“Is your life starting to feel like a circus?”
For as many times as I have said, “not my circus, not my monkeys,” somedays, it sure feels like I am the ringleader of the big top. Chaos is never the goal, but it is inevitable at times. It is okay. The circus is only in town for a few days. Whatever is your circus will pass in time.
“Don’t panic . . .”
Panic makes everything worse. Nothing good comes from panicking. You need a clear mind to problem solve. Just think.
“Today’s a new day!”
A clean slate is given each day. Use that to your advantage, and do something good with the possibilities of today.
“Get dressed first thing. (Sweatpants are bad for morale. Put on something nice!)”
I love a good pajama day, but I know those days are going to produce absolutely zero progress. The days when I get the most done are the ones when I take the time to get dressed, do my hair, and put on some makeup. Now, I love sweatpants as much as I love a pajama day, but getting dressed up does boost productivity and confidence.
“Have some pancakes.”
Breakfast was not my thing when I was little. As I have gotten older, I have grown to recognize its importance. While a bagel or Special K is my go-to breakfast, I argue that pancakes are better suited for brinner (breakfast for dinner), but who am I to go against The Little Golden Books?
“Get some exercise every day.”
This is easier said than done. Nonetheless, it is the effort that counts. Take the stairs. Park away from the door. Walk around the neighborhood. A gym membership is not a prerequisite for exercising.
Be playful. Do not worry about what others may think. Be free. Have fun.
I am a firm believer in daydreaming. There are no rules. It is just you and your mind. Let them take you anywhere. I do, and I enjoy every minute of my daydreams. I never regret the time I let my mind wander and my heart dream.
“Go on a joyride!”
Life is too short to stay inside all the time and always take the same way. Go out, make memories, and laugh along the way. It makes the journey that much more enjoyable.
“Stargaze . . .”
Living in the country, as I do, offers the perfect backdrop to stare off into space and create a continuation of my daydreams. I like to connect the starts in a life-size version of connecting the dots.
Go to the park. Enjoy nature all around you. Whenever I need to escape and recharge, taking a walk outside is the best medicine. Hearing the birds chirp and feeling the gentle breeze blow takes me to a serene place and reminds me to breathe in the fresh air.
This is something I do not often do. I did more of this while I was abroad. Birds have a funny way about them. You will not regret the time watching them, and for an added bonus, throw some bread crumbs for your own enjoyment.
Whether it is ice cream or a European vacation, go for it. You will be happy you did.
“The simplest things are often the most fun!”
Sometimes, all it takes is a simple smile or some free time to make a person happy. It does not take much to make me happy.
“So go on a picnic . . .”
Pack some food, grab your friends, and share stories in good company.
“and make music a part of your life.”
Not a day goes by without me singing in the shower or pretending to be a star singing in the car. Yes, I can see other drivers staring. No, I do not care. I continue as if I am next American Idol, or whatever other gimmicky talent show fits your fancy.
“Be a hugger.”
Show someone you care. Be a comfort to them. A hug will never be forgotten.
Butterfly or Eskimo, they all matter. A kiss goodnight is a must.
“Turn off the TV from time to time . . .”
The quietness does a person a great deal of good. Turn off the distractions and step away from the screen.
“and crack open a book!”
A book takes you to far-away places. The journeys are endless. Once you set foot in the pages of a book, you will find it hard to put it down. Books open portals, and your never-ending adventure is waiting. Chase it.
“Use your imagination.”
Follow it to the depths of your dreams. I have even surprised myself some days with some of the ideas I come up with. There is never a dull moment, or any such thing as a bad idea.
“Look up . . .”
The sky is the limit. Do not accept anything less.
“and savor the seasons as they roll around.”
With each season, a new season of life comes. Grow with the seasons, and learn all of life’s lessons.
My personal favorite lesson from what The Little Golden Books has to offer is this one for obvious reasons. There will never be a time that I will not stop searching for more of life’s answers and uncover discoveries. They say curiosity killed the cat, but to me, curiosity never kills; it only grows.
“Take in some culture once in a while.”
Being cultured is one of the best character traits a person can have. Experience something new. Go to a place you have never been before and immerse yourself in new cultures. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.
“Learn something new!”
You are never too old to continue learning. Better yet, never stop learning.
“Dare to explore. What’s out there for you.”
There is going to be something worth searching for in life. Be brave to search for it. Think of it as self-exploration.
Do what you love. Some people find love with art and building. My love lies in words and writing. Expression gives me an identity.
“Try a new look!”
It is fun to play dress up. Go out of comfort zones and buy something you normally would not. I find that some of those buys have turned out to be my favorites.
No one else is like me, and no one else is like you. We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be for ourselves and forget about conformity.
“Just don’t go overboard.”
Be you. Do not try to entirely recreate yourself. Perfection will never be attained, so do not try to be; you will lose sight of who you truly are if you aim for perfection.
“Start planning that dream trip!”
I feel like I have already been on two dream trips, but that is not stopping me from planning another. Go where ever. The world is a big place, and there is so much to see.
“Soon you’ll be on your way.”
Do not let anything stand in your way. It was so freeing when I boarded a plane to see the world. It was an experience I will never forget.
“Be open to making new friends . . .”
Some of my best friends are ones I never expected to meet in life. My friends are the best I could have ever dreamed for. I have found my person, my squad, my ride or die.
“even if you’re very, very shy.”
I have never been known to be shy, so I do not have much experience in this department. But, break free from your shell and meet new people, despite your tendency to be shy.
“Keep in touch.”
A busy life means everyday interactions with friends are not always feasible. A simple text to say, “I am thinking about you,” makes the time spent apart seem shorter. Never neglect friends. Relationships like these matter.
When it does work out, go and spend the day together. My go-to friend date is to get sushi or pizza followed by frozen yogurt and a movie. Make time. Make memories.
“Steer clear of shady characters.”
Be careful who you call a friend. Remember, friendship is a two-way street.
Never towards people, but in your decisions. Think long and hard about the places you go, the things you buy, and the thoughts you have.
“Choose your companions wisely.”
Who you choose to be around says a lot about you. Be careful who you surround yourself with.
“Break bread together every day.”
Be thankful for the blessings of every day. Share with those around you and give to those who are hungry.
“Don’t forget your antioxidants!”
A well-balanced diet is what we should strive for, but I will be the first to admit, I can still work on making it better. Get your fruits and vegetables. The more colorful the plate full of food is, the better it is for you.
“Go ahead and make a big deal over your birthday.”
It only comes once a year. Blow out your candles and eat your cake too. Life is too short to count the calories. Throw a party and celebrate you!
“Dress up and go dancing . . .”
Prom night (all three times) brought out the dancing machines. Getting all fancy and spending a night dancing was a huge highlight and night I always looked forward to.
“any kind of dancing!”
Dancing does not have to be confined to prom night. Just turn on some music and show off some moves. Heck, Just Dance will even provide the moves, so jump in the line, and dance like no one is watching.
“Make something from nothing.”
4-H taught me to look at nothing and try to make something appear. It sure put my creativity to the test. Go to the craft store; be thrifty about it. You may surprise yourself and put Pinterest to shame.
“Sing even if you can’t hold a tune.”
My unfortunate lack of singing ability has never stopped me from belting a song out there. The privacy of my car makes everything alright, and no one has to suffer through my pitchy tunes.
“Learn to cook . . .”
The Food Network and Pinterest have nothing on me. Cooking is a good skill to have, and if you love food as much as I do, you will need to know how to cook.
My mom will argue that I could use some practice in this area of life, but I have the basics down. Just do not look too closely at my room.
“Make a budget—and stick to it!”
Your older self will thank your younger self for making a budget sooner rather than later. Be sure to stash away money for the rainy-day activity fund.
“Have you had a checkup lately?”
No one likes going to the doctor, but it is a must. Health is important; stay on top of it.
Weren’t you going to learn how to swim?”
I am not the best swimmer in the world, but I can manage. Floating and sunning is more my speed. Do not be a fish out of water.
“Always keep a medical kit handy.”
My friends joke that I am the mom of the group, and if I earn that title by having Band-Aids in my first, then so be it. Always be prepared, Boy Scout’s honor.
Be happy with where you are in life. Take time to enjoy the moment and not worry about the moments to come until they arrive.
“Take a mental health day now and then.”
I can find myself drowning in homework, and even when I probably should not, I walk away from it all to have a day to myself. Nothing makes me happier than going to get my nails done and coming home to watch a marathon or taking a nap. Give your brain a break.
“Give in to a good cry. You’ll feel better afterward!”
I love a good cry. It is the best stress reliever, and I feel so good after I let it all out. I may let it build up, but after a while, I have to cry it out. Once I cry about whatever is bothering me, I feel like a new person. Try it; you may be onto a new stress relief technique.
“Get plenty of sleep, too.”
You do not have to tell me twice. This is something I am good at. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Going to sleep means going to my happy place.
“Go fly a kite . . .”
Take your cue from Mary Poppins. Release your inner kid. You will be happy you did.
“but remember to stop and smell the strawberries.”
The Poky Little Puppy has the right idea. Whether it is a strawberry or a flower, take the time to enjoy the smell.
“Be a romantic.”
Never feel obligated to wait for a knight in shining armor, but if that is how your happily ever after turns out, embrace it. Remain independent, but enjoy the company of a forever friend.
“Don’t forget to enjoy your wedding.”
I am still years away from my wedding day, but I can guarantee I will enjoy every minute. Every little girl dreams of that day to come, and I am no different, but until that day comes (long down the road), I will have to be content with watching Say Yes to the Dress and planning my special day on my Pinterest board.
“Let your children know you love them.”
I never had to worry about wondering if there was enough love to go around. My parents said I love you to me every day, and they still remind me of their never-fading love. “I love you bunches and bunches,” they would say. And I would and will forever respond, “bananas and grapes, I love you too.”
Build your career. Follow your passions and fulfill your dreams.
It cannot be all work and no play. Enjoy life and seek the fun in all you do.
“But not too hard.”
Remember to always return to the commitments you made and follow through with your word.
“Do no harm.”
The golden rule will get you far in life. Be kind to others.
“Be proud of your country.”
The U S of A is the greatest country on earth, and I would not trade it for anything else. We are able to be the land of free because of the sacrifices the brave made for us. Take time to thank a soldier, and proudly fly the flag of stars and stripes.
“Don’t let the parade pass you by!”
Join in on the celebration. Get to toe-tapping as the marching band passes by, and wave to the parade’s grand marshal.
Think outside of the box. Use your brain to its fullest extent. The brain is a magical place that makes your ideas possible.
“Toot your own horn!”
But only from time to time. Stay humble, but it never hurts to share an accomplishment with the world. Hard work goes a long way.
Learn to grown your own food, and gather your crops too. I spent many summers canning and freezing our harvest from the garden. It is a good skill to have.
In all things. It is as simple as that. Be thankful.
“Believe in Santa Claus . . .”
Even if it only lasts for a short time, keep the magic alive and listen for the bells.
“love at first sight . . .”
This is still a mysterious thing for me, but if you have been lucky enough to experience this, then good for you. Follow your heart. Believe in love.
“and that your ship will come in. As long as you do, your life is bound to be Golden!”
My dad always said he is waiting for the ship to come up the creek. Keep the dreams of your heart alive, and know that the outcomes of life will be however they are meant to be. Everything happens for a reason, and I believe in the golden days of life.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
“You are going to Hollywood.” Those are the words I had dreamed of hearing as a kid after a hypothetical American Idol audition that I obviously would never have because I cannot sing. Although, that does not stop me from some intense jam sessions, but that is beside the point here. Since we were in Los Angeles, we had to be typical tourists. We went to the convention by day, and we were adventurers by night.
A preface to going to see the Hollywood sign was a vague preview of seeing it on our drive to the hotel and again on the rooftop of our hotel. Anytime there is a rooftop city view opportunity, I am there. We may or may not have hopped the rope closing off access to the roof, but if that was the only rule break, then I think we did okay. The night view overlooking the city of lights was awesome. We also took great advantage of the random flamingo garden decorations for some cheesy photos. And although the Hollywood sign was only a small white splotch on the mountain, it got all of us excited to see it closer in person the next day.
The day came to cross one more thing off my travel bucket list. I ordered an Uber, and with that came a 50/50 chance of getting a minivan or a luxury car. Well, that day, we scored a Mercedes Benz. We rode in high style as we traveled to Hollywood. I did not expect anything less (wink!). While the daylight was still burning, we attempted to get as close as we could to the sign as we could. The hike was pleasant, and I could not have been in better company. The time spent together strengthened our bond immensely, and I am so glad I could experience this with my friends. Sunset came, and the already breathtaking view magnified exponentially. The lookout points gave us more than enough chances to take pictures to make those moments live on forever.
We called it a night after ordering dinner from Cassell’s Burger and congregating in a hotel room to chow down. The goodies were passed around, and we spent the rest of the night having a good old-fashioned game night that had us laughing until the tears were streaming and our sides hurt.
Our last night of the trip brought us to Venice Beach, California. My friends and I walked the boardwalk along the ocean to the pier. It was another peaceful night together, and we enjoyed thoughtful conversations and genuine time spent together. As we walked down the pier, some performers were out, and one stuck out in my mind. The song playing could not have been better, to sum up my feelings at the moment.
After another beautiful sunset, we did a little shopping before we scouted out a place for our last dinner for the trip. An outdoor Italian restaurant was the perfect place to celebrate a fun trip and Molly’s twenty-first birthday. It was definitely a night to remember, and a relaxing way to finish off our sightseeing in California.
We had to journey back to Los Angeles. The traffic made that a little more challenging than I had hoped for, but we finally made it to the long-awaited California Donuts we had promised ourselves that we would get them before we left. Since we had to leave the hotel before breakfast would be available, this was our solution, and it was way better than paying for overpriced airport food.
Back at the hotel for the last time, we had to pack. That was a sight to see. We all left with twice as much stuff than what we came with. Let me just say, I had to sit on my suitcase to get it to zip. It was jam-packed. Our late night packing session gave us only a few hours to sleep before we had to summon our last Uber and head to LAX to go home.
Surprisingly, check-in and getting through security did not take that long. We waited at our gate, and because of how tired we were, we almost missed our boarding call, but luckily, someone snapped out of the daze long enough to make the boarding in time. The first flight went well, and when we landed in Chicago, we received a blast of the Midwest chill. Brrr! There was a short layover, but we made time for McDonald’s. The last little leg of our trip would bring us back to the Mitten.
It felt so good to call my dad to come pick us up rather than hailing an Uber. I have never been so happy to see that truck in my life. We loaded up and hit the road to come home. We were exhausted, so the ride was literally silent. The realities of having to meet my classes the next day were sinking in, and I was not looking forward to having to get back into the swing of things so fast.
I will never forget my first trip to California. My friends and I had a blast. Even though we went for business, we had to appease our fun side. We balanced work and play well. ASHA was an all-around good time, and I am glad we were able to go together. All good things must come to an end, so as for ASHA and our Californian adventure, they are taking their final bow.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
The theme and slogan for ASHA 2017 was “focus on the big picture.” The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association did a fantastic job of working this idea into every facet of our field for the convention. For my first year attending ASHA, I loved the theme and was excited to see the theme in action. I was able to better understand the multitude of career paths within the umbrella term speech-language pathology. My perspective did not change too much on the field because I already loved it so much, but what did happen was that my passion seemed to be set on fire.
The official start of the convention went off with a star-studded bang. Our opening general session introduced the president and board of ASHA, along with the heavy-hitters of the field in their respective topics. Goldie Hawn was the guest of honor as she was the keynote speaker. Hearing her speak about her passion for advocacy and the research her foundation has contributed to the helping fields was empowering. I walked out of that session excited and ready to take on ASHA with a renewed energy.
With ASHA being so massive and spread out between the Marriot and the Los Angeles Convention Center, my friends and I knew we had to divide and conquer. And so we broke off to get to as many sessions on varying topics, so when we reconnected at dinner, we were able to give a recap of what we learned and found interesting. The three days’ worth of sessions kept us on our toes, and we were never bored trying to get as much information as we possibly could.
In some of the downtime we had between sessions at the convention, we tackled the Exhibit Hall. This was the holy grail of free stuff. I do not know about anyone else, but I made out like a bandit with collecting pens. Not that I counted or anything, but twenty-five seems to ring a bell on my pen count total. I mean, if they were willing to hand some over to feed my pen hoarding tendencies, then so be it. Life happens, and AHSA’s freebies were top notch. Aside from the free stuff, the Exhibit Hall offered a time to meet potential employers, grad schools, interact with companies and products, and collect business cards along the way.
One of the main reasons we came to ASHA was to present research some of us had worked on the previous semester. We had planned on making the trip to ASHA anyway, but having the opportunity to present our research as undergraduates at the national level was icing on the cake. Out of the six of us, four had a poster presentation. Molly worked with our university’s audiology professor for her project. Lauren’s poster presentation was on fluency, and so was mine and Yasmina’s poster. The three of us worked on two different studies with our fluency professor at The University of Toledo. To see everyone’s hard work in the Hall of Posters gave me a sweet taste of what is to come in the future as we go on to earn Mater’s degrees and, hopefully for some of us, defend a doctoral thesis.
Our days spent going to seminars and meandering through the Exhibit Hall and Hall of Posters was more than I could have expected. The days were long and exhausting, but oh so rewarding. Some moments were even overwhelming, but I would not have traded going to ASHA for anything. We strutted our stuff on every red carpet ASHA had to offer and wore our badges proudly. Hayley, Yasmina, Katie, Molly, Lauren, and I made connections and gained valuable information. This jumpstarted our excitement for the future of our careers.
Attending ASHA gave me a lot to think about. I still do not know exactly what avenue I want to pursue indefinitely, but I do know this: I picked my perfect career. As I traipsed around the convention center (in some not-so-sensible shoes), I could picture myself many years into my career and still say that I love it just as much, if not more, as I do now as a young and budding Speech-Language Pathologist. Sure, there have been nights spent in self-doubt and crying until I could not cry any more tears. I feared I would not like myself or who I would become as a professional, but the validation I did not realize I needed presented itself as I stood next to my peers, my professors, and my future colleagues at ASHA. At that moment, I knew everything would be okay. It may not always be easy, and there will still be many more tear-filled study sessions, but I know it will always be worth it because of the strong passion that motivates me to keep going.
As for me and my career goals, I am calling for lights, camera, ASHA!
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
The days leading up to an adventure either fly by or drag on. For me and this trip to California, time was a weird concept. The weeks leading up to departure zoomed by, but the day of the commencement of our trip felt like an eternity. I had everything checked off my list before noon, and my friends were not supposed to arrive until after four. I about drove myself nuts looking at the clock all day. They finally came, and our fun of our ‘SLPeepOver’ could kick off the trip.
Since we basically had a red-eye flight from Detroit to Los Angeles, it made it easier to have everyone stay over to give everyone just a few more hours of sleep. But, we never need much of an excuse to get together, have a smorgasbord of food, facials, and manicures. It does not take much to please six college students, and being together, in general, is entertaining. While it was a sleepover, in theory, the amount of sleep I got constituted more like a nap.
The alarms sounded, a small breakfast was set out, and we rolled out to make our flights. My dad was our chauffeur and dropped us off curbside at Detroit Metro. The dreaded task of getting through security could have been smoother, but by no means was it traumatic. At this point, the six of us split off to catch three different flights and would soon reunite at LAX. My flight took me and my little travel group to Chicago for a quick layover before touching down in Los Angeles. I could not have asked for a better flight. I grabbed an outrageously overpriced BLT for lunch before retrieving our bags downstairs and wait for the other girls to arrive.
Once everyone landed, and luggage was all gathered, we were reunited, and off to catch the first of many Uber rides for this trip. I did not know what to expect from Uber with this being my first Uber experience ever. I have to say it was great, and our driver gave us some pointers on some places to hit in Los Angeles if we had time to sightsee. Sightseeing aside for now; the hotel was the first priority on all of our lists.
Booking a hotel for this trip was an interesting endeavor for me. Proximity, cost, and amenities had to be weighed, and the place that checked all of our boxes was Hotel Normandie in Koreatown. It is a swanky hotel that had preserved its 1920’s architecture and vibes. I do not know about the other girls, but I thoroughly enjoyed the stay and could not have asked for better service from their staff. I highly recommend Hotel Normandie for anyone’s Los Angeles stay.
After getting settled at the hotel and freshening ourselves, it was soon time for us to attend the ASHA First Timer’s Welcome. ASHA puts on this event to give the newbies a rundown of what to expect and a chance to meet new people in the field. The free food was not half bad either. It was amazing to see a room fill up with people who were attending this convention for the first time, and I took it all in because I knew from there on, I would no longer attend that portion of ASHA ever again.
When the evening’s festivities concluded, we were bound for dinner. It came with a high recommendation to check out Myung in Dumplings. Not only did this person tell us it was great, but Anthony Bourdain also gave his seal of culinary approval on it too. It felt good to walk to and from dinner after being cooped up on an airplane for a good majority of the day. It felt like we had lived parts of the day as it was Groundhog Day. With the time changes messing with our heads, we were all looking forward to resorting back to the hotel to get some much-deserved sleep to take on ASHA in high gear the next day.
We were given a teaser for what California and ASHA could provide. I went to bed that night excited to see what else was to come on this trip. This was only the beginning for us because California was calling.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017