a little MORE convenient. Here are a small and brief set of Etiquette Rules we should all be following. Please read and pass along as a public service to the other residents of Earth.
#1.) Know How to Use the Credit Card Machine. You SHOULD be able to do it without messing it up twice and taking five minutes.
#2.) Don't Scratch Off Your Lottery Tickets Right Next to the Register. The worst is when someone buys a ticket then scratches it off while they're still standing in line.
#3.) Don't Trash the Soda Fountain Area. If you spill something at HOME, you clean it up, do the same here.
#4.) Don't Take Forever in the Bathroom. If you're using the bathroom at a convenience store . . . it's probably for something SERIOUS. But remember, that's probably the case for MOST people who need to use it. So don't just sit in there playing games on your cell phone. Do what you need to do, and be done with it.
And finally, my special favorite convenient store peeve:
#5.) If It's a Gas Station, Don't Park at the Pump. This one's obvious, but a lot of people don't think about it. After you fill up at a gas station when it's busy, move your car to a parking space before you go inside, so someone ELSE can fill up.
Why is this even a question we have to discuss? How insanely self-centered are you if you do this? Do you park at the 30 foot point of your 60 foot driveway? NO, because no one could use the space and it would be inconvenient for them, and you!
So please be courteous to those of us that breath the same convenient store air that you do… it always smells sweeter that way.
Ahhh, the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade, some love it, some despise it, but it is undeniably a huge celebration in NEPA! Some would call it an Irish holiday, some call it an excuse for an annual drinking binge, and others say it’s a NEPA tradition… I call it a day to really be proud of being a person who lives in northeast Pennsylvania. Honestly.
For the record: I am not Irish, I am not a “Friendly Son Of St. Patrick”, and I no longer live in the Electric City of Scranton (I had an apartment In Tripp Park in my post college years)… but I do really look forward to the parade day that happens on the Saturday prior to the official St Pat’s day, as much as most of the folks that live there, because of the metamorphosis that takes place in the city as a result of it happening.
Yes, there are quiet bars that transform into frat house basements loaded with beer soaked floors and wall to wall people that barely know if the sun is out or not, yes there is way too many people in a town that cannot handle another fifty-plus-thousand- people in it, yes there are unruly drunken fights (but not many, considering) … but I see The Electric City made better for parade day, always.
Why, you may ask… because people are nicer. Yes, I see a better NEPA on parade day. Look closely and you’ll see it too! I see a ton of people who are perfect strangers shaking hands, raising toasts (to nothing really at all), high fiving just because, hugging strangers, and trying very hard to enjoy a happy feeling of “community” as opposed to the depressed, dark and dismal chaos we live with for the other 364 days of our NEPA lives.
OK, maybe they (and I) have a little “liquid encouragement”, but whatever the excuse, you can’t deny the positive outcome of a great day of coming together for a common cause, even if (like me) you have nothing in common with the theme of it all what so ever!
I have never left a St. Pats parade day in Scranton without having met a new friend, usually completely by accident, NEVER, and I hope that this year is the same. So, Erin Go Bragh… whatever that means, and enjoys the place you live more than you will most of the rest of the remaining year ahead… Parade day is a happy day to be proud of, where we will be a unified group of happy loony’s, and we will (very strangely) stand as one.