Ever put in a cd and it just – IT JUST WORKS. Sometimes it happens whenever you least expect it, and I sure didn’t even THINK about what was in store for me on Valentine’s Day 2015. Yet, I did remember the name calling my former high school best friend and I always used to do back forth – “Yeah, black roses would be nice.” “What about a pathetic V Day card sent to myself?” We’d laugh, and realize, wow, commercialized and nothing we could do about it except harass the idea that a real Valentine’s Day had nothing to do with who we really were deep down, whether we were in relationships or not, there was more to it than anyone tried to express.
So let’s go back to that CD for a minute – Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems might sound like a quite ironic piece of selection for a Valentine’s Day – and you’d be right. yet, what came out of it, is so much more. The greatest thing was I did not even realize it until being able to slow into a lazy Saturday and ease into a weekend that just allowed me to sink into whatever I felt like doing.
You know that restaurant on highway 1
With the key lime pie that song the sand and the sun
Where we ran in our bare feet built a castle on the beach
Just the wind, the rocks, the waves and you and me
I can’t go there ’cause thats just too much us
I can’t go there, I still feel your touch
Theres places in my heart and head that feel as empty as our bed
So most nights I don’t even walk upstairs ’cause I can’t go there
Remember San Francisco on that cable car
Our reflection in the window of that store
How we danced the night away with the lights out on the bay
Then wound up in a blanket on the floor
I can’t go there ’cause Frisco’s too much us
I can’t go there, I still feel your touch
Now there’s places in my heart and head
That still feel as empty as our bed
So most nights i don’t even walk upstairs ’cause I can’t go there
If it was only Florida or California
Maybe I could let myself move on
But it’s everywhere we’ve been and everywhere I turn
I can’t love again because I’ve learned
That I can’t go there, it’s somethin’ I can’t do
I can’t go there, I’ll run into you
I can’t go there
When the sun shines, when it rains
Christmas party’s, football games
I can’t go there
Winter, summer, fall or spring
I see you in everything
I can’t go there, it’s too much us
I can’t go there
Read more: Kenny Chesney – I Can’t Go There Lyrics | MetroLyrics
I look back and am so incredibly proud of who I have become since when I first viewed Valentine’s Day as a high school lovesick kid, lol. I used to spend so much time at the roller rink on the weekend with friends wondering who would be the person I was supposed to be with during the slow songs, and when it never happened, I wondered what was wrong with me. Typical feel-sad-for-yourself teenager wanting it, wanting that love everyone else seemed to have. I remember the rapper pants I wore and in a circle with Mark and Brad Wheeler, dancing all night, and just enjoying being a kid 🙂 I now realize the heart throbbing disappointment I had – were priceless and are also moments I miss so badly because even though I experienced those feelings, I was surrounded by some truly amazing friends I could get nowhere else.
The hardest times I ever had were remedied with some of the best people I ever met and helped me through them. I remember when I was having a very tough time in my life as a stable hand and riding assistant with the horses at Glade Run, and I spilled my guts to one Jen Hohmann and Julie Wahlenmeyer, and realized, they saved my life. They really did – you always can remember that one single moment, that a problem that seems so heavy, so large, that it is immovable and you just feel like wilting – but then – everything changes. For me, the hills, the woods, the horses beneath me as we rode through perfect freedom, the breaking of ice buckets for the horses in the winter, the emptying of stalls that others found disgusting, everything about it was beautiful and was a backdrop to the advice they gave me and shifted me to realizing I needed to do something for myself to be happy too and that perhaps was the best job I might have ever had in my life, thanks to the simply friendship and chances they gave me as the original tractor boy – 🙂
Of course, looking back I can think of a hundred times where I wish I would have held my temper, responded differently, or taken advantage of an opportunity I never did and it might have spun me into a totally different direction. Yet, I look back and see moments that invaded my whole personality stronger than any biting winds I had experienced in the middle of winter, and I am thankful. From the hysterical methods we had to pass large cartons of items through and down the halls to each other as working high school and college workers at Friedmans and Bi Lo – to the whispering motivation that occurred as I would transform into a Cross Country Coach that needed the athletes to push me as much as I tried to push them – a myriad of wonders – from triplets that you could laugh with and hug to the end of time, to the moments I could never forget in the classroom as a teacher that never let me forget how incredibly lucky I was to have so many individuals around me. Memories flood and take over so much of the past, and it is important to revisit. From letters I received from students I still stay in touch with when I left my first elementary school, the dogs I grew up with exploring the woods behind my house, the rough-neck students I came into contact with in my first city school at West End and learned life was so different simply 3 minutes away from a country home area, the jobs of paperboy, fast food prep, music store and men’s story clerk, graduating high school, the mammoth group that made up our graduating class, just a few of the massive events that helped create a future for myself.
Weddings. This next week I will be attending an amazing wedding for an amazing young lady that took chances and risks and made the best of them and turned them to her advantage, and as a result, she transformed from a hungry student leader to a beautiful young woman that met her dream-come-true-to-be-husband, and for one brief moment we all get to be together, one night, to celebrate where we have all come from and grown.
I could perhaps go back to another wedding one of the very first young ladies I remember in my AP English class, funny, intelligent, brassy, and just overall made you realize you’d go to any lengths just to have her in your class Being a mascot and surprising her at her wedding was a dream come true, and yet, she is still the amazing talented, beautiful, young lady you always knew back as a teacher, and seeing her have her first baby, you ask yourself, where does the time go and how does it go so fast? More importantly you also realize, how lucky am I to have had her in my life? Priceless.
Sure, there are TONS of things I would love to go back ad redo, and yet, the paths we have chosen have led us to some pretty incredible moments, and a sense of love for those very moments that no one, anywhere, no how can recreate or take away. I truly have realized some of the hardest moments I have ever had to tread through have become possible thanks to the very friends, former students, and of course family that always gives you that feeling of being able to feel like belonging, no mater where you end up.
Mexico. I know I say it often, how did I get here? It is still a gift I could never ask for or expect and the days I complain, I do not have any right to. The amazing and talented young people, colleges that remain, and that have come and go, and the amazing amazing love of those that live around me – I tell you what it is. The combination of the amazing amazing people I have been lucky enough to have in my life up to this point, add the reunion of the amazing people I have just mentioned above, and you have a utopia. While Mexico right now is my current utopia, and I have been luck enough to carry all of these precious moments with me – I do realize this – I could go to one end of the world to another, and every one of these moments would stay with me – thanks to the amazing love and strong personalities that have been found in the individuals that have been a part of my life. That redefines what the whole Valentine’s Day means to me as I walked around today on a 16 stop trip through a country I have come to love in a few short 4 years, short compared to reminiscing about all the amazing times I have had thanks to the people that touched and still touch my heart no matter where I travel.
There is so much to look back on and laugh about, and the best part? The sheer number sod individuals that helped me do so 🙂 While time DOES fly by, certain things remain with you forever and continue to shape and usb you forward if you let them. As I walked past the couples today, the countless stands of chocolate, stuffed animals, balloons, cards everything, the materials I always used to recognize Valentine’s Day began to fade into the distance and I realized – the materialism of simply having THINGS – fades and what remains, if you are lucky enough – are the memories, words, and phrases with laughter that stick with you if the people around you mean more than the actual time it took for them to occur. Those individuals are timeless as well as the moments that gave you. Heck, you’ll realize you are the richest person on earth if you have these aspects of a life when you look back on it.
Young is always a matter of fact if you choose to live your life around pretty much one basic belief. “I am going to carry around with me the best of those that gave me their best.” True to that, it has ever failed with me and has always helped me find what I am supposed to do and where I am supposed to go. As ironic as it is, I have found in Mexico, the time is given to me to not be filled in by tasks every second of the day, but time to enjoy what have already been given to me, and become a better person because of all those individuals that helped me get to where I am now. That is true love, in it’s truest sense, and I am so so grateful to realize, the people in my life up to this point are loved so much and are responsible for who I am, and help me get rid of the bad when I sense those less desirable qualities now and then, they have actually become my consciousness!
Thousands and thousand of heartbeats that have combined into one day that remind me – You are never alone if you let the past benefit you. There are so many naysayers in the world, so many people that think they know you better than you do, so many people that feel the need to bring others down to bring themselves up and so on. But think for a minute. Think about all those people that are the opposite that have brought your self-esteem, brought your life to be a celebration every time you are around them, if you can think of them every time you have those moments of someone trying to bring yourself down – you’ll survive and just became stronger. You have an army of supporters in your corner, every single day, and that is how I feel thanks to some amazing people in my life then and now.
For me, it was the spaghetti dinners we had before meets with our Cross Country Team, it was the too crowded classrooms in Delaware that always brought me into hysterical bouts of laughter from the diverse talents that would go on to become amazing futures, it was the smell and sound of the saltwater in summers of wonderful life on the eastern shore, it was hugs from triplets, it was reuniting with families in reunions that would fill whole parks, it was sleepovers at friends’ houses I had not seen in SO long and their sons and daughters, it IS being in a country with some amazing and talented individuals that it almost makes you want to cry, that is how old it feels (ironic,, right?)
So yes, there are the normal checklist items to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but if you just sit down and slow things down, you’ll realize the very things you can’t find in stores and last minute in flower shops, are the very aspects of Valentine’s Day that should be internalized and kept close to your heart. They will stick with you for a lifetime.
Have a WELL DESERVED Valentine’s Day everyone 🙂
The No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems album by Kenny Chesney truly has a country sound, which I have to admit, I miss and love about my life. More importantly, the words carry the messages of a life that can’t be measured in money, position, or fame, just the people that surround you that make you feel that way. I am lucky enough to have always had an endless supply of individuals to allow me to live my dreams and go after more with their presence in my life – as well as those that taught me, whether they were in my life or not, I had the responsibility to honor their lives through what I could do in the years to come. 🙂