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Does anyone like attending funerals?

No?

That’s what I thought.

No one likes funerals. But ever since my brother passed away a few years ago, I basically avoid them at all costs.

However, that clearly poses a conflict every so often. You see, in my family, we were raised that no matter how difficult the situation, you show up and pay your respects. And although that’s easier said than done, it’s something we take seriously.

While i’m hesitant and protective over what I expose myself to, my sisters have stepped up to the plate more than their fair share. But this week the tables turned on me when I found out a childhood friend’s dad passed away and the services were coming up.

Immediately I thought, “I’ll send a card. I’ll make a donation. I’ll reach out, but I just can’t attend the funeral. It’s too much.”

Physically I wanted to be there. Mentally I wasn’t ready.

But when my twin sister wasn’t able to make it, I knew it was my turn to step up like she has so many times before.

Because my childhood friends are my family. They always have been. They always will be. My hometown is special and that’s how we were raised.

So I went.

And I’m so glad I did.

Because even though I fought back tears during the service and then let them out on my drive home, it was important to be there.

And here’s why.

First of all, you can’t avoid funerals forever. Death is a part of life (as my Dad has so wisely taught me).

But more importantly, sometimes you need to put your own shit aside in order to show up for the people who matter.

It’s important to be there for your friends, your family, and your community.

It’s important to pay your respects.

It’s important to honor those who have passed.

Because after all, those who are no longer living teach us how lucky we are to be alive.

And that’s worth showing up for.

 

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Just another Tuesday

You know those friends who you can walk away from feeling more at ease, as if they instilled a whole new sense of serenity over you in just a brief amount of time? Today I grabbed coffee with that friend of mine. He has kind eyes and an even sweeter soul, and our conversation gave me the clarity and perspective that I needed.

Since I leave for Chicago in about two weeks, I was grateful to be able to sit down with him for a few hours to talk and catch up.

We talked a lot about what we have ahead of us in the next year, particularly my upcoming adventure to a whole new city. It will be my biggest move to date, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed, confused and slightly overwhelmed. My friend could sense I was a bit anxious about how big of a change this is going to be, and he offered me some great advice.

He said, “The best thing you can do is go to Chicago and just be present each day. Wake up on a Tuesday and think, ‘it’s just a Tuesday in Chicago.’ Meet new people, get lost, explore what the city has to offer… but make sure to just be present for one moment and one day at a time. Anything else will be overwhelming.”

Just a Tuesday in Chicago. That really stuck with me.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with flights in and out of Buffalo, apartment hunting, paperwork, endless phone calls, cleaning, and the obvious packing. Not to mention making time to see my family and friends.

With such a life-changing transition ahead of me, his simple, “It’s just a Tuesday in Chicago” mentality funneled my worries down and gave me an incredible peace of mind.

Sometimes when life has your head spinning and you can’t seem to get a grip on what to do, remember that slowing down can be the best way to speed up.

Even with a major challenge, adventure, or change ahead of you, thinking “it’s just another Tuesday” can give you the perfect dose of realistic perspective to ease your worries, and in turn, make the journey that much more rewarding.

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Chicago skyline. [photo via fansshare.com]

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