Back to the Future

“Being here I’ve realized what my final chapter is.  It’s this” were the words spoken on tonight’s episode of Chasing Life.  The main character, who is once again battling cancer, has decided to go to Italy and spend time dedicated to writing her book.  Her book is her story, her memoir of all the gritty tough moments that she has struggled with and continues to struggle with.  She watches a sunset and comes to accept her own mortality, saying, “I could die here…literally.”

The writers of Chasing Life have a way of saying all the things that we don’t want to dwell upon.  After all, her mother is a therapist.  The script is an offering of group therapy for all who tune in to watch it.  For some of us, the moments she has to spend in the hospital cut too close to the bone.  While it may be hard to watch, the series is focused on its message.  It tells you to keep fighting for your life.  It tells you to embrace your own story and to share it.

Back to the Future…1995

If I was cast in a new version of the Michael J. Fox classic, I would blast back to an idyllic time:  1995.

I would see victory in the form of electric energy.  I would watch myself from the wings as my younger self performed a monologue holding a snake moments after it hissed at me from its cage.  Under the theatre’s lights, the snake calmed and slinked around my arms and shoulders.  I would see myself shooting a cap gun during the spring musical to make the sound effects for the scene with a fake gun.  I would see myself sing and dance as part of the choir to a packed audience.  I would see fearlessness.

I would watch my defeat when I put myself on the line.  I would watch myself play my longest tennis match ever, fighting over every game, tied and tied again at deuce.  I would see fighting back tears of exhaustion as I lost and shook my opponent’s hand over the net.  I would watch myself run the second leg of the 4 x 100 at an indoor track meet, drop the baton, and step outside the lines to cause my team’s forfeit.  I would work twice as hard the next time I was given the opportunity to be part of a relay to ensure the handoffs were near perfection.

That is what life is in the theatre, the tennis court, the track, and the classroom:  it is glimpses of near perfection.  It is hard work to get to the place you have dreamed and dreamed and dreamed.  High school is where you decide what you will do next to make your dreams come true.  After you graduate, it is up to you to motivate yourself every day to achieve your dreams.

Back to the Future…2015. 

My future chapter is full of blank pages.  What is next?  I really don’t know.  I am okay with the uncertainty.  After all, every day I am traveling along an uncertain path.  All I know is that every day, I write another page of the future chapter.

Write. Edit. Repeat.

Back to the Present

Since my summer sojourn to foreign lands, I have adopted a new mantra: “Find joy in the present moment.” Also, I have been ambitious about balancing several goals and taking the actions needed to be successful.  I feel a renewed sense of motivation and aspiration.  I have landed a new job.  I have applied and been accepted into a new apartment residence.  I have opted to turn everything on its head.

Yet, I glance at my writing and see that I am still focused on the past.  All day long, I am living my mantra.  It is a challenge to stay in the moment.  I am finding joy.


Fall 2006 visit to the “Butler Institute of American Art” in Youngstown, Ohio 

            Today, I set myself in front of a blank screen and I write.  The time I spend lost in writing is my favorite part of the day.  Whether it is a blank page of my journal or a blank document on my computer, I relish sharing my voice onto the page.  I do my best to craft my inner thoughts down in a meaningful way.

Today, I enjoy speaking with parents, grandparents, and children of all ages at my job. I continue to learn new things every day on the job.  I walk a few miles at work during my shift.  My new job has me on my feet all day.  I enjoy the exercise that is easily built into my day.

Today, I make time for a nap.  Today, during my free time I relax.

Today, I make time to eat healthy meals.  My dinner includes salmon and salad.

Today, I speak to my boyfriend by a long-distance phone call.  We have lunch plans for tomorrow.  Soon, we will both live in the new apartment.

Today, I make time to enjoy Tahitian Vanilla Bean gelato and a lemon cookie.  Today, I splurge on some unhealthy desserts that are completely worth it!

Today, I set myself in front of a blank screen and I write.  I aim to meet my weekly Monday deadline to write a blog.  I am a writer.  I may be an unpaid amateur, but I don’t care.  Writing is what I love doing, and what I will continue doing, as long as my fingers can type or hold a pen.

Today, I enjoy the moments of the day.  I understand being free of worries.  My recent actions have helped me to start moving towards my future goals. I am in the process of packing my belongings and in five weeks I will be moving into a new apartment.

I am taking actions to meet my goals.  I am finding joy in every moment.  I am finding myself.

Back to the past: Time Traveling

Packing up my life in boxes is bittersweet.  First, it is a chore, the kind that you procrastinate about starting.  It’s not a simple task.

I am only six weeks away from my moving date.  Knowing that I have a moving date on my calendar is beyond comprehension; it feels real and surreal at the same time.

Looking back at the past I have textbooks from college, children’s books from when I was a pre-school teacher, and young adult books I read as a high school teacher to converse with my students about the latest literary releases.  I have books galore.  All of these are coming with me.

Boxes, Boxes, boxes.  You know the cardboard boxes that are never opened, but shuffled from one apartment to the next, filled with memories, notebooks from classes, and your writings.  You couldn’t bear to look through them, but you also couldn’t imagine getting rid of them.  Each of these boxes is part and parcel of who we are.


Symphony at Lakeside, Ohio


Ohio State Buckeyes football fall 2006

Shoeboxes full of relationship mementos.  Your relationship has endured so long that you have filled several boxes and you keep starting new ones.  Each box contains a few years of history.  Each box has mementos, concert tickets, wedding and baby shower invites, movie stubs, and one even contains the corsage from your high school senior prom.  Long distance love letters from college and birthday cards are in their own box.

More recently the box has obituaries, medical bracelets from your visits, and writings that are only partially written.  More recently, work intruded with your time with friends and dates with your boyfriend.  The dark clouds took up residence for too long.  Writing was the moment in the recent past where you triggered happiness back into your life.

Finally you have acquired international mementos from three trips to Europe, including your favorites which you would love to plan a return visit:  Switzerland and Greece.  A new box needs to be established as you move on to new chapters of your life.  God willing, more positivity will fill the next box.

But the childhood and college mementos are who we are.  That is the time in my life I knew who I was the best.  Before jobs and responsibilities divided our lives into scheduled moments I said “yes” to everything I had an interest in.  Freedom allowed that discovery.