Here’s To New Adventures

I’ll never forget the day I graduated high school and reading the infamous Dr. Suess book “Oh The Places You Will Go”. It was a gift I had received back then and have often gone back to read during different times in my life when new adventures had presented themselves. Today I was reminded of the feelings that come with the start of a new adventure.

Imagine my surprise when I heard from one of my favorites at my favorite gym Anytime Fitness saying “We need to meet before Wednesday because I have news”. It just so happened I had just changed into my workout clothes right before she sent it so I said I was already on my way I’ll see you soon. Naturally, when you get a text like that all sort of things go through your mind. Keep in mind, however, for this particular situation, it could be a number of things for this person had become someone very special, like the little sister I never had and we shared a lot so it literally. could. be. anything. A sneaking suspicion though had me believe, she was off on a new adventure. Little did I know how right I was.

Let me take it even a step further to how I know little Miss Meghan of who I write about. She’s a spitfire of a woman who I met when she was a cheerleader for NDSU and was coached by another dear friend of mine. From the moment I met her I knew she had to be cool, I mean one, her name was Meghan and two, she had dark hair like me, so that had to be saying something, but it was her similar attitude and free spirit to mine that made our friendship instantaneous. From there I got to know her in other areas of our lives including with the latest when she came to work at Anytime Fitness and even more of a friendship blossomed.

Today Meghan let me know that she had a beyond exciting opportunity presented to her over the weekend and everything escalated quickly and she’s leaving THIS Wednesday already. Then I saw the emotions I remembered having the first time I ever left this area…excitement, nervousness and sadness all wrapped into one. It’s a GIANT step to move away from a place you know as home. It’s an even scarier step when it’s hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the ones you love dearly, your friends, your family, your everything.

But let me tell you this, the adventure you begin when you do step out on your own for the first time, is worth every obstacle that might come your way. Everything we do is for a reason, each path we take has it’s purpose. Had I not moved to Iowa at one point during my life, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, and frankly I love my life and where I am at right now, and I would not have made nearly half the friendships that I hold so dearly to this day, Meghan included.

Trust that the move you make is the right one for you even if it seems scary, because at the end of the day, you always have your loved ones when you need them and you can ALWAYS go back home. But go enjoy the adventure that awaits you while you can, because when  the best opportunity to move to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Reno, Nashville or wherever life may take you, presents itself, you take it without thinking twice and don’t look back, move forward.

This new adventure awaits you and may God bless you every step of the way. But know that “True friends are never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart.”


Taking A Look Back

Do you remember “The Sunscreen Song” by Baz Luhrmann? The real name of it was “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” but it came out around 1998 and even though he never really sang, the words of inspiration became a hit that have been probably played over and over again at countless graduation ceremonies since. I had not really thought about it until last weekend when I was hanging with a good girlfriend of mine at Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes where lots of winter activities were taking place but there also happened to be helicopter rides.

Sitting outside on an unusually warm winter day enjoying a beverage and the rarity of the sun, we saw a helicopter land on the frozen lake and she turned to me and said, “should we go on a helicopter ride”? I’d never been on one before and neither had she, we thought this could be a fun adventure. In my one moment of hesitation with should I do this, I had the words of the song pop into my head ” do one thing everyday that scares you” and I with no hesitation walked out on to the ice to get a helicopter ride.

The exhilaration I felt stepping into the helicopter let me know I’d made the right decision. If you ever want a new appreciation of the land, of a frozen lake, of nature really, then take a helicopter ride. Even with there being mainly snow, ice, bare trees and Detroit Lakes Mountain to see  it was beautiful up there, breathtaking really. It was like being in your own little world.

After I had been on that small adventure I started thinking more again about the words of Luhrmann’s song and looked up the lyrics again and the story. Did you know that it was actually written by a Chicago Tribune columnist? Her name is Mary Schmich and the column was titled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”. It was an essay she wrote and said she would have given back in 1997 for a commencement speech had she been asked to speak. It was only a year later that director Baz Luhrmann used it on his 1998 album Something for Everybody and it turned into a hit.

In one part of the song it talks about looking back after twenty years have gone by and I realize it’s been twenty years since the essay was written, and I wonder how much of the song has happened to me? Did I heed any advice from it? Does most of it or any of it speak truth? What have I learned in the last twenty years…lets break it down and see.

“Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” Lyrics

Baz Luhrmann

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97
Wear Sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience,
I will dispense this advice, now.”

Part 1 of the advice: Sunscreen might be some of the most solid pieces of advice within this song because it is so true. I wear it everyday, on my face anyway and I have friends who haven’t worn much sunscreen and would tell you now wear it, even if you don’t think you need it.

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth;
oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself, and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked,.”

Part 2: I’m not sure I completely agree with this one 100%. I feel that we can grow like a fine wine and just get better with age. But the real bottom line is love you, always love you. Don’t be so hard on yourself no matter what age you are, because loving yourself is key to allowing yourself to love someone and to be loved.

“You are not as fat as you imagine.” (you really aren’t and never let anyone let  you feel bad about yourself and your size. True beauty lies within you, if you want to make a change then do it for you but don’t do it because someone made you feel bad, you are beautiful no matter what)

“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind;
the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”

Part 3: There will be a day that you look back and think, oh how I wish I had my junior high, high school problems again, because it was nothing compared to the challenge you face now, but have faith you will get through it, no matter how bad it seems at the moment.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you” (and if it’s not everyday, than at least once a week)

“Sing” (even if it’s just in your car, singing is good for the soul)

“Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.” –You’ll know when you are being reckless with someone’s heart and if you are stop, just trust me on that one. But you might not always know when someone is being reckless with yours, that’s what our friends are for. Often we are so close we are blinded by the truth and we need our friends to help us back, even if it hurts trust them.

“Floss” – Check, something I too am trying to get better at.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy;
sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind; the race is long,
and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

-Check, check, check and check. You only got this one life so live it the best way YOU can. 

“Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults;
if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.” – Those insults can go deep so remember that if you start to throw some out yourself. None of us are perfect.

“Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.” –Now a days letters might be emails, either way keep them and if you really want to show a person you care, take the time to write a personal letter, you’ll be surprised how grateful they’ll be and how good it felt to give.

“Stretch” – this bit of advice was not something I really thought about until about a year ago when my IT band flared up and it felt like some of the worse pain I had ever been in. We do eventually start to get a little older but stretching has made a world of difference and I find I’m able to do more than I use to, so stretching, do it.

“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life,
the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives,
some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.” -Just don’t waste your life doing nothing and don’t be dependent upon your parents or others, do make sure to provide for yourself along the way, you’ll feel better about it.

“Get plenty of calcium.”

“Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.”

“Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t,
maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t,
maybe you’ll divorce at 40,
maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary,
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance,
so are everybody else’s.” –Looking at this I tell myself over and over again remember everything happens for a reason, you’re life is headed in the direction it’s suppose to and you’ll get your answers one day it just might not be today or even tomorrow, but one day.

“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can,
don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it,
it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.” A reminder to once again love yourself for who you are not what someone thinks you should be.

“Dance,even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.” and when you have friends to do it with you in the living room, even better.

“Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.”

“Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.” -I once read that while we were busy growing up our parents were also growing old, it’s true, so enjoy the time you have with them, find out about their past and the families past so you don’t question who you are.

“Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.” -Living at home together you might fight, but one day (hopefully) you’ll grow up and get along, sometimes they will end up being your best friends. But regardless they’re family and again, you never know, what if tomorrow never comes.

“Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get,
the more you need the people you knew when you were young.” -Friendships will come and go and that’s okay. Sometimes certain friendships were only meant to help us through different parts of our lives or you theirs. Do your best to know your real friends and rid yourself of the fake.

“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard;
live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” –I can’t say I’ve ever even visited either of these places, but I say you don’t necessarily have to live here to feel like you lived.

“Travel.” – Adventures in life are important, in my opinion more important than possessions. Memories can last a lifetime.

“Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander,
you too will get old and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young
prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.” -Everyone feels this way and perhaps you will too one day if you haven’t already.

“Respect your elders.” -Remember respect is earned not given…but at the end of the day you should always show respect.

“Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse;
but you never know when either one might run out.”

“Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.” -same goes for many things, take care of yourself in general.

“Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal,
wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.” –We will all live and learn but accept some of the advice along the way like this song, because learning from others mistakes, others lessons, can definitely be helpful along the way. But as the essay goes if you take one bit of advice it’s the last one…

“But trust me on the sunscreen.”

Motivation I Found You

About a year and half ago I was running in a 5k when I felt a pain in my knee I had never felt before. At the time I was about 2 miles in so at least I was closer than not to the finish line but at that moment it really felt a long way. I powered through the pain walking letting it subside, some what, then pick up running and it would hurt worse. What seemed liked an eternity I finally crossed the finish line, and limped my way to the vehicle. When I got home and couldn’t even change out of my clothes without crying out in pain I was for sure I had torn something in my knee. But being a little stubborn I waited until Monday to go in to the walk-in Orthopedic and see what I’d have to do. Fearing the absolute worst I was surprised I had not torn a thing but I had flared up my IT Band in my knee. I was also told that it was something that could go away eventually, might come back one day or might continue to have some pain. Thankfully the pain went away but after that I was a little timid to jump back into running so I started slacking at it. 

Cardio had been something I’d been doing for years when all of a sudden I had the fear of the pain coming back holding me back. My strength training increased but my motivation to run had some what disappeared. 

Recently I told myself I really need to start training again for I want to do the Go Far Challenge again at the Fargo Marathon and run the 5k and the 10k. But for some reason I lacked the motivation I once had, that was until recently.

Last week I went into my gym, Anytime Fitness, and found myself getting one of their new heart rate monitors. Who knew such a little object could be the exact motivation I needed! First off I had a little fun with the staff at the 45th Street Anytime Fitness location figuring out my nickname…hey if you’re going to do it might as well have some fun so in the end it was decided and so you know, when you see “Big Pimpin Zee” up on the screen at the gym, that’s me! 

However, I digress, back to the point, so Thursday after I got it I went into the gym for the first time in a long time to just get on the treadmill. You see the treadmill and I have a long history of not always getting along so I’ll often use it for a bit then jump on the elliptical or AMT machine to finish my cardio but surprisingly not this time. 

I talked with the manager in the South Moorhead location who excitedly told me I’d be blown away with how much it will get me to push myself. You see the idea is you see where your heart rate is during your workout and try to reach the percentage of where the color on the TV screen in front of you is orange. My plan was run ten minutes and then move onto the next thing. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and realized I was already a half hour in! Even before my IT Band flared up I barely was on the treadmill. I had never been that excited about what I had done on the treadmill in my life. Not only that after my workout was completed an email was sent to give me a summary of my workout, how many calories I had burned and it gave me points. 

This new little heart rate monitor is a workout game changer for me and I don’t say that lightly at all. It has inspired me to get in three runs already since I got it last Wednesday and I’m already planning my next workout with it for tomorrow. 

Finding that inspiration, finding that motivation for anything in life is so important and sometimes it comes at just the right moment. The heart rate monitor for me could not have come at a more perfect moment. My gym always surprises me and continuously find ways that inspire me and keeps me going. They are my gym family and I love them for helping to always keep me going no matter what! 

If you feel you’re in a slump of any kind and in any aspect of your life, it might be time to ask those around you for that little push. You might find that sometimes it’s the little things, like the heart rate monitor, that will give you the drive once again to go after your goals. 

This is the year to believe, to believe anything can happen. Make it your year I know it’s my plan to make it mine, now go out there…make it happen and believe! I know “Big Pimpin Zee” believes 😉

Just Done

When you get in to your 30’s and beyond, dating gets harder…it does, trust me on that one. That’s not saying there isn’t hope it just gets harder.

For example, I remember why I don’t like dating apps like Tinder. A few days ago after hearing a good story off of it I was convinced to try it again. It turned into a joke. Maybe because of who I am friends with and who I have dated in the past, I question everyone I see as a potential match because at the end of the day are they who they say are? I had an instance over the weekend that again confirmed to me that maybe this whole dating app things isn’t for me…here’s the story.

You flip through on dating apps trying to find a match and then when you do, you’re lucky if you even get a response of any sort even if you say hi first. Why match if you are never going to talk to a person, that is so bizarre to me! Anyway, I’m rambling, I’m good at that, I was looking through and swiped right for a guy who looked to be pretty good looking, was military and seemed decent. Talked a little only to find out he was deployed. But there were a couple red flags, I however, gave the guy the benefit of the doubt.

Then it got to be too much too fast, within less than 24 hours he said he missed me. Ummm, okay. My response was you barely know but hey maybe one day you will miss me for real. But no he was sure he missed me…and RED FLAG. 

After doing some easy research it was easy to find out the pictures were stolen off an Instagram of a guy, who yes is military and yes even had part of the same name, but one he liked guys and even had a boyfriend. Secondly the dating mystery used his last name as his first name, making it easy to trail…maybe he was trying to get caught. Either way I called him out on it and that was it.

I’ll never actually know who I talked to and I’ll probably never want to try a dating app again. So again, like I said before, dating as you get older gets harder and not just because of what happened in this situation but for so many more reasons I won’t even get into. But if you’re having a hard time, you aren’t alone. None of us are. But  like I keep telling myself, patience, they’ll come, it’s just a matter of time. 

There is a plan and one day it will present itself, I believe that. For some of us, the plan just takes a little more time. But for the time being, dating apps…I’m just done. 

Mama Zee

January 10, ten days into the new year or what I like call to my mom’s birthday. A day that I will forever be grateful for because without her I would definitely not be here nor would I be even close to half the person I am today.

Anyone who knows me or has heard me on the radio has heard me tell a story or two of Mama Zee and since it is her birthday it only seems right to share another, one that shows how kind and loving my mom truly is.

To set a precedent of what was expected in our household growing up my mom was as kind as kind could be but she definitely set her standards. Her children were to be well mannered, went to church, studied, worked hard, and never and I mean NEVER were to swear. That was the one thing she was very strict about. Which could be entertaining at times considering dad did use the ocassional swear word. Laughing back at it now there were a few words on the swear word list that were a little suspicious…

  1. Shut up
  2. Suck
  3. Dummy
  4. Hate

and a few others I can’t think of at the top of my head, but as we got older we realized those weren’t “true” swear words those were just words mom thought to be rude so we didn’t say them and to this day they are still words we try not to say around her as we respect she doesn’t like them and she’s right, they aren’t nice words.

But I digress, the story I am really thinking of was about nine years ago. I was doing mornings at the time at Y94 and it was around this time of the year and it all began on a Friday after work.

I had met up with some co-workers for end of the work week drink at our then spot to hang, Tailgators. While we were sitting there I noticed a scratchiness in my throat, which is never a good sign, especially in radio. All I could think was, was great either I’m getting a cold or I am at the start of losing my voice. Needless to say I went home early. Going to bed I woke up the next morning feeling one of the sickest I had ever felt in my life.

I couldn’t move for pain and I was definitely burning up. What the heck was going on with me. At the time I lived in apartments really close to a Hornbacher’s but I could barely get out of bed let alone go to the store to get meds. Oh and did I forget to mention there was a snow storm going on outside, my boyfriend at the time was gone for the weekend and my roommate was at work. So what did I do…I did what any respectable 26 year old would do that time…I called my mommy.

Lets be honest when sick, no matter what age, just talking to mom can make a person feel better. Barely able to lift my head I dialed my cell and called home to figure out what I was going to do. Without a moments hesitation mom said she was on her way and we were going to the ER. I tried to argue saying it was dangerous with the barely visible conditions but I was too weak. Mom made the normal hour long drive in about two. By that time I had mustered up enough energy to at least get some warm clothes on, beyond that forget it, it wasn’t happening, not even a little bit.

She helped me to the vehicle and we are off to the Emergency Room where I learned, despite having a flu shot that year, I had partial influenza. I think the nurses exact words were “I’m sorry but the shot didn’t work for you this time”. Oh goody, words you only hope to hear (I thought sarcastically). But quickly she became my best friend when she gave me the most magical of all shots into my IV. She told me this should hopefully help with the pain and I should feel a warmth come over me…within seconds of her giving it to me a warm sensation went through my body, from my head down to my toes, and the pain was gone. Oh what a glorious moment, one that I can’t even completely describe but trust me, it was amazing.

I was eventually able to go home after a few hours but still feeling weak, mom stayed. She unselfishly stayed for three more days until I was feeling to almost full strength. She made sure I stayed hydrated by pumping me full of fluids, she fed me the appropriate flu food and best of all she washed my sheets and made my bed (one of the best feelings in the world). Even when I said she could go she wouldn’t, she stayed and she’d do it again today if needed. She’s done it for all of her children and many of her loved ones and she’ll do it again and again if needed.

That story is only one small little example of her love, kindness and caring. Her love is unconditional and she has one of the kindest hearts I know. She’s one of my best friends, has always been my biggest fan and I can talk to her about anything. I’ve been told I get my gift of gab from her and that I’m very similar to her in many ways. It’s an honor to be compared to her and I hope that I’m only half the woman she is and always has been.

In honor of her birthday I had to share. If you’re fortunate to have someone love as unconditionally as my mother loves me and my brothers, don’t take it for granted. Tell them thank you whenever you get the chance, hug them as many times possible and never ever EVER miss an opportunity to tell them you love them.

Life is precious so appreciate the ones who are there with you every step of the way. Thanks mom for having my back, for loving me the way you do and for all you do! Happy Birthday mom, I love you!

Along the Way

T-minus 6 days until Eric Church plays his Holdin’ My Own Tour at the Ralph Englelstad Arena so I’ve labeled it “Eric Church Week” at work and the countdown is on. To say I’m excited might be an understatement for more than one reason but those are stories for another time. In true “Megan” concert prep form I’ve been listening to every Eric Church album to brush up on all of the songs again so I can sing along the best (and the loudest) I possibly can at the concert.

It’s always fun to go through all the ones we play on BOB 95 but it’s also fun to remind myself of the other great gems that were never released for air play. The one that has had me thinking all day long and has been played a couple extra times was “Those I’ve Loved”, off his 2009 Carolina album. If you haven’t heard it yet, I recommend listening to it at least once and I mean really take the moment to sit down and just listen. Don’t listen while being distracted, maybe even close your eyes and hear the words.

I was distracted the first time it started to play so I started it from the beginning again, sat back and listened to every bit of it. It gave me goosebumps, especially the very first part when he sings of losing his grandpa. Everyone remembers where they were or when they got the phone call that they lost a loved one. Then it moves onto first loves and how you grew apart and went separate ways. But it was completely about those we “loved along the way”. The song will relate to many if not all.

But it’s not just about the ones we “loved along the way” it’s about how they have helped to mold us into who we are today and it’s so very true. Family, friends, long lost lovers…they all have touched our lives one way or another. Some are a part of our story for as long as they live, a few for only short periods of times and others for as long as we live. Regardless they are part of who we are. Whether you know it or not they have helped you to grow, they have taught you a lesson, they may have even taught you to love. The past is part of who you are. I’m not saying you should repeat your past but I am saying don’t forget what got you to where you are today.

On the road of life, I’ve lost family members, I’ve had to see friends be laid to rest, have had broken friendships and have had my heartbroken and I know I’ve broken a heart or two as well. But in the wonderful lyrics of Eric Church, “And I hope they all know I never would’ve made it this far on my own…if not for those I’ve loved along the way” and to each and everyone of them, good or bad, happy ending or not so happy ending…thank you for helping me to be me.

Now go ahead take a moment and give it a listen, you know you want to.

Lasting First Impressions

Today I read the cutest story about an 18-year-old young man named Grant Kessler from Ohio. His youngest sister posted a picture of him on Twitter where he is at the hospital about to meet their new niece and he’s dressed up in a suit and tie. But it was the reason he was wearing the suit that melted my heart and will yours too…he told his family the reason he showed up to meet his niece for the first in a suit and tie is “because you only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Did you just get chills? Did you just tear up? Did you get emotional? It’s adorable and admirable. Why aren’t we all like that more? He knows and we all know his new born niece is not going to remember that exact moment but everyone around him will and everyone who was touched by this story and I can almost guarantee is thinking I want to do that same thing!

It was a simple gesture but it spoke volumes. It makes me want to put forth that little extra effort no matter where I am. We make first impressions all the time in our lives but don’t even think twice about it because some of them are just in passing. But even if it’s just in passing don’t you want to leave a lasting impression? I sure do, which is why not only do I want to make sure that I look presentable I want to act it as well. How we act can leave just as much of an impressions as how we present our outward appearance, if not more actually.

His caring act wants me to dress up when I meet a friend or relatives new born. It makes me want to be the first to smile when a stranger on the street is walking my way. When I see a person heading into the same building I want to reach the door first just so I can hold open the door for them. If I see someone at the grocery store with fewer items than me I want to let them go ahead of me in line.

First impressions, we make them everyday and most times they are never really remembered. Wouldn’t it be nice to be remembered even if they don’t know your name as the person who did a simple but meaningful gesture and they leave sharing that story with all they know never knowing if you’ll cross paths again but I guarantee if by chance you do, they’ll remember you and it will be in the best way possible.

I’m a simple person, who believes in treating others the way I want to be treated and I feel if we all tried just a little harder with our first impressions as did Grant, then maybe we could leave this world just a little bit better and a little more kind and would that be such a bad thing? So the next time you’re leaving the house, heading to work, running errands or just going to be around people take into consideration making not just any first impression but a lasting first impression, I know I’m going to try.

*Find the full story on Grant Kessler here.