Our First Summer Camp Experience

I’ll admit, I was never a big fan of summer camps. I didn’t go to one as a kid because my grandmother watched me while my parents worked. As a parent myself, I’ve always been around during the summer so I didn’t necessarily need a camp for childcare. I work from home, so in the summer I can usually manage things enough to get my jobs done…usually. My solution is waiting for my kids to go to sleep to get things done, kind of like right now as I’m writing this.

But, this summer, a one-week soccer camp peaked our interest. Well, really my interest and that of my 5-year-old. My 7-year-old wanted no part of it. She was “Camp Mom” all the way and let everyone know it. But, I could tell the idea intrigued my little one because she truly loves the game. Quite frankly, she’s pretty darn good at it for a 5-year-old. But, she wanted her big sister to go along with her. I could tell that wasn’t going to happen.

I sat on the whole camp idea the weeks leading up to the registration. When it came down to saving a few bucks to register early, I needed a final answer. Momma doesn’t play around when there’s money to be saved! My older daughter still wasn’t budging, but my little soccer beast was all in! I was also curious to know more about this camp thing that everyone raves about all the time.

It was all soccer goals and smiles until the first morning. The idea of getting up like it was a school day was anything less than exciting. The fact that it was only for five mornings was my biggest motivator. During the drive there, I could smell hesitation in the air when my little asked her sister if she was sure she didn’t want to come. After a definite “no”, my little knew she was on her own. When we got there she didn’t leave my side for the first few minutes but when I told her I couldn’t stay and would be back in three short hours, she ran off and started to play with the familiar faces she saw.

When those three short hours were over (and I mean short, there’s no way you can get anything done in that time) she as all smiles at pick-up time. During the drive home when I asked her what she did, she gave me a complete rundown of all the skills she learned and the scrimmage that was played. It felt like a win-win all around until she admitted she cried. When she told me it was because she missed me, my heart sank. Did I do the right thing sending her? Should I have kept her home? As much as I felt like the world’s worst mom, I got over it quick! I knew deep down that this was good for her. Besides learning soccer skills, she was also learning how to manage on her own without relying on her big sister. Did I mention the fact that she was pooped everyday and slept like a rock star each night?

As the week progressed, the wake-ups didn’t get any easier, but the drop-offs and pick-ups did. She was having fun and learning new things and meeting new kids. I guess that’s what this camp thing is all about, right? As much as I was a camp skeptic, I can see now why so many kids and parents love it. It sure does keep the kids busy and is a lifesaver during the summer for many working parents.

Who knows, in the future we may trying out different summer camps, but for now it’s still “Camp Mom” for most of the time, and truthfully I’m okay with that!

End of the School Year Checklist for Moms

It’s the end of the school year. You knew it was coming sooner or later. Whether you’re getting ready to send your kids off to camp or preparing “Camp Mom” for the troops there are a few things that need to get done before summer vacation kicks in.

  • End of the Year Teacher Gifts. You may look forward to this as much as teachers look forward to expanding their “best teacher” mug collection. I’ll admit I’ve given a few mugs in my day…and candles, and lotions, and coffee gift cards. It gets boring. As much as every ounce of creativity may have been sucked out of you by all of the projects you’ve helped your kids with this year, try to at least put in a “C” effort for the teacher’s gift. They deserve it for all they put up with through the year. I’ve actually come up with a semi-creative idea that I’m excited about. I’ll share it with you…after I give it!
  • Plan to Keep in Touch with Your Kids’ School Friends…Some of Them. My daughter’s birthday is in the summer. She wants me to start planning her birthday party now so that she can hand out invitations the last day of school. She must have used too many glue sticks this year if she thinks that’s going to happen. I explained to her that’s the joy of having a summer birthday. You don’t have to invite the whole class. That rule goes out the window once the end of June rolls around. I did tell her to get the info of a couple of friends she’d like to invite. We’ll see how that goes. If there are friends your kids want to hang out with over the summer (that you approve of) make an effort to get their info. You never know when you may need to phone a friend.
  • Check out Free Events. If it’s free, it’s for me. That’s my motto. Check out what free events are available for the summer. Many local libraries offer free passes to museums and zoos. Take advantage of these. Make a list and take it out for those days when you hear “Mom, I’m bored”, because you know they’re coming.
  • Pre-summer Cleaning. If you didn’t get around to actual spring cleaning (like me), try some pre-summer cleaning. It’s really the same thing if you think about it. With the kids home, you know your house is going to look like a bomb exploded all summer long. The chances of you giving it a deep clean when the kids are around 24/7 are about as good as you getting front row tickets at a Bon Jovi concert. So clean now, have fun later.
  • Make Your Last Solo Target Run. Moms you know what I’m talking about. Shopping alone at Target has a certain charm to it that you can’t explain unless you’re a mom who’s had to shop at Target with your kids. Those $1 bins turn into $5 bins when you take your kids. It’s inevitable. But, when you shop alone you can look around at all the stuff you really don’t need but end up buying anyway for some reason. It’s a beautiful thing.
  • Pencil in Some Me Time. Let’s face it, summer is wonderful but finding time just for yourself without having the kids around can be a challenge. Before the final school bell rings, try to schedule a mani/pedi or whatever you like to relax. This will help set the tone for the summer. If you can’t tell, this is definitely on my “to-do” list over the next week and a half. That and maybe a massage! If you really want to go crazy, take yourself shopping too! You needed a new pair of sandals, right?
  • Make a Liquor Store Run. Yep, I said it. There are only so many amusement parks, zoos, and playdates you can take over the summer. Momma will need a break so plan ahead. Once the kids finally conk out for the night, you may want to treat yourself to a nice glass of wine. Better yet, send the kids off to grandma’s house and have some friends over for grown-up beverages!

Amid all the camps, playdates, and cotton candy induced carnivals, try to have fun with your kids this summer. As much as we may complain about our kids, we all know they grow up too fast!

Finding Gratitude & Positivity in Pork Chops

“I can’t.”

When I hear my girls say this, my heart immediately sinks and I respond, “Yes, you can.”

Usually this is followed by another attempt to do something that “couldn’t” be done minutes ago. Some attempts are more successful than others, but many times the thing that couldn’t be accomplished is.

Is it a miracle?

No, I don’t think so.

I think it has to do with positive thinking. If you think you can’t do something then you won’t even if you are truly capable. Why? I like to think it’s because you’re thinking negatively and that only attracts negative thoughts and actions. It’s like a case of bad vibes. If someone gives you a bad vibe, there is nothing good that’s going to come out of a situation.

Here’s a fun fact about me…I read a lot of books about the power of positivity and the laws of attraction. While some people may think they’re nonsense, I truly believe in their message. I think there is some validity in the fact that positivity nets positivity. That’s why I try to teach my girls to think positively, even in the most negative situations.

A big slice of the positivity pie is gratefulness. If you count your blessings and are grateful, those positive thoughts will bring more good things. That’s one of the reasons I have my girls say their prayers at night. Even when they’re thankful for something as small as the yummy pork chops I made for dinner, the fact that they’re grateful for something is what’s important. They’re not only learning to be thankful for the little things, but are also sending out positive vibes. Hopefully those positive vibes will make their way back into their little lives.

After my kids say their prayers, I say mine too so they can hear what I’m grateful for. Sometimes mine are “silly” like being thankful that I survived my boot camp class without collapsing. I get a few giggles and smiles. The point is that my kids are seeing me express gratitude as well. It really is a fact of “practice what you preach”. I think it would be unfair of me to expect them to express what they’re thankful for each night while I “peace out” and just say good night. It’s all part of teaching them to be positive.

Trust me, everything is not rainbows and unicorns at my house. There are plenty of rain clouds. There’s yelling and crying just like at everyone else’s house. But, I hope the seeds of positivity and gratitude over shadow all of that. I hope in the end my girls realize there’s no such thing as “I can’t”. There’s always “I’ll try”. There’s no such thing as finding nothing to be grateful for because we know there’s always something. You can find gratitude and positivity,  even if it is in pork chops.

The Woman, The Myth, The Legend…The Tooth Fairy

Out of all the mythical creatures out there, the Tooth Fairy is one that completely baffles me. It also blows my mind that kids actually buy it time and time again.

Think about it, we get our kids all psyched up to lose their teeth to get a reward. Okay, I can buy that. But then, we tell them that this person called The Tooth Fairy is going to magically break into their house at night, which is totally fine, know exactly where their room is and exchange a tooth hiding under their pillow for money (usually). Then the tooth fairy magically disappears until the next time a tooth falls out.

What does she do with all of those teeth? Is she part of some strange teeth collecting cult? Is she a frustrated dentist? What about the money she leaves? Where did she get it? Inquiring moms want to know!

Thank goodness many kids just take the Tooth Fairy at face value and don’t want to interrogate her like I do. All of my curiosity got me to do some digging…okay actually some googling.

There are so many different reference points but the consensus seems to be that the concept of the Tooth Fairy originated in early Europe where it was a tradition to bury kids’ teeth when they fell out. From there, it gets a little fuzzy as to how the Tooth Fairy was born.

The earliest mention of the Tooth Fairy as we know her (or him, depending on what you believe) dates back to 1908. That’s when an article in the “Chicago Daily Tribune” mentioned that mothers should buy something at the five cent store to replace a child’s tooth that’s left under the pillow. Some say from there, kids started asking where their teeth went and stories of the mythical creature were created.

Fast forward to 2017 where the Tooth Fairy is still alive and well, at least in my house. My 7-year-old sometimes asks how she gets in. I tell her it’s magic and she still believes.

It always boggles my mind how we can be so hypocritical as parents to get our kids to believe in something. We teach our kids all about stranger danger, yet we tell them that it’s perfectly fine that some lady with wings come into the house every now and again to steal their teeth. But she leaves cash, so it’s cool. Then we tell them it’s okay to ring doorbells of people we don’t know and to accept treats at Halloween. Don’t forget the gran daddy of them all…it’s okay to sit on an old guy’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. Just like the Tooth Fairy he’ll break into your house. He won’t take anything though; he just leaves you what you asked for.

Ahh…the joys of parenting! But it comes with the territory.

If you sometimes put your fairy wings on to transform into your Tooth Fairy alter ego, what do you do with all the teeth?  While I don’t bury my kids’ teeth like they did back in the day. I do keep them. Is that weird? I have little baggies of teeth. So far there are seven. I feel bad throwing them away for some reason. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with them. I’ll probably show them to my kids one day once the mystery is revealed. Maybe we’ll make some strange art deco collage out of teeth, who knows?

For now, I’ll continue to tip toe in the darkest of night, cash in hand, and swipe teeth like a ninja in hopes my daughter doesn’t wake up. I’ll add to my strange teeth collection and pray the kids don’t find it. I don’t know how I would talk myself out of that one! Viva La Tooth Fairy…the woman, the myth, the legend!

 

 

 

Everyone Loves a Fairy Tale Ending

Over the past weekend, we took the girls to see “Beauty and the Beast”. They were driving us nuts to go see it at the theater even though I warned them it was a two-hour movie. Honestly I didn’t know if I could handle sitting there for two hours with them. I was leaning towards waiting until it appeared in the Redbox, but, like good parents, we took them.

The packed audience included moms and dads, like us, with their kids. But that wasn’t all.

What I didn’t expect to see were people, young and old, without any kids. I questioned why they would want to see a “kid movie” if they didn’t have to? After the movie started, I began to see why. It’s not a “kid movie” by popular definition. Not at all.

Not only were the acting, music and costumes incredible, but the story itself is one I think everyone longs for deep down…a love story with a fairy tale ending.

Think about it. Everywhere we look there seems to be negativity. Whether it’s on the news or in our daily lives, it seems everyone has issues. It can be a real soul drainer. In real life, we hardly ever get a fairy tale ending. But, in the movies the possibility exists. For two hours we can escape and get sucked into a story and a world that has a fairy tale ending.  I did. I honestly would not have been aware of the length of the movie if one of my kids didn’t ask me when it was going to be over. I was so invested in the story. Ironically, I ended up enjoying it more than they did. My husband even admitted he liked it. Go figure!

As much as we would like, we can’t always create an imaginary world with a fairy tale ending, like our children. So, as I looked around the audience during “Beauty and the Beast” I couldn’t help but think and even hope that everyone was there because we all love that fairy tale ending.

 

Can We Make Girls’ Bathing Suits Less Sexy Please?

Last week I took my girls bathing suit shopping because they had an indoor pool party coming up.

Perfect! They’ll be plenty of bathing suits to choose from because it’s so early in the season. We shouldn’t have a problem.

Boy was I wrong. Who knew shopping for a bathing suit for a seven-year-old girl (not so much my 5-year-old) could be so tedious and disturbing at the same time?

As we looked through the racks, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of one-piece bathing suits available for my daughters.

Hmmm. Okay, perhaps a tankini? I’m a fan of those myself.

Hmmm.  A few of those out there.

As I continued to survey our options, one disturbing animal print bikini after another, my daughter chimed in that she found one.

Great! I thought. Boy was I wrong.

She proceeded to show me a teeny weeny bikini, made just for her size. When I immediately said no and was questioned why I wouldn’t be buying that so-called bathing suit. I told my daughter, “There’s no reason for a 7-year-old girl to wear something like that.”

Meanwhile, my 5-year-old went straight for the Shopkins one-piece bathing suit and said she wanted that one.

Sold! That one was easy.

Back to the 7-year-old who has now picked up a crocheted number, bikini-style of course. I just looked at her and shook my head. This cycle went on for a few more suits through some ruffles and leopard prints until we found and agreed on an appropriate tankini set that even came with a matching skirt. It covered everything and was cute at the same time.

Sold!

By this time I was mentally exhausted. I thought the days of difficult bathing suit shopping were still at least another six years ahead of us. Boy was I wrong.

Here’s the thing I have an issue with…when it comes to bathing suits for little girls, why are manufacturers producing such sexy numbers? Is there anyone on the decision-making team who has children and who may think that it’s inappropriate? Or is it a case of “anything goes” much like a lot of things these days?

When little girls see these bathing suits out there made in their size, of course they’re going to want them. Of course they’re going to think it’s okay to wear them. Call me a prude, but I have a problem with that. I think we’re just feeding into a culture that is making it too easy for our kids to grow up too fast. All the innocence that existed when I was a kid is long gone. As a parent that’s downright scary.

Some may say to lighten up, it’s just a bathing suit. But, it’s really not. It’s troublesome that these teeny bikinis are more the norm rather than the exception. If you thought they didn’t exist for my five-year-old too, think again. There were plenty of bikinis for her, but she was blinded by Shopkins as usual. If parents weren’t buying those suits, clothing makers wouldn’t still be putting them out there. That tells me that many parents don’t find issue with this.

As a mother, it’s not easy to explain to your daughter why she can’t wear something that everyone else seems to be wearing. I constantly tell her I don’t care what others kids do and to be her own person when it comes to bathing suits and everything else in life. That’s the best I can do as a parent…that and write blogs like this to express my frustration!

Would it be so bad to provide clothes and bathing suits that show less of our young daughters’ skin? You don’t need a bikini to swim or make sand castles at age seven or any other age for that matter. Clothing makers, can you hear me? Can you help a momma out?

 

 

 

Is it Too Late to Unplug Our Kids?

Kids and technology. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for parents. For me these days it’s more of a hate relationship. Everywhere I go I am seeing more kids plugged into technology, glued to a screen, walking around like zombies. This frustrates me and makes me sad at the same time.

I wish we could rewind to the days when Atari was considered ground-breaking technology and the thought of having a cell phone seemed like something only the Jetsons could achieve. But, the reality is many kids are obsessed with their various devices to the point they don’t know how to have a conversation or use their imagination.

Market research found that children ages five to sixteen spend six and a half hours in front of a screen everyday! If you take into consideration the fact that they sleep for at least eight hours if not more, that means there’s less than ten hours left in the day. When you factor in school and activities, there’s hardly anytime left to have a simple conversation. Is it too late to unplug our kids or have we lost them to technology forever? I guess it depends what side of the screen you’re on.

Have you ever watched a child while they’re on a device? It’s like they’re in a trance. It totally consumes them. Part of me thinks that’s why so many parents let their kids spend so much time on them. It acts like a free babysitter. No parenting required. No interaction needed. Sad isn’t it?

Before you think I’m a technology hating mother who only lets my kids play with pen and paper, I will tell you my kids do play games on my iPad and my phone. But, they do not have their own devices. Why do a 7 and 5 year-old need their own iPads or tablets or kindles? I’m sure many people have their reasons, but they’re not enough for me to take out my credit card.

I am fully aware that kids need to understand and work technology to exist these days and to compete with the rest of the world. I know there are a lot of educational apps and games and books to read. Does that mean we throw out real conversations and books or imaginary play or the arts? I surely hope not. From what I see that seems to be where we’re headed, if we’re not there already. So many kids don’t know how to interact with real people because they spend so much time interacting with their devices.

In order to change the tide, there needs to be balance, as with anything in life. While my kids are allowed to use technology on a daily basis, I usually limit their usage to 15 minute intervals. Once the time is up they have to go and do something else that doesn’t involve a screen. Most of the time they agree, other times I’m “mean.” I can live with that title if the result is that my kids go out and play or use their imagination instead of gluing their eyes to a screen.

When it comes to technology addiction many kids are only copying what they see their parents do. Truthfully there are times when we’re no better. I know I’ve been guilty of a little phone addiction every now and again. Do we really need to constantly check our Facebook feed to see who is blowing their nose every minute? I think we all know the answer to that.

That’s why I have a little rule called “no phones at the table”. It means just what it says. My husband and I are not allowed to have our phones at the table when we’re having a meal. This way we can pay attention to each other and have real conversations. Crazy, I know. But, it works.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to run over and check a dinging text or go back and finish scrolling through Facebook. But, it’s also important to set an example. If kids see their parents glued to their devices, they may be more inclined to do the same. If we set the example that technology is not king, then maybe we can start to slowly unplug our kids, one device at a time. Hopefully it’s not too late.

 

 

Teaching Kids About Death & Grief

Death is one of those things that is indescribably difficult to deal with and to understand. Imagine trying to do it as a child who still believes in things like the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. It’s nearly impossible. But, as parents it’s one of our toughest jobs. It’s tough because it’s painful and because there doesn’t seem to ever be the right words.

Finding the right words should come easy when you’re used to writing for a living, but that is not the case with something as fragile as death. You need kid gloves, no pun intended, to delicately explain to a child why someone has left this Earth. I am by no means an expert when it comes to this subject, but I’ve had to do it so many times already that I’m unfortunately becoming more used to the uncomfortable situation.

When someone they love dies, the hardest part is telling my kids they’re never going to see that person again. They’re never going to get or give a hug. They’re never going to hear that person’s voice. It’s heartbreaking to see their faces when it begins to sink in. And sink in it does. Although they may not understand how bodies are buried and souls go to heaven, they can understand the fact that they’ll never see someone again.

Then, of course, come the questions of why. Why did someone have to die? Why did they get sick? Why couldn’t the medicine fix their boo-boos? These are all questions none of us know. The best answer I can give is to be honest and admit that I don’t know why. As disappointing of an answer as that may be, it’s the truth. When it comes to a subject like death, the best thing we can do for our kids is to be honest. With that honesty comes the acceptance of letting them be sad. Parents don’t like to see their kids in pain or sad or crying. We always want to take their pain away and make them feel better. Sometimes we just can’t and that’s okay. What we can do is comfort them through their sadness and let them know it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to miss someone. It’s part of being human. It’s part of having emotions. My kids have seen me cry when someone dies because just like them, I’m sad. I don’t know if it makes them feel any better, but at least they know it’s normal and everyone is human…even moms.

While I let them see me cry, I also let them see me wipe away my tears and get up again. Hopefully, that is teaching them they can take their time to mourn, but at some point, they have to keep going, as difficult as it may be. Grief can’t consume you. I try to tell them that the person who died would not want them to be sad forever. They would want them to be happy and play and dance and do all those things that make them a kid. These words seem to work, at least for now. But, I also tell them you don’t forget about the person who died. We never forget. As parents, we can help our kids keep memories alive by maintaining traditions and continuing to do the things we used to do with the person who is no longer with us. Traditions don’t die with a person unless we let them. Kids should know that keeping traditions is how we keep loved ones with us always.

If death teaches us nothing else it is that life is fragile and tomorrow is not guaranteed. That’s a lesson we can all learn no matter how big or small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Still Make My Kids Write Thank-You Cards

Thank-you.

They’re just two words, but they mean a lot. Sure you may say them from time to time. Hopefully, you teach your kids to say them too. But, when was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank-you card to someone whether it was for a gift or something nice they did? Better yet, have you ever made your kids write or sign a thank-you card?

I can hear the crickets as you read this.

In the age of texts and tweets, the thank-you card has long been forgotten. While bordering extinction, it’s hanging on by a thread. While a lot of people may say who cares? I actually do. That’s why I still make my 7 & 5 year-old  write and/or sign thank-you cards when they get gifts.

I know, I’m such a nag.

But, I’ll take the title proudly if it means my children learn they are not entitled to things and need to express their gratitude. Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean you have to get a gift. Someone felt like doing something nice for you. The least you can do is send a thank-you card. It’s a pretty simple concept.

I know, I know. Why would you take the time to go to the store, buy a thank-you card, sit down and actually think of something nice to write, buy a stamp to put on it, and then go to the mailbox? Even more so, why would you sit down and have your child write one (if they’re old enough) or simply sign their name? Quite frankly because it’s the right thing to do.

Believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses why not to send thank-you cards. They end up in the trash. The cards are too expensive. The stamps are too expensive. I don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course if that’s what you think, that’s what your child is going to think too. The thank-you card will never get the love and respect it deserves. It will die along with all the other “old school” things like dressing up on a holiday and asking to leave the dinner table instead of bolting like it’s on fire. I think we need to bring some of those things back if you ask me.

If you really break it down, the time and money spent on thank-you cards doesn’t have to bankrupt you or take up your day. You can go to the dollar store and get a pack of at least 6 for $1. Stamps are stamps. They cost what they cost.You just need to deal with it. In reality, it may take you a half-hour tops to write a handful of cards with your kids. Big deal. Isn’t that time well spent together?

I think the pros of writing a thank-you card outweigh the cons by a long shot. In my eyes, there really aren’t any cons to hand-writing a thank-you note. Just think…the person getting it will be excited to get something other than bills in the mail. Maybe you can instill a little love for the thank-you card in your kids so it truly doesn’t become extinct. That wouldn’t be so bad. Give it a try.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Kristina

 

 

 

What I Would Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

Sometimes you don’t know how good you had it until you move forward and look back. You see, I went to my 20-year high school reunion recently. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I graduated. It may sound cliché, but I can honestly tell you I don’t know where all the time has gone. I also can’t believe how many things, both good and bad, have happened. If you ever told me some parts of my story over the past 20 years, I would have told you, you were nuts.

As I walked through the newly painted and renovated hallways of my high school, I could see visions of my teenage self at various stages of my high school years. I even turned to my friend and commented about how I could close my eyes and immediately be transported back 20 years.

If I could go back 20 years, there are so many things I would tell my 18-year-old self.

Have More Fun. As much as getting good grades is important, I would tell myself to have more fun. This really is the most carefree time of your life! At what other point do you not have to worry about paying a mortgage? When else can you go out Friday and Saturday night and not have to worry about a babysitter or getting up the next morning to kids who think it’s cool to get up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning? There will be no other time like this in your lifetime. Live it up.

It’s Quality Not Quantity with Friends. It truly doesn’t matter how many friends you have. Although it may seem like the end of the world that you only eat lunch with two other people instead of ten, it really isn’t. There are far worse things. If you have to put an exhausting amount of effort into a friendship it really isn’t worth it. It took me a long, and I mean long time to realize that. But, once I did (well into my adult life) I was a much happier person. A true friend is one you can talk to after a year of being off the grid and feel as though you were just with them yesterday.

Not Being Cool is Cool Enough. I was not “cool” in high school. Totally not cool. I knew it and so did all the “cool” kids. Enjoy the real friendships you do have. In the end, you’ll be better for it.

Your Life Plan Will Change. I’m fully aware of your life plan. But, guess what? It’s going to change and that’s okay. Not every prophesy you declare when you’re 18 will come true. You will grow. You will change. Things will happen and it’s all okay. If you ever told me I was going to quit a job I loved to become a stay-at-home mom in my thirties, I would have laughed in your face. I would have laughed even harder if you told me I wasn’t going to be a television reporter. That was the big dream. But, over time my big vision shifted…more than once. I decided being on-air wasn’t for me. I liked the behind the scenes television life instead. Then after a long time, I decided that career wasn’t cutting it either. I decided to follow my passions, even if it meant being viewed as unsuccessful in the minds of some. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy and what’s right for you, not anyone else.

Time Flies When You’re An Adult. As kids we want time to fast forward itself so we can become fancy adults. When we become adults we want to pause time so we have more of it to enjoy our lives. As we all know that’s not possible. There comes a point when you really don’t know where the time went. When you finally become that adult you dreamed about all those years you quickly realize it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, life is full of rainy days and bulls. Don’t rush to become an adult.

Don’t Take People or Things for Granted. People are not immortal. Things don’t stick around forever. Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Don’t be self-absorbed. There is much more to the universe than yourself. Open your eyes and appreciate the things and people around you. Guess what? They’re not going to be around forever. People get sick unexpectedly and there isn’t always a happy ending. You really need to stop and enjoy everything and everyone around before it is too late.

The saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now” holds a lot of merit. If I knew some of the things I knew now when I was 18, perhaps things would be different. For better? For worse? Who knows? Perhaps my 30-something self can learn from what my 18-year-old self didn’t know.