Monday, December 30, 2013

Infinite Shades of Grey...

Anakin Skywalker once said (a long time ago in a galaxy far far away... ha) to former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi: "If you're not with me, then you are my enemy." Or something like that. I don't know, I was way more focused on the fact that they were having an incredible lightsaber battle on a planet COVERED IN LAVA.

What really caught my attention was Obi-Wan's response. He said "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." Now... I don't have a dictionary nearby... but that sounds like an absolute to me. So thank you, George Lucas, for the terrible irony and for the inspiration behind this post.

In my 19 years and some odd months of life it seems like there's way too much of a "one side or the other" mentality in the world. Where you're either with someone or against someone.

Democrat or Republican
Rich or poor
Skinny or fat
Abundant or scarce
All or none
Good or evil

When did the world become so black and white? Why can't one be Independent? Or average weight? Or middle class? Why do people forget that between scarcity and abundance comes "enough"? Or that between all and none there's some?

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Sirius Black tells Harry and company that "... the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters." Which is to say that there isn't solely heroes and villains.

Between good and evil there is innocence and apathy.

There is no divine doctrine that states that you MUST take a side when presented with the option to do so, and I think that this is something that the world would do well to remember every once and a while.

You see, the world isn't simply divided black and white. There is grey. Infinitely many shades of grey (not the book). And if you think about it isn't everyone just their own shade of grey?

I can't think of a single instance where two individuals ideals line up perfectly. That's what makes us human.

What's wrong with being...


Friday, December 27, 2013

New Years Continuations...

This is the third time I've written about an approaching New Year...  so that means I've been blogging for over 2 years. That's a big deal because the only things I've stuck to longer than blogging is viola and Student Council. So I'll start accepting gifts now. Cool thanks.

On Facebook I asked for people to suggest topics for me to write about, so if you suggested something don't panic. I'm still brainstorming, but this post is somewhat obligatory and has been forming in my head for a few months now.

NEW YEARS. It's almost 2014. Holy balls. It's been almost a year since the world was supposed to end (again... I'm looking at you, Y2K) and the world is still very much alive. So that's cause for celebration, I guess.

I've expressed before how little I believe in New Year's Resolutions. I think, for the most part, they are very much mortal, and their life span is usually pretty short. Go to the gym a week from today and it'll probably be packed. Go to the gym in 6 months and it'll be empty because McDonald's drive-thru is much easier to handle. I'm so guilty of this. Let's not even deny it. Holla' at my Freshman fifteen.

However, reflecting back on 2013, I'm pretty pleased with what I accomplished and stuck to. I set myself guidelines instead of resolutions.

I said I wanted to work on thinking before I speak and live by the rules of Karma. I'm pretty satisfied with the progress I've made in those two areas and I plan to keep working on them.

So instead of resolutions or guidelines this year I would like to share with you my list of "New Year's Continuations." Thank you, it's clever, I know. I'm such a genius.

1. Music. This should be a given. I'm going to keep making music. It's one of the few things I'm halfway decent at, and it makes me so happy. Did I mention that I can keep my performance major and pursue my psychology major at the same time now? Yeah. Super jazzed about that. That means more more job / grad school opportunities... and God knows I need all the opportunities I can get.

2. Leadership. I'm going to keep exhibiting and enhancing leadership skills both in and outside of school. I recently was hired to work as a facilitator at Mizzou's Venture Out, a complex that specializes in group team building via the use of low and high ropes courses. Google it, the pictures on their website make it look way cooler than I can make it sound by writing about it.

3. Writing. Obviously. It's how I stay connected with a lot of people and it's a way for me to express myself and relieve stress / vent. I don't know where I'd be without it.

4. Tweeting really stupid stuff. It gets exceptionally dumber between the hours of midnight and 4 AM. Feel free to follow me @HannszKetchup (yes I am shamelessly promoting my Twitter right now. Sue me).

5. Burying hatchets and burning bridges. Whatever the situation calls for. I live by the saying that everyone you meet is a blessin' or a lesson. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two. I hope to reconnect with people whose bridges I burned and probably burn bridges and cut off communication with people that aren't good for me. We'll see where life takes me.

6. Meeting new people. It's one of my favorite things to do. How would I have met my best friends if I hadn't taken the chance to just say hello and start a single conversation? Funny how the world works.

7. Continue to foster the relationships I already have. I especially look forward to this one. A lot can happen in a year and I'm excited to see who still stands by my side and whose side I'll stand by when 2014 comes to its end. They say you'll meet some of your lifelong friends in college. I think that statement is true, though I hope I met a few of them beforehand too. Wink wink you know who you are nudge nudge you know what I mean.

8. Make mistakes. I'm human, and while perfection is always the goal, it'll never be reached. I make mistakes (though I don't like to admit it when I do). Everyone makes mistakes. Don't deny it. I think it's one of the best ways to learn. Mistakes lead to experience and experience leads to wisdom.

9. Continue to strive for self-actualization. Once I have come to terms with my personal potential I can then turn to helping the people around me without worrying about myself.

10. Try and change the world. I don't care on how large of a scale I do it, whether I revolutionize all of humanity or change the life of one person for the better. Either one would be equally satisfying. I'll keep at this goal until the day I die.

I picked these things because I think they are all things I can incorporate into everyday life.

So here's to a new year (almost). I hope you all had a good holiday!

Love always,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

5 Things I Learned by Being a Musician and/or StuCo Kid...

You'll never meet a person who's more satisfied with what they were involved in during high school than I am. The funny part is that in high school I wasn't involved in a whole lot. Orchestra, Student Council, and Choir.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences I had during these activities. I got to serve the community, travel to Boston, place 2nd in a national competition with my high school orchestra, be one of the first orchestra to play in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City, achieve the status of being one of the top ten high school violists in the state of Missouri, be a camper and then a leader at the best summer camp on earth ran by the best organization on earth, and through all of these things I got to become friends with some of the most inspiring, talented, kind-hearted, genuine, fun-loving people I'll ever meet.

But on top of all those things, I most value the life skills I learned from my time on Student Council and the effort I put in every day as a musician. So I've decided to compose a list of 5 things I learned by being a musician and a StuCo kid.

1. Being spontaneous isn't always a bad thing. In fact being spontaneous and being able to think on your feet are incredibly valuable. I find it hard to believe that every plan a person makes will follow through. That would imply perfection and I think that perfection is a myth (which I will discuss in detail later). When a plan you set doesn't work sometimes you don't have time to think of a new one. You have to make a decision right then and there and then work with the consequences (either good or bad) of that decision.

2. You should always aim for perfection and also be perfectly content with the fact that you'll never reach it. That sounds depressing, I know, and it had a negative resonance in my head when I thought of it but at the same time I think it's pretty empowering. If you always strive for perfection then you are guaranteed to give 100% effort at whatever you do. If you accept the fact that you'll never reach perfection then you will learn to be satisfied with the results you obtain when you've given 100% of your effort.

3. Keep your friends close. I met my two best friends because of music and StuCo and I've made a multitude of other invaluable friends who consistently inspire me and push me to be a better person. These people mean the world to me and I couldn't live my life the way I do without them. Even when they're hundreds of miles away I still keep in touch with them. Thanks, technology.

4. Express yourself. Whether it's through music, blogging, dancing, painting, or another form, self-expression is vital to being who you are. Because if you express who you are it allows the world to embrace who you are as well.

5. Be who you want to be. And whatever you want to be, be a damn good one. Nobody should be the sculptor of your life but you, and if the clay is on your potter's wheel then sculpt away! Create a masterpiece that you deem worthy of your creation.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Say Something...

Incoming Sappy Post About Thanksgiving Ahead

There. I warned you. 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays (Have I said that already?). I like the Fourth of July because I get to blow stuff up. I like New Years because it marks a time for me to start over and start writing a new chapter of my life.

I really like Thanksgiving because it's a time for me to reflect on what I'm thankful for... and to conceive another food baby. 

Yes, I know I said pretty much the exact same thing in my post earlier this week. I'm not going to repeat myself and talk about how thankful I am for the things I'm lucky enough to have in my life. 

I actually want to talk about the antithesis of Thanksgiving... Black Friday. I'm kidding... well, not really. Black Friday is arguably the antithesis of Thanksgiving. I mean... you spend a whole day being thankful and then not even 24 hours later you're out buying more stuff that you're probably not going to mention 364 days from now when it's time to stuff your face again.

I really want to talk about the antithesis to the concept of Thanksgiving: taking things for granted. 

I think it's safe to say that everyone and their mother has taken something for granted before. It's practically the unwritten American way. 

I personally take the fact that I have the freedom to write all of this down for granted, because not everyone is at the liberty to say whatever they want. 

I think one thing that a large portion of people take for granted though is other people. 

Take a minute to think. Is there a person in your life that you are close to or used to be close to? Do you talk to that person often? If not, why? 

There could be an endless reasons why, I suppose. Distance. Lack of time. It may not even cross your mind. 

I think that's the problem, though. We, as humans, are very social creatures capable of forming deep and intimate bonds with others. 

Yet at the same time I think we too easily neglect the bonds that we once so gently fostered. 

Why do two best friends just stop talking? When there was no fight, no falling out? Why do we let life so often get in the way? Something as trivial as school or work shouldn't get in the way of something as significant as friendship. I don't talk to my best friend every day. Do I wish I did? Oh hell yeah. And it shouldn't be that difficult. 

A lot of people say that today's technology inhibits social interaction. They say that it's not as "real" as face to face conversation. They might be right. But when face to face conversation isn't always an available option wouldn't it be better to fall back on " less real" interaction with important people than to just not interact with them at all?

In this day and age it's so easy to pick up your phone and tell someone "Hey, bud, have a great day." Boom. Easy. If the conversation progresses from there then great. Converse. If they reply back with "Thanks, you too!" then at least you interacted with them, and chances are you don't make someone's day worse by wishing them a good day. Ya know? 

It confuses me, really, how willingly people let their connections with other falter and eventually become severed. 

It just kind of seems like a lot of time was wasted, ya know?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Good Life...

I won’t say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (holla’ at me Fourth of July and New Years Eve) but I can’t deny that I do appreciate the premise of the day. 

I’m a little confused about it, though. Why do we have a holiday dedicated to being thankful? Shouldn’t we be thankful for anything and everything we have every day? 
Regardless, I like to dedicate a day out of my typically busy year to just reflect on everything I’ve been blessed with. So I figured hey, why not write about it? Ha. It’s my blog. I can write what I want.

Things Tyler is Thankful For
By: Tyler, conveniently 
My musical ability. It sounds snotty, I know. And I know I often complain about the fact that I’m not athletic (I just want a hot bod), but I truly love being so in tune with music (pun completely intended). It makes me unique and gives me a way to relieve stress and express myself in a creative way. Do I want to make a career out of it? Not necessarily, but I don’t know who I’d be without my ability to make music. 
My family. I don’t express my appreciation towards them enough, but they’re truly incredible (and slightly crazy) people. I don’t think I could ask for a better support system during my adventure through college. Nobody else in the world pushes me to succeed as much as they do.
My friends and family from MASC. I don’t think I could have asked for better people to be in my life. MASC has had an impact on my life that I can’t even hope to put its entirety into words. I went to a summer camp hosted by these incredible people and as a result I’ve met my best friend, my energetic Council E, my krazy Kouncil K, and 52 of the most inspirational teenagers I’ve ever been lucky enough to become friends with, all while getting to work with hundreds of the most influential student leaders in the state of Missouri. 
The ability to empathize with others. Simply put, I know I want to use this ability to help people in whatever way I can.
My school. I love being a tiger… I hate paying to be a tiger… but I guess I’ll deal with it. I get to go to school with some people who are going to be the next great movers and shakers of the world, and it’s so incredibly exciting. I know I’m at the right place to make a better life for myself and, by extent, work on bettering the lives of others. 
All of the people in my life. Everyone I’ve met has proven to be a friend for life or a lesson for life, and they’ve all shaped who I am. So if you’ve put in the effort to be my friend, thank you. I’m a better person because of you If you’ve screwed me over, thank you. I’m a wiser person because of you.

There’s my list. Short, sweet, and simple. Have a happy Thanksgiving everybody, and eat lots of food and get really fat!

Just don’t forget your stretchy pants. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Will Not Cry For You...

In my last post I talked about a test I took to discover what my strengths were as a leader. My highest rated strength was empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. I want to express the difference between empathy and sympathy, because they are two very different things. If somebody can empathize it means they understand what a person is feeling. They understand a person's struggles because they too have struggled or they can imagine to some degree what another individual is experiencing. Sympathy, on the other hand, requires no understanding. Sympathy is feeling pity in regards to another person's misfortune.

I do not sympathize often, especially when someone's sorrow is self-inflicted. I don't believe that sympathy is constructive in most scenarios. Especially in college. 

You got drunk and were issued an MIP? Too bad. Don't drink. 

You failed a test because you went out every night this week and didn't study? Ouch. You could have avoided that one.

You have a million things going on and you feel like you don't have time to accomplish everything? I totally get what you're going through. I've found that if I block out my time it allows me to be way more on top of all of the assignments I need to complete. Want any help?

I think a major problem with society is that people crave sympathy. Something in their life sucks and they want the world to sit down and cry with them. Sometimes that's helpful. Most of the time it's not. 

I'm a strong advocate of the theory that it's better to tell people the painful truth than it is to tell them a numbing lie. Antibiotics may sting but they kill the infection. A band-aid will just cover it up. 

I pride myself on being able to be blunt with people. That makes me sound like an asshole, I know, and maybe I am. But I'd rather be the asshole that tells someone what they need to hear so they can have a better future than be the person that tells a lie so as to temporarily fix the present. 

I like to call it tough love. 

College is full of people that need tough love, myself included. This is a time where we make mistakes, and we're supposed to learn from them, not a place for us to expect people to feel bad for our mistakes and then go make the same mistakes again.

I really like the way my viola professor explained it to me in a lesson a few weeks ago. She said that it's perfectly okay to make mistakes, as long as the mistake is made one time. After that it's up to you to notice the mistake, learn from it, and fix it. If you make a mistake a second time and you made it the same way you did the first time it's not a mistake. 

It's a choice. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Boat...

I'd just like to say that I'm sitting on top of Cloud 9 right now. Way up high in the sky looking down at the world. As long as I don't get hit by a plan (literally or figuratively, I guess) I think I could be in the running for happiest poor college student in the world. My best friend stayed with me two weekends ago. Two of my favorite people in the whole world were here this last weekend. I'm going to be home for a day and a half this upcoming weekend. I have an interview to be a facilitator at a team building ropes course on Thursday. And on top of that I think I'm starting to figure out exactly what I want to get out of college. 

That's not what I wanted to write about, I just need a way to release some of my excitement or I'm never going to get to bed. 


During my Emerging Leaders Program last week we discussed our strengths. Before the session started all of the members were tasked with taking a quiz called "Strengths Quest." I answered well over a 100 questions about myself and from those questions I was told what my top 5 strengths were out of a list of 34 different options. Some of them I found pretty shocking. They were (in order from lowest to highest):

5: Adaptability. People who "go with the flow." They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time. I won't say I'm completely surprised. For the most part I like structure, but I'm fully aware that most of my plans don't work out... so I guess that makes me adaptable. It wouldn't have been something I would have guessed would be in my top 5, but hey I answered the questions so I guess I can't argue it.

4: WOO. WOO stands for "Winning Others Over." I read this and immediately I got a negative vibe from it. I read "Winning Others Over" as "Manipulating the Feeble Minded In Order to Make Them Be Your Slave Monkeys." Okay I didn't word it like that, but you get what I mean. The description let me exhale a sigh of relief, though. People talented in the WOO theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person. I won't deny that I am kind of sappy when it comes to making connections with people. The connections I form with people are the most important things I have. Thought I try not to be a manipulative person. I have no aspirations to be a politician. Heh.

3. Communication. These people generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words (Hey! Look what I'm doing right now!). They are good conversationalists and presenters. I was a little surprised this one didn't score higher. I think it's safe to say I'm no stranger when it comes to being a communicator. Although my communication skills tend to get me in trouble sometimes... at least when it's blunt and sarcastic means of communication. But it's also important to me personally. I need to communicate with people, it makes me feel tranquil. And if they don't communicate back I stress out a bit (a lot, really). Hey. Nobody's perfect. Hannah Montana taught me that. She also taught me how to ride a wreck- moving on.

2. Strategic. People talented in this area create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. I'm a decent problem solver (unless it's music theory. That's just a problem that requires divine intervention). I guess this also kind of fits in with adaptability. I wasn't expecting this one to score so high, but I wasn't surprised either. It's a valuable skill, and I'm glad I have it.

1. Empathy. Literally everyone that reads that empathy was my highest laughs, and I guess I can't blame them. Sarcasm and dry humor don't usually mix with "empathy," but I count on my friends that know me well to see my empathetic side a little better. People talented in the empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' situations. I'm empathetic, but not always sympathetic. I don't find pity to be useful or empowering. I think empathy is an effective means of bonding with people, though. Use of empathy leads to enlightenment in the sense that you can better understand the people that surround you. If you understand someone you can bond with someone, and I think I've established how I value my emotional connections with other people.

After we read about our top 5 strengths we were given a sheet of paper with a picture of a boat on it. Our job was to take our 5 strengths and decide which one was the anchor, oars, sail, boat, and rutter.

The anchor is what keeps you grounded.

The oars are what push you along and keep you going.

The sail is what the wind in your sail is.

The boat is the base of who you are.

The rutter is what guides you.

I decided that my anchor was my communication. When I'm stressed and I need to ground myself and pull my head out of the clouds I talk to people. I write. I just have to express what's running through my head to make room for new thoughts. My mind is a very hectic and cluttered place.

My oars are my adaptability. No matter what happens I remind myself that I need to go with the flow and keep moving forwards. Reminiscing on troubles in my past doesn't lead to progress. I have to adapt to the situation and push forward.

My sail is my WOO. When I can, I try and let my social skills push me forwards. It makes for an easier voyage. I can't always rely on it, but I like to use it when I can.

My rutter is strategy. I like to count on the fact that I can analyze a situation and develop a solution, and that allows me to guide myself through rougher waters. I like to keep moving but sometimes it's more beneficial to sit down, take a deep breath, and develop a plan of action. Spoken like a true silver.

My boat is empathy. My ability to understand the needs and emotions of others is what makes me who I am. It has ultimately gotten me to where I'm at now, and I like where I'm at now. People sometimes laugh when they say I want to be a guidance counselor (it's all that damn sarcasm), but I think that my empathy is exactly why I want to be one. Despite my blunt tendencies, I understand people. I want to help people, not sit on the sidelines and pity them. 

I like that college is allowing me to strengthen the idea of who I want to be. I feel like I learn something new about myself everyday, and I still have 7.5 (ish) semesters to go. Here's hoping I learn even more every day from here on out.


-- JewFro

Sunday, October 20, 2013


If you’re not in high school I’m going to ask you to remember something for me (if you are still in high school or have yet to enter high school you can just pretend). 

Think back to the days leading to the end of your senior year. Whatever day you got to spend signing people’s yearbooks and leaving messages about how much you were going to miss that person, well wishes for a good summer, and how “they better keep in touch with you once you go to college, dammit, because you’re like BFFs for life and they’re your favorite person in the whole wide world.”

How many people times did you write “I’ll miss you!”? How many of those people cross your mind on a daily basis? When was the last time you called them, texted them, or established contact? 

I’m by no means trying to be accusatory. I am just as guilty as everyone else, if not more. 

I’m also in no way saying you need to text your best friend from 3rd grade every day and explain your days to each other in agonizing detail. 

Life gets in the way sometimes. You go from having 4 classes a day together in high school to being separated by hundreds of miles because the job market is practically demanding a higher education (Thanks, Obama). You promise that you’ll call each other every day, and you do. For a while. And then you can’t because you have to study, or write a paper, or you just forgot. It happens. And then after a while you might move on. 

I think I’m one of the lucky few. Up until college there was an entire state between me and my best friend. Now there’s only half a state, because my college decision allowed me to move closer. So my best friend / brotha’ from anotha’ motha’ was with me for the weekend. I am fully aware that I’m one of the few who have that opportunity. 

You would think that, considering the leaps and bounds we’ve made in technology, staying in touch with people would be easier. We’d communicate with our friends across the state / country / world more often. The little rectangle that never leaves our side is a gateway to people everywhere. Yet instead of interacting with people we elect to cyber stalk them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine (well... Vine’s gone to the crapper... so not Vine, really). It’s easier, it’s quicker, and we don’t have to wait for them to respond. 

I’m not saying we’re doing anything wrong, as a society. It’s part of who we are. I really have no idea what I’m trying to say at all, if we’re being honest. And if we’re being really honest I’m writing this because I got sick of studying for the midterm I’m about to take in less than 12 hours. 

All I’m really saying is that I pass people I went to high school with almost every day while I’m walking to class, and neither of us really make the effort to acknowledge the other. 

So maybe we should put a little more thought into what we write in someone’s yearbook, ya know?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Just Wanted Some Dinner, Man...

This is a post that will consist of me venting a little bit. Just a warning.


I learned another life lesson today. And by that I mean "I had another lesson that has been crammed down my throat since I could talk reaffirmed today."

Life can pick some pretty weird times to sucker punch you right in the face. Like when you're waiting in line at a Mexican Grill for dinner at 10:30 PM on a Wednesday (can I get a HUMP DAAYYYYYYY?) night.

No, this isn't me going into detail about how I was metaphorically assaulted by fate. This post also won't contain an explanation as to why I waited until 10:30 at night to eat dinner at a Mexican Grill (the tacos were quite good, though).

All I'm going to say is that someone played a joke on me. And while I love jokes almost as much as I love poop related humor and Spongebob Squarepants (Which are two of my favorite things in the whole world), sometimes jokes can be taken too far.

You see, you never know exactly what a person is going through, especially if you don't know them that well. And sometimes your attempts at humor can be interpreted as something far from humorous (like your radius, for example... ha. Anatomy pun. Oh I should get out more).

I know that this makes me sound like a hypocrite. I practically invented blunt / brutal humor. But this is as much a slap on my wrist as anyone else's. I have no right to tell people that what they're doing is right or wrong.

I do have a right to vent though, and that's what I'm doing. That's the perks of owning a blog. I CAN SAY WHATEVER I WANT ON HERE.

Well... within legal limits established by the United States government.

Okay. I feel better.

Goodnight everyone! Stay in school, kids!

-- Tyler

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Why Do I Write...?

The other day someone asked me why I blog. You would think that I would have an answer to that question ready to go at a moment's notice... but I had to think about it.

And think about it.

And I'm still thinking about it. I have no idea why I blog. 

I don't write to entertain people. 

I don't write to prove a point.

I have no aspirations to persuade anyone to think or do anything. 

So why do I blog? Why do I shamelessly write down the thoughts in my head for the whole world to read, if they so chose to?

Some people tell me it's brave to write about my life. Some people call me stupid. I'm honestly probably a little bit of both. 

The answer to the question "Why do I blog?" will probably remained unanswered. I have no reason. So maybe I should just stop.

Totally kidding.

I don't know why I do it, true. But writing for me is something therapeutic. At the end of a stressful point in my life I can just blow off steam. If something good happens to me I can share my elations with the world. Maybe that's why I write, then: It makes me feel content. 

There's something about creating a post that is just incredibly satisfying. It's something that I fabricated completely on my own. Each post is 100% mine. The stuff people read is all Tyler all of the time. 

There's something comforting about that. This is one of the few places where I can be entirely me.

And you know what? I like being me. College taught me that. I enjoy being me because I'm the only me there is. Gone are the days where I feel like I have to be something for someone. If I'm something for someone it's because I want to be that something for that someone. Not because I felt like I had to change who I am to fit in.

God, college is awesome. I think I've learned more outside of class time than I have during classes.

This is kind of a choppy conclusion.

There. Post over.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Life on a Tin Platter...

They say you learn things about yourself in college. Here's something I learned very quickly: I am not a party goer so, mom and grandma, if you're reading this, you can breathe easy now.

Everyone's going out tonight. So here I am!

My birthday was three days ago. Now, I'm new to the college world. But from birth through high school I've always been under the impression that the birthday fairy follows you around all day (invisible) and makes your special day as perfect as can possibly be.

College taught me that this is so far from true. There's no such thing as a birthday fairy. Fairies aren't real, apparently.

There is no magical law that demands the universe to make everything fall into perfect alignment on your day of birth.

Why yes, I did have a slightly sour day on my birthday, thanks for asking.

You know, that's life though. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. And if you fall down you have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. So I spent most of my birthday in a car driving back to school and in a doctor's office. It happens. Hopefully I'll have plenty more birthdays. And, because I believe every cloud has a silver lining if you're willing to look for it, I even got to go out the next night and celebrate the next day with some really awesome people.

Moral of the story: Life won't always hand you life in a silver platter.

Sometimes the platter is made out of tin. You just have to appreciate the fact that it still shines.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm a Tiger...

So I turn 19 Monday.What. I must say I’ve been legitimately worried about transitioning into the college life. I was fifty percent worried I wouldn’t eat my normal seven meals a day (only mildly exaggerating) and fifty percent worried that I would spend all of my time alone in my room. This post will probably end up being incredibly boring... so if at any time you feel like you’re about to fall asleep don’t hesitate to close out of this page... I won’t mind.

So like I said... I was worried about transitioning into college. I don’t think any of my fears were unjustified, I was just anxious to start a new chapter of my life. But a combination of Nutella, buttered popcorn, Grand Theft Auto, and some insanely awesome people have made this transition far from painful.

I love college... for the most part. There’s something about Columbia, Missouri that’s just incredibly magical. The atmosphere is electrifying. The freedom is refreshing. Agnes the ghost lives in my room (don’t doubt it, campers, she’s really here) and that’s partly obnoxious but at the same time nostalgic. 

There’s just enough of my past life that I was able to bring along with me (My viola, friends from camp, my best friend from Liberty, and lots of photos) that keep me comfortable. At the same time there’s so much new stuff (mostly new people) that keeps my life exciting. 

There’s a certain bliss to being a people person in college. I feel like I’m meeting someone new everyday, which is probably far from unheard of at Mizzou. There’s a population of 30,000 people (don’t quote me on that) on this campus... which means there’s 30,000 people for me to potentially meet and befriend. The opportunities are endless. I’ve found my way into a group of friends (most of whom reside in the same res hall as me) that make me laugh on a daily basis. 

Of course nothing can be perfect, and this time of my life is no exception. I won’t deny that I’m not a huge fan of my major. I thought viola performance would be the right fit for me. I realize I haven’t been here for too long (2 weeks and 2 days, actually) but so far I’m just not getting into it. It’s hard to find the motivation to go into a practice room, and I’m expected to practice three hours a day for six days a week. That’s a lot. I’m still passionate about music, and music is still an important aspect of my life, but I don’t think I was meant to be a performer or a teacher. I’m going to stick it out for the semester though. That gives me a few months to test the waters. I’ve always been told that college is a time for me to discover who I am. Past Tyler would have spent every waking moment worrying about this situation. I’m not worried. I have plenty of passions left for me to try out. Specifically I think I want to try my hand at writing or counseling. There’s a feeling in my gut telling me that one of those areas could be the thing for me to do. 

I don’t want to sound carefree, but at this point I just want to go where my road leads me, instead of trying to build my own. It’s a little scary, yes, but hey, so is life. I choose to focus on the positives: I’m in an awesome town, at an amazing school, spending every day with amazing people that consistently challenge me to be a better me. I don’t think I would have gotten this from any other school, so I’m content in knowing that Mizzou was the right choice for me. I’m absolutely in love with my school.

I don’t know where my future leads. But I am confident that I like where it’s headed. Mistakes I make will be mistakes I learn from, and any triumphs will boost my confidence. I’m ready for the future.

I hope you’re having an amazing day, and I wish that many more in your immediate and distant future.

Tiger pride!

-- Tyler 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Can't Think of a Good Title...

I'm not gonna lie. The thought of college for the past few days has scared the absolute poop out of me. I'm on a campus with 30,000 other kids and very minimal adult supervision.

I didn't do a whole lot of mental preparation for this transition. I'm not gonna lie, when people told me that this is a new chapter of my life I didn't 100% believe them. This is quite the transition, though.

Please note: This isn't me complaining. Not one bit. Despite this new chapter of my life sneaking up on me, I am completely happy. My best friend is here, there are 12 other JCs here, and I'm meeting new people every day. The people on my dorm floor are friendly. The people that aren't on my dorm floor are friendly.

There's something about the atmosphere in Columbia that just makes me feel so alive. I can't wait to start making music in this new atmosphere. I can't wait to start down the next part of the path that is my life.

The people I have by my side at Mizzou are some of the best friends you could ever dream of. On top of that I have friends and family all across the state and in many parts of the nation that support me as well, and I support them.

I know that there will be tough times in college. Those 15 required foreign language credits are going to make me want to sit in a corner and cry / pull my hair out of my head. But I know I can do it.

I know that I have people cheering for me. They may not be here with me in person, but they are with me in spirit, and their support means more than the world to me.

It's getting late, so I'm going to go to bed now. I have a lot of work to do, because I have a whole life ahead of me that I need to live.

Goodnight, everyone!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Shouldn't I Look Back...?

So I'm sitting here packing all of my underwear (B.U.M brand, in case anyone reading this gets the inside joke) and I think it's finally starting to settle in. I'm about to start a brand new chapter of my life. I'm about to (hopefully) go out and conquer my future and pursue my dreams and make a name for myself. 

A lot of people have been telling me that I should focus on my future and not spend a lot of time looking at my past, because this is a chance for me to start over.

As nice as that sounds, I don't think that's what I want to do. I've spent a majority of the past two days reflecting on my summer, and just how much I've been blessed these past 3 months. 

There were so many things I was lucky to experience this summer: and I'm just going to allow you to see them via photograph. 

Why would I not want to look back on any of these moments? They're memories I'll carry with me forever. My summer has practically been perfect. I've spent ungodly amounts of time with the friends I love and I've managed to liberate myself from the people and things in my life that are holding me back. 

I feel so content right now. The anticipation for the next chapter of my life is killing me. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Swan Song and the Phoenix Ashes...

In a way I feel as if my weekend with the MASC JCs (you shouldn't be shocked at all that I'm talking about the JCs again) was my swan song.

The term "swan song" derives from the legend that swans, who are mute their entire lives, sing one beautiful, yet mournful, song just before they die.

Morbid, I know. However there were hints of beauty and mourning (at least for me personally) in that weekend. That weekend was beautiful because it was the most appropriate ending to a chapter of my life that I can think of. It was mournful because I think that by the time I got home I felt like you feel when you finish your favorite book series: You're emotionally exhausted and you have no idea where you're supposed to go from there.

While that weekend is comparable to a swan, I think it's also fair to compare it to a phoenix. The lore behind the phoenix is that when it dies, it erupts into flames and is then reborn from the ashes.

I think that weekend was my flame, and college will be the ashes. I know that with the assistance of hundreds of people I've started to discover who I am and who I want to be.

The next phase for my journey for self discovery is college. I am glad to say that a lot of important people in my life are coming with me to college. No journey goes without burden, though. Most of the people I love will not be coming with me to college.

That is why it is important that I rise from my own ashes.

For some reason, I want to shed my musician status. I don't want people to look at me and think "That's Tyler, he does music." I know that sounds weird coming from a music performance major.

No, I want people to see me and hopefully the first thing that goes through their head will be that I made them feel like somebody who matters. That means I have work to do.

So first things first, I am changing the title of this blog. My blog is now named "Smile: You're Going to Change the World."

A new title that is appropriately named after a new me. A new me with new goals.

The figurative death of my past life is necessary to be figuratively reborn into a new life. A life full of happiness, mystery, friends, and passion. A life that will be dedicated to seeing other people smile.

So remember...

Smile: You're going to change the world.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The 15 Most Inspirational People I've Met That Can't Legally Consume Alchol

I've been wanting to make this list for a while, but I've never been sure exactly who I want to put on it.

So as to respect the privacy of the people I've chosen, I've opted not to put their names on here. A lot of them know who they are. 

If you really MUST know who someone on the list is, you may contact me privately.

An example of how to inquire who someone on the list is: "Hey! I was just wondering if you could tell me who number (insert number here) is?" If I feel you should know, I'll tell you.

DO NOT do this: "Hey, so am I on your list?" That's awkward. Don't be that person, please. I'm begging you.

1. This person is one of the funniest and most laid back people I have ever met. But at the same time this person truly cares about others. I never thought I would become good friends with this person. When I first met them they were a role model for over 600 people, including myself. I never dreamed I would work alongside this person as a role model for 600 more kids. I undoubtedly put this person on a pedestal, but that’s only because they deserve to stand above the world and let their light shine for everyone to see. Too bad they live on the other side of the state.

2. Person number two is one of the most genuinely thoughtful people I have ever met. She puts anyone and everyone before herself. She was another role model, like I mentioned above. Nobody understands my love for all things Spongebob quite like this person. I’ve not had many face to face interactions with her, but it feels like we’ve been friends for years. I know that I can go to this person for anything. I aspire to be as fun and caring as this person. Again, she lives on the other side of the state... and I hate it.

3. I’m not entirely sure this person likes me very much. We don't talk a lot, but I feel like I know them pretty well. We've spent a good chunk of time together, considering we both live on opposite sides of the state, but we're not particularly close. However, there is a character trait that I deeply admire about them: It doesn't matter how tough the job is, and it doesn't matter how many obstacles stand in her way. She gets the job done. 

4. This next pick is actually a small group of people. Three people, actually (and now they know that I'm talking about them). But I think that these three people understand me better than anyone else, especially since we just started hanging out this summer. They're three of my best friends in the world, and I don't think anyone understands how blessed I feel to be able to have these three in my life. Our friendship is as natural as breathing. I have no idea what I'm going to do when I move away from two of them. We can talk about anything with each other. We can sit around and not talk at all. Either way we're making memories with each other. It's magical.

5. This person has every reason to throw in the towel. But they don't. They're strong both mentally and emotionally, and they can find any cloud's silver lining. They have a huge heart and can make the best of any situation. I'm not sure how else to word it.

6. This person I've been friends with off and on. We're not on the best of terms right now, but I can't deny that they've taught me a lot. Mostly that sometimes it's okay to mellow out and let your worries melt away. Maybe one day we can sort out our differences. Here's hoping.

7. Person number 7 has the capacity in her heart to love everybody. She refuses to see the bad in people, because she truly believes that the good is far more superior. She cares about everyone and makes the world smile. I wish I could be half the person she is. She is truly wonderful.

8. This person has been one of my best friends for a while now, and she's probably the only person I know who is more passionate about music than I am. She's literally going to college to follow her dreams of singing for a living, and I know she can do it. The only thing more beautiful than her voice is her soul. She isn't afraid to be honest, but at the same time she knows just what to tell someone to make their day instantly better. 

9. This person has come to mean more than the world to me. He's my best friend and our personalities and opinions are complete opposites. If we can be friends despite our differences than Congress has no excuse to not be getting stuff done, dammit. I think at times this person annoys me to the point that I want to leap off a bridge, but at the same time I would jump in front of a bullet for them. Their consistently chill outlook on life is the perfect balance for my uptightness. We're like salt and pepper. 

10. This girl is one of the toughest people I've ever met. She's another one of my best friends, and there's not a person in the world who I act crazier around. She knows how to have fun, despite having her share of struggles. 

11. I think the simplest way to describe this person is that her personality makes the whole world want to dance. I'm not sure how else to describe her. She's fun and she's not afraid to be herself. 

12. I met this guy last year and now he's one of my favorite people in the world. He doesn't say a lot, but his personality is infectious. He's one of those people that makes all of your worries disappear because he is a leader that lives in the moment. I'm glad I'm moving to Columbia, because it's going to make visiting this person a million times easier. 

13. I just recently started talking to this person (like this past weekend), despite having worked with them for a week in June. I never realized until this past weekend, though, just how good of a job he does of making other people happy. He's truly a selfless person, and an incredible leader. The best part is how effortless he makes it look, though. 

14. I met this girl last summer as well, and to this day she is arguably the nicest person I've ever met. She's the first person to volunteer when someone needs help with anything, AND I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CAMPERS TO MEET HER SO HA TO EVERYONE ELSE. 

15. If there's a person who can rival person #14 in kindness, it's this girl. She's quiet, but she cares deeply for the well being of other people. She's also ridiculously talented when it comes to expressing herself, and I know the world should hear what she has to say.

The end.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Thinking of you, wherever you are...

So I'm a geek and I have played the Kingdom Hearts video game series since it came out. The games themselves are completely irrelevant to what I wanted to write about. There's one quote that is said in the game, though, that sticks with me. The quote goes like this:

"Thinking of you, wherever you are.
 We pray for our sorrows to end,
 and hope that our hearts will blend.
 Now I will step forward to realize this wish.
 And who knows:
 starting a new journey may not so hard
 or maybe it has already begun.
 There are many worlds,
 but they share the same sky-
 one sky, one destiny."

I can't deny that I'm having difficulty grasping the fact that the people I've grown so close to and I are starting to forge our own individual paths. That's life, and it's a game you have to play. Of course, the old cliche goes that "life isn't fair" and unfortunately a combination of student loans and the fact that Doritos are bad for my health have taught me that this cliche is horribly true. 

It pains me to think that some of my best friends in the world, the people in the world I love more than anything else in the world (including Doritos... so this is a pretty big freaking deal) I've spent at max a total of 17 days with. At minimum I've spent a little over 8 days of my life with them. 

My feelings towards this realization are mixed. On the one hand of course it makes me sad that I've spent such a small amount of time with people who mean so much to me. On the other hand I'm pretty dang proud of the relationships I've formed. 

I meant to say this over the weekend (both on my last post and out loud) but I've taken a strange comfort in knowing that the people that matter to me will forever stand under the same sky that I do. And when it's dark out I can look up and see the same stars that they do. It makes the distance seem less significant and it gives the illusion that our vast world isn't quite as overwhelming.

We all live under the same stars, and like those stars, we shine bright in each other's lives. 

My life will forever shine brighter because of the people I've been blessed to know.

That's all I wanted to say, really.

Perfectly Imperfect...

The following is an accumulation of all of my writing this past weekend, during my camp JC reunion:

Liberty High School has its merits. There are some awesome people. I got a phenomenal education. I feel significantly more prepared to tackle the real world than most people... at least I think so. 

But Liberty High School was a public school with over a thousand teenagers roaming the halls during any given school day, and teenagers are fickle beings. Hormones are crazy, and weird, and they don’t make any sense. High school also created a mold. Deny it all you want but I have yet to see a school where there’s a certain image that you’re expected to fit into if you want to be popular and fit in. 

I know I write about MASC a lot, but I don’t think there’s a group of people in the world who deserves more recognition than my family at MASC. They’re some of the most crazy, real, and supportive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of forming bonds with. They’re also the only group of people I’ve ever felt like I can be 100% me around. With MASC there is no mold. There’s no image. There’s you and there’s your friends. They love you for who you are. The only thing they want out of you is for you to be happy and to give 110% in everything you do (we call that gusto, by the way). 

If I found a magic lamp and I could have three wishes one of them would be Jennifer Lawrence. The second wish would be for my college education to be paid for in full (like 100% free). My final wish would be for anyone who feels like they need to find themselves to be able to experience at least one week at camp. 

MASC is the perfect place to do soul searching. They do a fantastic job of allowing you to express who you are and who you want to be. They accept you. All of you. Your beliefs, your talents, your flaws, your everything. They accept and they love you. Just you. Not the image that you feel like you had to create.

As pathetic as it sounds, it has taken me a good 17 years to even begin defining who I am. I talk about my music a lot, and it plays a huge part in who I am, who I’ve become, and who I plan on being. Music is my passion. MASC is who I am.

I am Tyler. I am crazy. I am passionate. I’m a huge poop head. I’m sarcastic. I’m an evil little s*** sometimes. I care about my friends with an unfathomable passion. In all honesty I probably care a little too much. Scratch that. I KNOW I care a little too much. I won’t deny that I became a little attached to the people I feel close to. And there’s a hopeless feeling deep in my stomach that I won’t see some of these people again (thankfully a lot of them are going to Mizzou with me). A lot of them aren’t going to college with me, though. And that sucks.

I’m in no way ready for this weekend to be over. Any time I can spend with the other JCs is time that I cherish. Especially mah gurl Danica (I like Danica too much to edit that part out). There’s not a lot of people I can be friends with effortlessly. The JCs though are an absolute miracle. Our bond is seamless. We worked together for seven short days. In those seven days we created friendships that look like they’ve taken 7 years to form. 

There’s not a whole lot I want to say in this post. Actually I’m not sure there’s a point at all. I really just wanted to talk about how much I love the JCs. This weekend will be one that I remember forever. If it was up to me it would last a little (a lot) longer. My time with these friends is comparable to Spicy Nacho Doritos. I simply can’t get enough. 

All cheesy similes aside, I don’t think I’d be the same person I am now if I hadn’t met these people. While I think it’s important to be yourself, that doesn’t mean the influences of the world around you don’t help define who you are. I would never have the positive outlook on life that I do now without the help of people from MASC. I would never have been able to look beyond myself and see a whole world ready to have some crazy, positive, and revolutionary people from my generation make a change and impact the world in amazing ways. Without MASC I wouldn’t have an eye for opportunity.
Because opportunities are not meant to be passed up. 

If there’s one thing I don’t want to do it’s live a life full of regrets, and I in no way regret becoming a part of this family. They’re perfectly imperfect. I know that its a strange way to describe them, but I believe it’s the best way to describe them. We’ve all been through our hardships, but our past struggles don’t matter here. We’re together and we’re happy and that’s all that matters because, while we look to the future, we simply live in the moment. We are perfectly content with just being around each other. We’re the perfect team, and an unstoppable force of positivity.

And we will change the world.
Brice is pretty.

Life lesson #754: If you let MASC people “edit” your posts, they’ll add stuff. 

And I’m Indy’s Biaatch (No I’m not... yes I am).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

To My 10 Year Old Self...

I spend disgusting amounts of time watching YouTube videos on Soulpancake’s channel. They are seriously the second most inspiring group of people (MASC will always be first) I have ever witnessed. Today I watched a video where they gave total strangers a chance to write a letter to their ten year old self. I don’t know why I thought this was so cool, but I thought it might be something that I want to try... so here we go!

Dear 10 year old self,

First I feel like I should warn you: You’re going to have the hair of a Jewish man by the time you turn 15. Don’t question it. Don’t hate it. Don’t try and change it. EMBRACE IT. It’s going to become your trademark. Looks aren’t important, though. Just kidding. You’re going to be vain when you’re in high school. So that random 30 pounds you gain Sophomore year? Don’t worry. You’re going to work for your slave driving grandfather (That’s sarcasm) that following summer and lose ALL of it and then PRESTO you’re going to be a bean pole again. OH PS you get mono your sophomore year so any hopes of getting a 4.0 ever again are shot. Oh well. 

That viola you just begged mom and dad to let you start playing? Keep playing. Practice a lot. But don’t practice to the point where you hate it. You’re going to find your future in that instrument. You’re actually going to be good at it (One of the top 10 in the state by the time you graduate high school). You’ll make a lot of friends through your music. 

While we’re on the topic of music... when you’re about to be a Freshman you’re going to consider taking debate. DO NOT DO IT. TAKE CHOIR. PLEASE TAKE CHOIR. That will end up being your biggest musical regret. Yes you’ll be kind of decent at debate. You’ll love choir. Do it. 

Oh, and you’re going to join Student Council at the end of 7th grade. By the grace of God you’re going to win your election. And then your advisor is going to suggest you go to MASC StuCo camp. You’re going to procrastinate turning the money in. DO. NOT. PROCRASTINATE. If not joining choir was my biggest musical regret, not turning in that check will be my biggest regret EVER. StuCo camp is magical, and you’re only going to get to be a camper once and a junior counselor once. 

I know you’re feeling super lost. You don’t quite fit in with anybody. You’re not athletic, you’re not socially adept at all. Nobody in school is the right shade of crazy for you. The people at camp are your perfect shade of crazy. The friends you make at camp will mean more to you than anybody else in your life. Go to camp while you can so you can spend more time with these people. They get you. And they’re all going to see you ugly cry and they aren’t going to laugh at you until the next day. So they’re good people.

Remember how I said you’re feeling super lost? Yeah, that gets better. Suffer through middle school and junior high. High school isn’t too bad. Actually you’ll meet like all but one of your best friends in high school. 

That being said you won’t fit the norm in high school either. Your aspirations to become athletic are still dashed. You’re not coordinated and you can still barley run a mile. However, as your high school career progresses you’ll start to learn that it’s okay to be different. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being different. Stand out. People will pity you enough to vote you onto Homecoming AND Prom court.

Most importantly make sure you’re having fun. Live your life with the goal of making other people smile and you’re sure to be happy. And don’t take life so damn seriously all the time. Breathe, bud.

And try not to hit that girl’s car in the parking lot during sophomore year... it’ll be super embarrassing.

Trust your gut. Have fun. Live your life with gusto. Keep your friends close and tell your enemies to take a hike. 

Don’t be a stranger! Oh wait...

-- Older Tyler

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Were Meant For Amazing Things...

Dear piquant readers,

So I had a small child poop in the pool I was guarding at and may I just say that IT IS ABOUT DANG TIME. I've been praying for an incident of this manner to occur since pool season started.

You see, if someone defecates in the pool I get to close it for anywhere from 3 hours to the rest of the day. The time of today's unfortunate fecal leakage was about 4:30 and we got to close for the rest of the day. In case you're wondering: No, this blog post is not going to go into vivid detail about someone's solid bodily wastes.

The fact of the matter was that I was sitting in an empty pool and the only company I had was the company of my own thoughts.

Anyone who has read some of my earliest posts might be thinking "oh great... here we go."

I'm proud to say I think I've finally developed a consistently positive outlook on life. It took a lot of work. The saying "bad habits die hard" is not to be underestimated. For the longest time I felt like I was fighting the Hydra. For those of you that aren't quite on the same level of geek as I am: The Hydra is a monster from Greek mythology. It had a multitude of heads, and every time you severed a head more heads would grow in its place.

If I recall the heads are quite serpentine. As in they're like snakes. I. HATE. SNAKES. If I could eliminate one animal from the world it would be mosquitos first, and snakes after that.

I mean... there isn't a many headed mosquito that I know of. If there is, please let me know.

The Hydra was a fearsome monster. It was so strong that Hercules couldn't kill it alone. So he brought along his nephew, Iolaus, to help him.

I spent a long time battling my own thoughts alone. They were things I didn't want to share. After a while though, those thoughts begin to make one feel helpless. They make you feel worthless.

Luckily I had a lot of Iolauses that, whether they know it or not, aided me in overcoming my Hydra.

A very good friend of mine made a video once, that talked about how it's a gift to have someone in your life who believes in you.

I'm so lucky to have friends all over the state of Missouri who truly believe in me. They know my goals and dreams and they push me to achieve them. It's seriously the most satisfying feeling.

Now I want to pass on that message: If you have goals and dreams you need to chase after them. Find something that gives your existence purpose. There are people in your life that believe in you. I believe in you. Go out and change the world, because God knows it doesn't need to stay the way it is.

Also, if you ever feel a little down, I would like to recommend you give this song a listen:

There's a line that says, simply: "You were meant for amazing things." This song seriously makes me want to go and change the world.

Here's hoping all of your dreams come true. Stay real, everyone!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

It Feels Like A Perfect Night to Dress Up Like Hipsters...

I hope the title isn't misleading. This post has nothing to do with Taylor Swift's lyrical genius (it's okay you can laugh. She probably won't read this. But, Taylor, if you are reading this please use my full name in your next album. I'm poor and going to be in college).

Unless you count the fact that my new Macbook that I'm writing this on is considered a "hipster computer" as relevant. And then I guess, by some small degree, the title is (still not at all) topical. Let me go grab my beanie hat, drug rug sweater, and fake glasses before I write anymore. #HipsterStatus

*insert rough segue here*

This summer has been quite the learning experience for me so far. For example: I got to learn what "debt" is. I've always lived in a tiny bubble when it comes to money. If I didn't have the cash for something I couldn't  have it. But that's apparently not how college works. Now if you don't have the cash (unless God or the American Lottery decides to bless you sometime in the near future or you are pre-blessed by your socioeconomic status) apparently you can make some total stranger pay for it! They call it a "loan." I don't know what that is, but it sounds easy *insert cheesy audience laughter from a bad 80's sitcom that is consistently played on Nick at Nite here*.

Now when I was faced with the whole debt thing I could have reacted in a number of ways:

I could have broken down and sobbed (I've been told when I cry I look like Kim Kardashian).

I could have robbed a bank (tempting, but Criminal Minds has taught me that this would probably end with me getting killed).

I could have gone "Incredible Hulk" and flipped my advisors table (she probably would have been able to take me in a fight anyways).

Or I could grit my teeth, except the fact that I'm going to have to work this off in the future, and not worry about it.

As much as I wish I could turn into a giant green monster, I decided that the last of the above options would be the best one.

If there's one thing I'm good at it's Spongebob trivia. If there's one thing I'm GREAT at it's worrying. I've gone most of my life worrying about things that I really shouldn't have wasted my time on (I already have grey hairs!).

But I asked myself this, and I challenge you to ask yourself the same question when you find yourself worrying about something: Is it worth it? Will you worrying about whatever it is that's bothering you help you fix the problem? Is it productive? If the answer is yes: Keep on worrying. Fix the problem. If the answer is no: DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. JUST FIX IT.

This post was really to alleviate my boredom and share my latest epiphany... and to make a joke about Taylor Swift...

I'm done now. Thanks for reading!

Tyler Hannsz Solo *insert another laugh from another cheesy sitcom here*

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Chronicles of Narnia (and by Narnia I mean MASC)...

The week of MASC's Summer Leadership Workshop in Fulton, Missouri is quite honestly the most chaotic week I think I've ever experienced. The week of MASC's Summer Leadership Workshop in Fulton, Missouri as a Junior Counselor (JC) was the most satisfyingly chaotic week of my life.

I was blessed enough to get to spend 7 days with 52 of the most outgoing, crazy, fun, and supportive people in the whole world. Over those 7 days we each got to watch 637 of the state's best leaders grow as a person and develop their leadership skills. I don't think I've ever been happier in my entire life than during this past week.

I was lucky enough to get to spend time with Council E this past week. Watching them grow together and form bonds was magical. They became a team and a family. They became important to each other. They overcame obstacles, had fun, shared laughs, and created memories. They experienced the Magic of Fulton.

In the same way that council E bonded, the JCs for camp also bonded. I don't think I will ever find a group of people that I trust more than the JCs for the 2013 MASC Summer Leadership Workshop. They all seem to enjoy a good poop joke. They're all outgoing and helpful. They mean the world to me, and I miss them terribly.

I think I understand how the Pevensie children felt in the Chronicles of Narnia felt. They went to this amazing land and had adventures that changed their lives. Then they had to go home. They had to leave all of their friends behind and return to normal lives with normal people in a normal world.

That's kind of what leaving Fulton felt like... minus the talking animals, deadly battles, and potentially lethal plot-line. Fulton was an amazing land and the week was a life changing journey. Eventually it was over and we had to go home. Most of our friends live across the state and we had to go back to a life full of people who don't really understand why our week was the single best week of our lives.

There are a few differences, though. Yes, we had to go home. But some of our friends are still nearby. Yes, a lot of our friends live across the state. But we don't have to use a magical wardrobe to go see them. We just need gas money and the time to make the drive. People might not understand why MASC changed our lives, but we can show them. We can ooze gusto because that's our job.

 We are the ones who are supposed to give Gusto to the people who haven't experienced it yet.

We are the ones who are supposed to step up and give a helping hand when times are hard.

We are the ones who are supposed to help change and better the world.

And we can do all of these things together. We might be separated by distance and time, but distance and time are a small issue that can be easily overcome.

I will never forget this past week. It has left an impression in my memories that is far too deep to ever fade away. There's a famous saying that goes "It's not goodbye. It's I'll see you later." Google couldn't tell me where it was from (which was shocking), but I think it's a good quote to hold on to.

We might not be together physically anymore, but emotionally we're all connected, and we WILL see each other again.

Regina Spektor says it best in her song "The Call" with the lyrics "Let your memories grow stronger and stronger, 'til they're before your eyes. They'll come back when it's over. No need to say goodbye." I know in my heart we'll see each other again. So I refuse to say goodbye, because goodbye feels permanent. So I'll say this:

See you later, MASC.