Young Blood Brings Old Rivalry to Life

Oftentimes, it is said you don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone. Well, in the case of the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry the past couple years, it’s hard not to appreciate if you’re a fan of either team.

The games between the two are second to none in baseball. The crowd cheers a little louder. A strikeout in the first inning that may seem meaningless in other games could send the crowd into a frenzy. Spectacular catches, big hits and home runs are almost expected, yet no less exciting. As much as chants such as “Yankees suck” and “Boston sucks” are uttered, deep down the crowds know the other team is actually very good.

Though it had been relatively dormant since the days of the 2004 ALCS, the competition between the two has been revitalized with young talent on both sides. Names like Betts, Benintendi, and Devers for the Sox and Judge, Severino, and Sanchez for the Yankees have replaced the likes of Big Papi and Manny, Arod and Jeter.

While baseball may not be as popular as it used to be, that doesn’t make the division races of this year and last year any less fascinating to the avid fans of both sides. To give an idea of just how special the two teams are this year, here are some quick facts:

  • Both teams have had 17-1 stretches at some point this year, something no other team in the MLB has done thus far and something both teams hadn’t done in the same year until now.
  • The teams are numbers 1 (Red Sox) and 3 (Yankees) in the league in runs scored, numbers 2 (Red Sox) and 3 (Yankees) in run differential, and numbers 1 (Red Sox) and 2 (Yankees) in winning percentage. The list could go on in regards to those league wide stats.
  • Since May 1, the Red Sox and Yankees have been separated by 2.5 games or less (the Red Sox are currently 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees but only one loss separates the two).
  • The Red Sox were the first team to get to 25 wins this year, with the Yankees right behind them two days later (May 6 and May 8 respectively). The last time the two were the first to 25 wins was 1994.
  • The season series, currently 5-4 Yankees, is as close as it can get.
  • They are doing all this with first year managers

As you can see, there are some pretty compelling stats between the two teams. An avid baseball fan or not, it is easy to see just how good both teams are with even just a cursory look at any stats.

With the Sox having won the division in both 2016 and 2017, they have proven they are a real threat to the Yankees if they want to get to and win the World Series. It is fun to know that they are keeping an eye out for what the other is doing each night or day as they play their own games (unless it is one of the 19 times they play each other).

There is almost an assumption by both that the other is going to go out there and win, so the levels of play by both teams are elevated. As I watched the Red Sox last night, I heard Sox player Brock Holt explain how if the teams were in another division, they most likely would have it wrapped up by now. That is not the case, however, with them both being in the same division playing at a level only the Houston Astros are matching.

All stats and numbers aside, both teams are very fun to watch. Yes, I do admit I enjoy watching the Yankees play. Players like Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorious are likeable guys, not only because of how they look like they are just out there having fun on the field, but because they do things like comedy skits surprising fans around the city. Having been to both ballparks numerous times (Fenway much more, of course), the atmospheres of both have special feels to them. For the first time in a long time, both fanbases are legitimately excited about their teams knowing they have a real shot at winning it all.

With the All Star break, the unofficial halfway mark of the MLB season, around the corner, the Red Sox and Yankees sit 2 and 3 with 16 and 14 percent chances respectively to win the World Series according to Five Thirty Eight. The only team with a better chance is the defending champion Houston Astros.

While some Red Sox fans may feel differently, I have to admit I am in some ways glad the Yankees have as good a team as they do. It certainly has piqued my interest more than  recent years and brought back memories of old. With the two teams playing 3 games at Fenway to end the year, it really could come down to the wire, and there is a real possibility the two could meet in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Even the most nervous of nervous nelly fans wouldn’t have a problem with that.

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Life: A Balancing Act

Sitting here at the Boston Public Library, it’s been a month and a half since my last blog post. Having been without a laptop, it hasn’t been as easy to write. However, since I just got a library card, I may be updating it more frequently.

I could make a recap of living in Boston for the past month and a half, but I’ve decided not to do that. Well, in some ways, I am. I wanted to go back to the idea of balance I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

What is balance? Yes, we know the dictionary definition (or definitions) of it . There is balancing on a tightrope, something hanging in the balance, or a bank balance, to name a few. The balance I’m talking about, however, is having balance in (hopefully) every aspect of life.

Having balance in life in every aspect is a near impossible task. Well, perfect balance is. A friend and I were talking about the very topic of balance a couple of weeks ago after I made the post. He estimated that being aware you need balance in life is only around 35 percent of the battle. The rest is actually taking steps towards balance or having that balance.

Lately, I’ve found how important balance is while living in a city like Boston, especially in the financial sense. I’m someone who loves to go to sporting events, concerts, you name it. As much as it can be a good thing to go to those events, I would price myself right out of the city if I took advantage of its offerings too much. I still have yet to go to a single Bruins game due to the expensive tickets. It’s a blessing and a curse they’re playing so well.

Another area of balance I am conscious of is the balance between working and having time to relax. Since I am only scheduled for 32 hours, I would like to pick up at least 1 or more shifts a week. There is, however, a point of going overboard. I don’t feel I have yet, but I have to keep it in mind.

When it comes to groceries and food, another juggling act takes place. Making sure my stomach and wallet work in harmony is not an easy task. What I mean by that is spending enough so I don’t go hungry, but not going overboard to the point of spending more than I should. Again, the idea of taking advantage of the culinary offerings of the city, while at the same time not living beyond my means, comes into play.

With the balance of my hour of time on the computer winding down, I am afraid this post must come to a close. I need to  find a balance going forward between handling work and other responsibilities and making time for this blog since it is something I love to do. Until next time. I wish all who read this a semblance of balance on this day and all days forward.

 Write Your Own Story

Last night, when Tom Brady was being interviewed after winning yet another AFC Championship game, he said something that struck me. When asked about how he did it, Tom talked about how Belichick preached this specific team writing their own story. He knows each team is different and said this individual team had to find a way to get it done.

Now, Brady could have talked about how great he is or how many championships they’ve won. Yet, he stayed in the moment and talked about how the sole focus was on this game and this team. In the movie “Creed”, Sylvester Stallone tells Apollo Creed’s son while training him to take it “one step, one punch, one round at a time.” It seems like all the greats are able to do that. Focusing on the present challenge rather than thinking of how much they have accomplished is the best way to do it.

Recently, I wrote a post about the joys of running and how it mirrored life. In an ironic twist, I was sidelined for around a month right after that with a foot injury. I thought was a stress fracture, but after doctor visits and testing, I found out it wasn’t. The problem, I learned, was a lack of stretching and foam rolling, especially after the runs.

I have recently gone on a couple very short and slow run/walks. After the first one last week, I felt like Rocky celebrating at the top of the steps. It may seem silly, as the run was neither long nor fast, but I felt like I had accomplished something great. I enjoyed the act of running greatly by simply focusing on that run and not trying to do too much. I stayed in the moment and was happy to be running at all after taking time off.

The process of going to the doctor and getting x-rays and bone scans, coupled with not running, seemed like forever. However, I stuck with it and the foot pain has now gotten better. I have realized as you get older, you have to be more careful with stretching before and after running. When I was younger, I would take it for granted and not always stretch after or warm up too much. I didn’t have any issues really. Now, when I had the foot issue, it made me think twice and I have treated things a little differently.

Bill Belichick seemed happier than ever celebrating the Patriots’ win last night. A usually stoic figure who shows little to no emotion even in the happiest of times for the team, Belichick was seen hugging coaches, smiling, clapping wildly, and raising his fists in the air. A truly rare sight.

He was genuinely happy in the moment for this team and the way they played, mounting a 4th quarter comeback by rallying together on both sides of the ball. As Brady said, he preached writing their own story. It wasn’t about “let’s get this win so we can have a chance to get a 6th Super Bowl victory.” The real message was about staying in just that game and playing the best they could. The true happiness came from enjoying just that moment and how the team was able to come together to write their own story.

For me, while running, it shouldn’t be about thinking how I ran a certain amount of miles in the past or ran this or that time. It’s easy to get caught up in that, but it really is about writing the story for that specific run. Whether it is one mile or 16 miles, whether I run fast or slow, the message is the same. That way, you can truly enjoy every run. Every run has its own story and challenge. The weather may not be great one day. You may feel more tired one day than you did yesterday. Yet, writing the story for that one run is all you can do.

This message doesn’t have to just apply to running. It’s one anyone can learn from and apply to their daily life. Don’t think about what has happened in the past and compare and don’t think about what may happen in the future. Simply write the best story you can for today and you’re unlikely to go wrong.

Just be Willing

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the term willingness and its importance in life. I didn’t really have a topic for this blog today for a while, but then decided I just had to be willing to sit down and write. This topic of willingness popped into my head not too long thereafter.

I’ve been watching a podcast called Hashtag Positivity where they do a word association game each episode, saying what a certain word means to them in their own words, not the dictionary definition. So, to me, willingness is a catalyst. A catalyst for getting a job. A catalyst for making positive changes in your life; whatever you want to think of it as a catalyst for.

Lately, I have found myself more willing to take positive steps in my life. I have been more willing to reach out to people if I am experiencing difficulties. I have been more willing to take steps to correct issues, such as calling the doctor recently to set up an appointment regarding a possible stress fracture in my foot. That, in turn, forces me to be more willing to try other forms of exercise such as swimming or going back to my rowing days and erging (using the rowing machine).

Without willingness, nothing would really be accomplished. It may seem simple, but if you aren’t willing to take the first step towards something, you aren’t really going to get very far. Going back to running (which I unfortunately probably won’t be able to do for a number of weeks now), each run starts with an attitude of willingness to take that first step and get out the door, whether you feel like it or not.

You’d be surprised at how well things can go. I have had some of the best runs or experiences when I didn’t think they would go well, yet I was still willing to try. For a long time, I wasn’t willing to start this blog. Almost a year after the first post, it’s been viewed over 1,000 times total and been read in 27 different countries.

Now, those numbers are not going to set any records, but it is still satisfying to remember how back before I started writing, I thought I wouldn’t come up with anything interesting enough, or nobody would read it, or that I would stop soon after starting.

If I wasn’t willing to push through that self-doubt and fear, I wouldn’t be coming up on one year of the blog and wouldn’t have been able to see how great and therapeutic writing can be. I am glad I’ve been able to find a place where I can be pretty open and honest about my feelings and what I go through. It’s also great to have the freedom to write about lighter topics, such as going to the Red Sox or concerts.

The first time I went to New York City by myself, I had some self-doubt and fear as well. That day, I went to the Yankees game by day and saw Halsey by night. I remember being nervous about navigating the city by myself. It turned out to be a great day, one I look back on fondly still. NYC became, as I referenced earlier, somewhat of a home away from home; a place where I would go to get away and experience an exciting, bustling place. One that is much different from good old East Longmeadow. It wouldn’t have become that, however, if I let the fear and doubt that crept up into my mind take over.

I am excited to see where my willingness will take me next. Whenever self-doubt or fear creeps in, I can now remind myself to just be willing. Looking back at my life, this willingness isn’t really newfound after all. It’s something that’s been there all along, yet has manifested itself more lately. Part of that has to do with me starting to see more positive benefits of being on medications for over a year now. Part of it has to do with trying to come to terms more with my mom’s death. Whatever it is, I am glad to have more of a positive outlook on things now.

So, the next time you’re unsure about something, whether it is starting a blog, learning a musical instrument, or asking that person on a date, remind yourself to just be willing. You never really know where it may take you.

It’s Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies…

Upon graduating from college, I was nervous about my future. Like most graduates, I didn’t know what it would hold. I didn’t have a job lined up, or really a solid idea of what I wanted to do for a career. Nonetheless, I expected things would work out relatively quickly. I expected I would move to some big city, hopefully Boston, and have a great job. I expected I’d likely find some great romantic relationship within a reasonable amount of time as well. I didn’t necessarily imagine my life would be perfect. However, I didn’t forecast I’d living at home 3 and a half years later, without a clear career path in sight.

I guess I didn’t really plan for the unexpected. I didn’t expect my mom would die from cancer as soon as she did. I didn’t expect I would be diagnosed with bipolar and face many challenges to go along with it. I didn’t really expect it would be as difficult a transition as it has been to go from being surrounded by friends and teammates on the rowing team at UNH to living at home where most friends from before college have either moved away or I’ve lost touch with them.

Recently, I’ve had this thought in my head that it feels as if I haven’t really started any new chapter after college. Up until now, there was the chapter of growing up, then high school, then college, and then, well, there is now. I don’t really know what to call it, though. I haven’t established a career, haven’t moved out of the house to “make it on my own” and haven’t really built any new friendships or relationships for the most part. I feel like I’ve been caught in this weird no man’s land, in between college and making it into the “real world.”

Up until recently, I had a lot of nostalgia for college, and maybe that is a part of why I haven’t fully moved on and started a new life yet. I had in my head a wish I could go back to those days. That things were simpler and easier back then. I didn’t have as much worries, I would think to myself.

The funny thing now, though, is that desire to go back isn’t really there anymore. I now see even though there were a lot of great times, it wasn’t all roses. Romanticizing some part of your life is an easy thing to do. It’s much harder to analyze it objectively and think maybe it wasn’t all you once thought it was cracked up to be. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t a great time and that I didn’t have a lot of great experiences, but I am saying I have realized more and more there is no sense dwelling in the past.

I will be the first person to admit a big reason I am still living at home is my money spending habits. I have always been a relatively impulsive person, manic or not, which has caused me to be a not so thrifty spender. Oftentimes, I have bought concert or sports tickets last-minute, usually pretty impulsively. The last impulsive purchase, which I mentioned in a Facebook post Saturday, was the meet and greet for Demi Lovato this coming March. Now, it’s not like I didn’t know about it leading up. I knew the day it was going on sale in advance, but didn’t know the price. It was, however, impulsive in that I saw the price, knew it was more than I should spend, yet immediately bought it anyways knowing it would sell out fast. After an initial surge of excitement, I knew I had made a financial blunder. Not that I am not looking forward to meeting her, but I spent money well beyond my means.

You see, even when you think things may be looking up, when you may think you have everything under control, there’s a fine line between being positive and being overly optimistic. When I started taking medications for bipolar a year ago, I thought, “Great! Now everything is fixed and my life will take off!” Obviously, that hasn’t really been the case. When things didn’t happen quickly, I became a bit depressed for a period of time. I wrote in an earlier post how I had fixed my spending habits; I’d learned the value of saving money. Well, that hasn’t exactly been the case up until now.

I’m certainly not saying I haven’t had a lot of great experiences over the last few years. I definitely have, and am grateful. However, there has to come a point where I realize I can’t keep shelling out money for things I really can’t afford. I have made that statement before in the past, but the importance of this matter has reached a fever pitch, if you will. Unless I want to live at home forever, which I’m sure nobody wants to be the case, I have to start realizing what is really important when it comes to spending money.

As much as there have been unexpected/ negative things happen in my life, the point of this post isn’t to dwell on them or say how sorry I feel for myself. There are still a lot of positives I can identify, even though my life hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride since graduating from college.

For one, I still have a chance at life. As simple as it may seem, I have to be grateful I was able to get through my mom’s death. I have to be grateful I was able to get through the worst of my bipolar when it was untreated, along with coming to terms with being diagnosed with it. I have started to run again slowly after not being very active for a period of time, which is something I can be positive about and build on.

As frustrating as it may be to not have a career path right now, it is somewhat exciting. The possibilities are still wide open. Before my dad got his current job as a paraprofessional, I told him it only takes one interview or company to like you to get a job. It turns out he only had to go on one interview in order to get hired. I have to remind myself of that, as it is easy sometimes to dish out advice and not really take it to heart in your own life.

I am grateful for the support I have received from friends and family members. There are a lot of people who really do care, even though I can tend to trick myself into sometimes thinking I am not all that loved at all. Without people caring about me and noticing when things were amiss, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Things would be far worse. I may not have the same chance at life I mentioned earlier.

The point of my post, as the title says, is life isn’t always perfect or what you expect it to be. Although things haven’t happened at the speed I initially thought they would, I still have faith the things I expected upon graduating college will come sooner or later. I have faith things work out how they’re supposed to, even if you don’t see why when you’re in the thick of things. All I can do really today is try to learn from the mistakes I have made in the past, along with being as positive as I can about the future.

 

 

Start Spreading the News

New York, New York. Home of the Yankees. Home of overcrowded streets littered with trash. Those streets have a tendency to not smell so great either. All reasons why I shouldn’t love it, really. Nonetheless, I’ve had the best of times there. I’ve also had some not so great times. Yet, I still love it all the same. I’ll focus on the good times in this post, since there really are far more good than bad. Last summer, New York City sort of became my “go to” place to travel to. I went there several times, for a few Yankees games, for some concerts, and sometimes both on the same day. Man, those days were hectic yet fun in the same respect.

I had been to New York a few times before last summer, but it all started really when I went to a Halsey concert last August. A day I outlined some in a previous blog, it was a sweltering one approaching 100 degrees. I was a little nervous, as I had never navigated the New York subway system by myself, and was going to go from Grand Central to the Yankees game, back to Madison Square Garden that night for the concert. Sounds like quite a day, doesn’t it? Well, it was.

The heat was stifling from the start, and I was sitting way up in the highest part of Yankee Stadium, cooking in the sun. It was a game where I saw a bit of history, with Aaron Judge hitting his first MLB home run, a blast to center field. Who knew then he would turn into what he is now?

Anyways, I managed to make my way to Madison Square Garden for the Halsey concert. A show that had been sold out for months, it was her most anticipated ever. At first feeling out-of-place, I remember gradually feeling more and more at ease as the show went on. It turned out to be quite memorable, with Halsey restarting the show due to technical difficulties.

She also gave quite an emotional speech. Fighting back tears, she outlined how she was inspired by coming to Madison Square Garden to see Ed Sheeran when she was 19. It was a night that inspired her to start her journey as a musician herself, as well as the night where she got her name of Halsey by seeing a Halsey Street Station sign on the train. Surrounded by thousands of other Halsey fans, it was a concert where, as I said before, I got a feeling of euphoria, one I hadn’t experienced in a long time. With Halsey now being my favorite artist, I look back on it with the fondest of memories.

Another memorable day in New York City, I completed my patented Yankee Stadium/ MSG doubleheader again. This time, I went to the Yankees during the day and saw singer Shawn Mendes at night. Another scorcher of a day, I stayed for only part of the game since it started at 4. Upon arriving to MSG, I remember hearing Mendes’ song “Life of the Party” playing. A tune about not worrying about others who may be critical and being yourself, I draw inspiration from it, with my favorite line being “We don’t have to be ordinary, make your best mistakes.”

During the concert, I felt a great sense of love between the fans and Shawn. His live performance is something that really impressed me, showing a poise and confidence far beyond his years. When he played “Life of the Party”, I got a great feeling that I could do whatever I wanted and didn’t have to worry about people who doubted me. He played in the center of the crowd with just a piano for this and a few other songs. It was beautiful.

A trip to see Krewella, a duo of sisters who sing and DJ their electronic style of music, turned out to be quite memorable as well. Waiting in line before the show, I met and conversed with some other Krewella fans, which was a cool experience. I ended up getting in the front of the small venue in Brooklyn called The Good Room, resulting in me being able to reach out and grab both of their hands at different points during the show.

I had a ticket for the “after party” at a night club in NYC, but unbeknownst to me until I was informed that day, the catch was you had to have pants and I was only wearing shorts. A memory I laugh at now, I ran across Manhattan to get a pair of pants at H & M in Times Square and ended up making it.

Yet another day of frivolity included seeing Melanie Martinez, one of my favorites, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in late September. I waited out during the whole day to get a good spot in the front of the stage. Again, I talked to some fans before the show and enjoyed doing so. Waiting in line for a concert for the day is an experience that I’d recommend for any hearty soul, as the anticipation builds and the energy of the other fans is palpable.

This summer, there has been no shortage of trips to New York City. Between waiting overnight to see Halsey at the Today Show, again waiting overnight to see Big Sean on Good Morning America, a Yankees game I viewed from an exclusive club in center field that included a walk off, strolling through the beautiful Central Park for a day, and a Mets game, I certainly have made some more memories in NYC.

Walking around Time Square after I had gone to a Yankees game last Saturday, I got the feeling I was at home, an odd feeling of comfort, peace, and familiarity. As someone who thought Boston was the best place in the world for most of my life since I had been there so much, New York has definitely at least challenged, if not taken the lead over Boston for my favorite place to go. All these visits have certainly made me feel I could see myself living in New York someday. But as the old saying goes, you never know what the future may hold.

Going to God

Lead me not into temptation

I’ve been through too much devastation

Trying to figure my life out, need a revelation

And some candles and meditation

Went to God, asked for re-creation

But he told me no with no hesitation

He said listen up son, here’s a lesson for you

Just listen to me and I’ll see you through

I asked, how’s that, I mean, what do I do?

He said look all around you for the clue

There’s one person there who’s college bound

The other one there, just turned their life around

I don’t mean to pester you like a hound

But just look at the world, blessings abound

If you’re lost, you will be found

Soon yourself you will astound

And on every door, you must pound

You’ll smile at the things you once frowned

So, let me leave you to ponder this

If I didn’t tell you, I’d be remiss

In order to find your life’s bliss

You mustn’t wish, hope, or dream

Throw bad thoughts to the abyss

And let positivity reign supreme

My Journey

Just as I have a habit of putting many things off, I have unfortunately put off writing this blog for quite some time now. If anyone who may be reading this didn’t know, I am now employed for the first time since starting the blog. I began working in downtown Springfield at a company called Stentel with a title of property estimator a couple weeks ago. I won’t be getting into detail with that as that is not the real topic of this particular post, but if anyone feels like finding out more, they can ask me about it and I will be happy to discuss it. I will say it has been going pretty well so far.

For this post, I felt like talking about my journey so far since my mom died. Well, really a little before that. It is something I have been wanting to write about for a while, but as I said, I have been putting it off, telling myself I will do it soon. This journey is particularly important to me since it deals with when my Bipolar disorder, which I was officially diagnosed with in November of last year, really began to take shape.

Soon before my mom died, and especially right after, I went into a phase that could be described as being on the lower end of manic. I developed an intense passion for singing, thinking I was going to sail off into the sunset as a professional singer and be set for life without ever really dealing with my mom’s death. My love for music didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere, as I had years before been called a human top 40 jukebox, but the idea that I was going to be a professional singer was one that caused concern amongst family and friends. It became quite an obsession, where I would stay up all night oftentimes or close to it, singing or watching music videos/ interviews of musicians. As many know, I wrote songs and posted singing clips on Instagram, thinking that would catapult me to a career as some but very few had done. I would brush off any comments or concern others had, saying that it didn’t really come out of nowhere and I was fine. However, looking back, it did take off quite rapidly after singing just once in front of a small crowd of a few friends at a bonfire.

I could go on for a long time about this phase, but really to condense it, it went on for months and the bottom line is I never actually dealt with my mom’s death. Inevitably, I was setting myself up for a crash, although I didn’t really know it when I was going through that phase.

On came the depression, as quickly and seemingly out of nowhere as the manic phase. I can’t really point to a specific event that brought on the depression. All I know is that it hit really hard. I stopped singing altogether and was really down in the doldrums. Things I loved before like sports, I no longer cared for at all. I was living life, but wasn’t really there. Again for months, this phase lasted. Contrary to my more outgoing self during the manic phase, I was withdrawn during the depression. People would call, but I wouldn’t answer. I wouldn’t respond to text messages most of the time. Most days, I didn’t really do anything productive at all, wallowing in my misery. Of course, this again caused concern from family and friends. This time, I knew something was wrong, but as much as I knew that, it was seemingly impossible to bring myself to do anything to change what was happening despite countless suggestions from family and friends. Soon, however, and again seemingly out of nowhere, another manic phase would come.

Perhaps it was already building up, but I can point to seeing Halsey, my favorite singer, last August at Madison Square Garden as a real turning point and possibly a catalyst for the mania. It was a sweltering day, with temperatures reaching the high 90’s. I had been outside at the Yankees game all day, which kind of exhausted me, but I remember even then not really feeling like I belonged there, not feeling like I belonged anywhere in fact. During the concert, however, I started to feel hope again. I can’t really describe it fully, but there is something about being in a crowd of thousands of people who love the same artist you do that brings out a feeling of euphoria. Coupled with the fact that she has Bipolar herself and has battled anxiety and depression, even going through a suicidal phase, I felt like I had a great connection to her. I remember walking out of that concert and seeing the bright city lights of New York. I felt hope again, like life was breathed back into me. It was like a movie.

This set off a period of only a couple months where I went to a ton of concerts and sporting events, culminating with a trip to California on a whim, soon spending all the money I had. Yes, I did literally spend everything I had and at one point went into the negative by a few cents. Again, I didn’t see how dangerous and really sometimes reckless my behavior was. Citing things such as “well I’m not staying up all night or drinking this time”, I had convinced myself I was fine, even great, adopting a me vs. the world mentality. Soon enough, this came to a head, where there was a night family members ended up getting through to me. After I adamantly and quite loudly disagreed for a little while, I finally agreed to think about seeing a psychiatrist.

Soon, I did see a psychiatrist and began taking medications. As some may recall, I made a post back in November about having Bipolar and taking Lithium, a mood stabilizer I am no longer taking due to medical issues it caused. It was a way for me to own the bipolar at that time, and this is a way for me really to work through and in some ways make sense of it all. However, I am still taking another mood stabilizer and anti-depressants, to try to prevent another period of depression from occurring. Right now, I feel pretty decent about where my life is, working full time for the first time in a while and realizing the value of actually saving money and not getting caught up in going to as many events as possible. Really, those events were a distraction for me, but not the remedy by themselves. The cycle of mania and depression has for the time being been broken, as since probably November really, I have not been too high or too low.

If you have made it through this post, thank you. I really appreciate anyone who reads the blog. Hopefully, anyone who read this can possibly get something out of it and know that adopting the mentality of fighting the world as I did doesn’t really work out. Although I certainly would never want anyone to go through the experiences I have, I hope this may be of help to some who are battling or have battled anything like depression, anxiety, Bipolar, or loss of a loved one dear to them. Until next time, which will hopefully be sooner than the last.

Writing Through It

It is often said people are blessed with certain gifts which help guide them in life. The “Gift of Gab”, as some call it, is one I never quite received. I have been told numerous times that my online presence or presence through texting and my presence in person are two different animals. I would have to agree. For some reason, I have never quite been able to express myself as well through talking as I can through writing. Writing to me has always come easier, been a more natural and flowing way for me to communicate.

That brings me to the title of my blog, Writing Through It. I suppose a lot of blogs would explain the purpose or title in the first post. For me, the story about my mom was, as I explained, one that just came to me that day. So, I kind of went with that for the first post. Writing Through It came to me when I was fumbling with ideas for the blog title. I couldn’t really come up with anything right away, but I then thought of the title when thinking about how writing is a great tool for dealing with problems.

Just today, I was struggling with thinking about my life in general and where it should go. I oftentimes do this and most of the time, it doesn’t really go anywhere, with me just circling in my head. When I started writing about it, I got a result that was a little bit different. Instead of just thinking about things, I began to see certain worries, problems, frustrations, and how I perceive myself on the page. This gave a new light to it, almost as if I was getting a different perspective but from myself. Now, at the end of this writing exercise, I didn’t come up with some earth shattering conclusion that will instantly fix everything. Nonetheless, I was able to come up with a different way of looking at things that I think will help me moving forward.

So, if anyone is struggling with a certain issue, I would encourage them to try to write their way through it. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Today, I wrote in a sort of blog style that I am doing now. Poetry is another useful tool to try, which I also am fond of. A lot of the time, you can end up surprising yourself with writing. More often than not, whether I am writing a poem or just a general freestyle kind of piece, it takes a twist or turn somewhere along the line. I am not quite sure why, but usually I kind of have a shift in thinking somewhere around the middle and am able to go in a different and exciting direction that makes the writing piece better. I guess in some ways, that is what I hope to do with this blog. To write about certain issues I am struggling with, or broader issues that are relevant to anyone. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to find new and interesting ways of thinking about topics I write about, which will help not only me, but others as well.

There’s Always More

If I had to pick one word to describe my mom, it would be “more.” If I asked all of her family and friends to come up with one as I did, I’m sure nobody else would say that. In fact, I wouldn’t have either before I really thought about it today.

Earlier today, as I was scraping peanut butter out of a near-empty jar, I recalled what my mom would say. “You can get more out of that. I’ll show you how much is really left.” To some, that may just be a routine daily occurrence, one that wouldn’t really stick in your mind throughout the years. Some may even dismiss her as just another peanut butter stickler. For me, however, it has lingered in my thoughts, and surfaces from time to time.

Why has this one instance lingered in my head? Because it wasn’t just about that one instance. Every time I am nearing the end of a tube of toothpaste, I remember her saying how she could squeeze more out of any tube, even when most would simply throw it away, thinking it had seen better teeth cleaning days.

It wasn’t just with these simple everyday items that she wanted more out of, either. She always wanted more out of her own life, too. Along with the easy task of helping to raise my brother and I along with my dad, she saw a great career as a dental hygienist come to an end as cancer treatments limited the dexterity in her fingers. She could have just thrown in the towel. But she didn’t. My mom went on to get her master’s in Social Work at Smith College and reinvented herself for a second career that was just as, if not more, successful.

This whole notion of wanting more has rubbed off on me, or at least I think. When I struggled in cross country in high school, I knew I could get more out of myself. So, I ran so much the following summer to the point that people made a game out of seeing me running and then conferring as to where they saw me. Sometimes, I would pop up in multiple towns or locations in town on the same day. I was never the fastest runner on the team, but I did make varsity and run the Western Mass. Championship my senior year, which was my ultimate goal. As a rower at the University of New Hampshire, when I struggled most of my first year rowing on the water especially, I constantly asked what I could do to improve. Eventually I did improve significantly, not to the point of being one of the best rowers technically, but I was selected to row in the Head of the Charles by my senior year, something I always wanted to do since I went my freshman year.

Now, as the calendar creeps towards the 3 year anniversary of my college graduation, I can say I certainly want more out of my life. Again, not in a greedy way, but I want to make myself and others around me better. I know my mom would be right there with me, encouraging me to push myself, and to do more. Well, in a way, she is, because I am thinking of her constantly and have a good idea of what she would want for me. I may not have a dream job, or a dream apartment, or a dream relationship, or a dream anything really, but what I do have is a desire to be the best I can be. I have a belief that I can and will do more, even if I doubt myself, which is admittedly something I do more than I should. Do I know exactly what I want to do? Not entirely. It could be writing, something I have always loved. I may want to go back to the mental health field, which I have had experience with personally and in the work environment. I do know, however, that there is nothing more beautiful than knowing I have quite an influence beside me.