Stiff Upper Lip

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

– Ernie Harwell

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t shed a few tears over the course of the past few weeks as I thought about everyone I’m going to miss. For some reason, whenever I see other people start tearing up or breaking down, I have an almost innate trigger inside of me (thanks to societal norms that imply men shouldn’t cry) that prevents or hinders me from crying. Granted, I always try not to think about it for too long, otherwise I trigger the waterworks. Thankfully, I’m fully aware of the great opportunities and adventures that await me when I get to Japan and the new bonds I’ll be forming. It definitely won’t be easy moving away (again) but I know myself well enough that I’ll transition to my new way of life almost seamlessly.

There’s a saying I heard when I was a kid and it went along the lines of, “show me a man’s friends, and I will show you the man.” I pride myself in the variety of different people, perspectives and intellect of the people around me. Returning home after the Marine Corps, I didn’t think I’d create strong bonds with any of my fellow college students, but I am proudly mistaken.

  • Megan, Taran, Savannah, Jomi, Brittany, Andrew, and Michelle – you guys have been such a pivotal part of my life over the last 3-4 years that I’m awe-stricken at how tight our bonds have formed. I Love you, guys.
  • To Juan and my Mom, although we haven’t had the chance to really spend as much time together due to distance and my college courses, I’m just glad we had a few weeks in July to make up for that. I know you’ll do well in whatever you choose to do, Juan, but just make sure that you stick to your decision. Be decisive and don’t be afraid to communicate. I love you both with all of my heart!
  • To Pat, Robin, Kara, Kessa, Colton, Caroline, and grandma (Clara) – words can’t describe how much I’m going to miss you guys, but I already know that you will do everything in your power to come visit me, should I actually be in Japan for the long-haul. I’ll miss your company, your sound advice and knowledge on various topics, and our conversations about almost anything and everything. I love you guys, dearly.

This chapter of my life has allowed me to grow so much as a human being and as a Christian. I’ve created new lifelong bonds, nurtured long-term relationships, lost my grandparents, said goodbye to malignant and unhealthy relationships with people, increased my capacity for knowledge (to include Japanese), developed my hitch for photography, as well as a countless array of other things. It would be impossible to mention everyone that I want to thank, but know that if you’re still a part of my life that I am incredibly grateful!

Lastly, I feel it wouldn’t be “me” if I didn’t make this post ridiculously long, so for those of you that are reading this – I figure that I’d share some important life lessons I’ve tried my best to implement into my life that could very-well help you live a much more full and happy life.

  1. Don’t be selfish with your Love. Love with your entire heart, even especially when it’s difficult. You’ll eventually come to realize that most of the people that are difficult to Love, need it the most.
  2. With #1 in mind, don’t let people hold you back from who you are, what you want, or who you want to become. If you can’t come to love and take care of yourself, it will be close-to impossible to Love others.
  3. Spend some time alone and get to know yourself. Pray, meditate, ponder… whatever you need to do – do it.
  4. Smile and smile often. I like to think that even when you’re on the phone with someone, they can tell when/if you’re smiling.
  5. Have respect for yourself and give others the same respect. Respect is earned and is not an entitlement.
  6. Don’t always choose to do what’s easy. Adversity is a blessing in disguise.
  7. Be Yourself. Some people might be repelled, but you’ll also attract the right type of people too.
  8. Lastly, (I have so many more but am running out of time) surround yourself with people that don’t look like you, think like you, or share the same beliefs as you. Once you do this, you’ll come to find that beneath our beliefs and fears – we’re all the same.