The End of My First Journey.

As December swiftly runs past us and we begin to feel the weight of the year we are all about to leave, I have to say it packs more of a punch this year than it usually does. Today is my final day at my first college. Today is my final day at an awesome job that I have had for more than two years. Today is the tie up loose ends, say goodbye to everyone, and remembrance kind of day. When writing a couple of emails to a couple of people for a couple of things I have to clear up before I leave, I was written back almost immediately by one. And it read “Thanks for the update, Ashley. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck on the next part of your journey!.” Which, made me realize that today I am completing the first part of my journey. And, isn’t that just terrifying and breathtaking and confusing and humbling. All this hard work and changing my mind and challenging myself actually accounted for something. I came to this school, got a new job, and once I graduate I wont be back. Today is the end of my first journey.

This part of the journey that is coming to a completion today, I believe, was about growing up, figuring myself out a little bit more, and learning to trust my instincts. Right before I got this job and began school I moved out on my own. I went from living with a rather large, loud and rambunctious family of seven to a small, quiet place with just me and my best friend. I also went from a soft little town with bright stars and limited dreams, to a booming downtown city where the dreams where massive and stars impossible to see. I also started college, got a new job and changed my major. Which, as one could only imagine lead to may tear filled nights, lost days and confusing choices. As you could also imagine, I had to pick up the run of the mill adult stuff like paying my bills on time, how expensive heat can be, how to not burn your apartment down, and how costly groceries are. But, I also learned the more meaningful value of being an adult. Things like learning to trust in yourself, having to make hard decisions, never letting fear stop me from attacking my dreams, and of course that you are never to old to call your mother crying asking for help.

Not only have I learned a lot about my somewhat new role of being an adult, I have learned a lot more about myself on a personal level. I learned that I am only responsible for myself and my actions, that happiness comes from within, and the true importance of being a good friend. I have learned to forgive even if someone has not apologized, learned to put faith in myself and the abilities I have and, that above all else my family is the most important thing in the world. I have learned that I love the bustling of a downtown area and plan on living in New York City one day. I have learned that I also require time outside where I can spend a moment figuring myself out. I have learned that yoga helps my clear my head, exercise keeps me from wanting to punch people, and eating healthy is a value that is important to me. I have learned that communication and trust are the most important things in a relationship and that learning to live with someone you love is a challenge but it is so worth it. I have learned that I love brunch on Sundays and sleeping in late on Saturdays and weekends filled with food, friends and laughter. I have learned the kind of movies I like to watch, the books I like to read, and the music I enjoy listening to. I have learned that while it is absolutely terrifying to go to school for something that you love, in the end, with hard work, determination, and never taking no for an answer it will all be worth it. I have learned so much about myself and the person I want to be. As the year is coming to a close and the curtain is abut to close I realize that today is the end of an era. The end of my very first journey. It has come with its fair share of hardships challenges and obstacles but, I have made some hilarious memories, wonderful new friends, and instilled an unshakable faith in myself. Soon I will be off to my last school with a new job and new sights in store.

Just you and I

I lay here on this leather couch, the sun just set, the stars are rising in the sky. The light from the moon begins to slowly spill through the open shutters and the room becomes filled, ocean deep in a soft glow. We lay together, you and me, just the way it works best. There we are, smothered in moonlight in that quiet room clinging to each other,  too afraid of what would happen if we let go. If I open my eyes will you have just been a sweet and perfect dream? The kind of dream that leaves you breathless, the kind that takes you hours to separate from? Will the long walks by the river and the warm summer sunsets drift away like all my other dreams. If I breathe too loudly will I blow all of this away like a child blows a freshly picked dandelion in the summer time, will you have just been my single wish? If I blink will our lives flash before me too rapidly for me to stop it? Will I flash forward and miss all this life has to offer us? If I fall asleep will I wake to us in our old age laying in the warn in, butter cream sheets in the home we have had for 50 years? We cling to each other because we are too afraid of what would happen if we let go. My breath begins to quicken and I feel your grasp on me grow tighter, are you thinking of this too? I want to sink in the cold,crisp ocean with you, and drink the tartest wine in Italy, I want to get a sunburn in the Caribbean and never stop holding your hand. I want to fall asleep under the perfect set of stars, and dance in the middle of the street, no street in particular, just about all of them. I want to smell your cologne on your neck and run away to Paris for awhile. I want our laughter to fill the quiet streets on a cold night, I want to get lost in the jungle and, meet every member of your family. I want to build a million tents and see a million places and be with only you.  I have a full life planned for you and I, don’t let me go.

Life

Life has a way of moving too fast, a way of making you get lost in too many things that hold no true value. All we have is each other, and all we are guaranteed in right now, right here in this moment. So hug your family a little tighter, pray a little harder, say I love you more than necessary and find joy in every single second

The Second Chance

Death has many effects on people. When we find out that someone we love will no longer be able to answer our phone calls or hug us when we are lonely, our minds, our souls, and our hearts goes into overdrive.

Our mind has us examine everything we have ever been taught. It is in our mind that we replay every single second with our loved one that we can remember. It is with our mind that we picture their faces and their smile and hope that our mind will not ever let these images become faint. It is with our mind that we figure out the arrangements that must be made, the things that goes here and the people who get what. We must somehow work out a way to survive without this person. We must think of ways in which we can continue on without them. We are forced to think of a future world without them and are completely made to reinvent any idea of our lives. Our mind tells us that while nothing will be the same again we will be able to go on. We will find a strategy, we will compute, we will go on.

Our soul feels lost. Our soul searches for an answer late at night through blurry eyes from a higher power. Our soul feels empty, which feels like someone has managed to scoop out the deepest of your insides. Our soul silently prays for a sign, any sign, just to know that their soul has not left ours, and this is a process that will haunt you for the rest of your own life if you do not find an answer. Our souls search within ourselves to see the ways in which our loved one has changed us. The way in which they have inspired us and pushed us and saved us. Our soul looks for this and always seems to find it. Our soul feels our loved one in the warm summer sun, or the way the flowers grew just right this spring or the way a ladybug seems to always be near. Once our soul doesn’t feel empty anymore, once it finds the connections we have made to their soul we are able to feel ok again. Our soul searches for an answer, our soul fills us and gives us hope when our mind tells us they are gone. Our soul knows that they will never truly be.

Our heart takes us on another journey. One filled with questions and longing. Our heart makes us hug our children and little tighter at night and reminds us to pray before we sleep. It makes eggs and toast taste extra delicious and it makes us rethink the fight we had with our significant other. It makes us call up that person that we seemed to push away and it makes us crave forgiveness for our many past mistakes. It makes us cry and show emotion when we normally keep to ourselves. It makes us hug and love much harder than we have in a long time. It is our heart that forces us to realize the uncertainty of time and also the way in which we have decided to fill it. Our heart makes us forgive our friend and give a parent a second chance. Our heart makes us notice the way our lives have ended up and gives us hope to change it. It is with our heart that we see how the person would have wanted us to live. While our mind reprograms and our soul searches, it is our heart that tells us the right way to go. Our heart that takes a death and a loss and uses it to reshape our lives.

Memories

Have you ever wondered why you remember little tiny details from your life, usually lasting only a few moments and that seem to hold no real value? Because, if you are like me, I cant seem to remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, was it toast or, maybe cheerios. I mean its rather clear why I can graphically recall flipping over my handlebars and skidding down the drive way at the ripe age of four or the moment when I was eleven and my mother sat us down to tell us she had cancer, but what about the tiny, seemingly random moments that you can not seem to forget. Why do I remember being six and my brother being three and “riding” our magic carpets (our blankies laying on the floor of my childhood house). Why do I perfectly recall sitting in the passenger seat of my grandparents old, roughly worn truck seat and singing a christmas song with my grandfather. Its so clear that I can picture sitting there, my small hands covered in white mittens and riding the smooth country road to his house. Why do I recount the smell of buttery popcorn being made on the stove of our tiny house. I can see my beautiful mother standing there telling us it’s almost ready and her laughing about a joke that has drifted along with my memory.  Why can I see myself riding down the block, wind in my hair, pink handlebars and all, on my way to my very best childhood friends house. Why do I remember laying in the backyard, the sun hitting us just right as my brother and I lay in the warm green grass. These random things I can not forget. Will they show me something about myself in the future, did I do something life changing without knowing, will I be shown these moments five people you meet in heaven style. Maybe we all remember these tiny moments because, while they were small, they were perfect. Maybe we felt an enormous amount of love, or happiness, or just flat out joy. As I grow older I cant think of a better afternoon than laying in the grass with my brother, and what I wouldn’t give to be sitting in that cold, old truck with my warm, perfect grandfather. Memories are all we have, as we get older. People leave us, you move away from home, and the world never ceases to change. Memories are what ground us, what inspire us and what makes us feel at home. While most are random and seem to hold no true value, if you think about it, most of these memories are perfect. Simple, short, and perfect.

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Hope on the Move

One million U.S. adults are living with a blood cancer. Every 4 minutes someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Every 10 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from a blood cancer. Unfortunately these facts are real. But, Organizations like The Leukemia and Lymphoma society help these number drop dramatically. We need your help, I need your help. My team, Hope on the Move, is walking for the end of blood cancers on October 12th. My family is living proof that this society helps saves lives by funding research programs, like the one my mother chose to participate in, that has saved her life. This group not only saves lives of cancer patients, it saves families from having to deal with an incredible loss. These are the facts in our modern world, but we have the power and the tools to change them if only we work together. Anything will help. Just click on the link below and click on my name, Ashley to donate under me. Isn’t using the old, faded one dollar bill you have in the back of your wallet to help end the fight of cancer more of a use than letting it lay around? 

The Future

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The Future

Who knows exactly where we are headed in life. All I know are these things. All I know is that I want to move people and more importantly move myself. I want to love on a large scale and love myself on a larger one. I want to do things with so much heart that no one can repay me for.I want to travel the entire world and in turn be thankful for everything in mine. I want to be remembered as the girl who was always smiling and the one who never gave up.I want to forgive the people whom don’t ask for it. I want to write until my hands wont allow me to do so anymore and I want to take photographs and videos to remember the wonderful life I have been given when my memory doesn’t cut it. I want to make my family proud and more importantly I want to be proud of myself. I may not know where I am headed exactly, but I sure do know what I’m after.