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'11 reflection: JUMP, despite all that deny you.

Posted December 20th, 2011 at 5:41 PM by BeachBoy
Updated December 20th, 2011 at 5:53 PM by BeachBoy

Way back last January, I entered my final semester of my senior year. Took the two hardest AP classes our school offered, AP English and AP European History, when my advisor said I couldn't handle it. It started off full of potential, but everything quickly began to fall apart: experienced heartbreak when my relationship dropped out of nowhere, losing close friends; failed to help a friend out a suicidal situation; and grades rocked with a false start. Things went from bad to worse. February, started having seizures on the way to classes. I start slipping in every aspect of my life. March, witnessed another divorce. Then both my Dad and I were a mess.

Not a bright start to 2011, huh? There's a low point so low you can't help but think, "how the heck did I wind up here?"

But one day I realized something incredibly important: I'm running this show. Whatever you believe in, God or what have you, set you up for this; you have everything you need to make a difference in your life. Anyone who tells you otherwise is holding you back. Granted, there are certain constraints we can't break, but you bet your Wailord you can break a lot of what you perceive to be "constraints" when you change your perspective.

Here's the thing I learned about Life: right when it seems its worst, you're ready to move forward. I pressed reset. I got back to what I valued and what I liked and disliked and did right (three key ingredients to be aware of toward happiness). I realized that not everybody needs to be taken care of, and that the most important person to love and care for is yourself. Other people depend on you to do just that, to be the very best you. You matter to somebody... if you're not all there, somebody else is gonna fail. And if you don't get it together, you're going to become the person you fear.

I refocused my attention on school, family (or what left of it), and an inward-outward approach to the relationships I had with other people. You can't care ultimately for someone unless you can care for yourself. I dropped everything that was weighing me down, including people, frivolous clubs and obligations, fears and constraints. I let go. You can't fly unless you drop what's holding you down. It's going to be scary and you're going be uncertain for the future, but just jump.

Furthermore, this snippet of an article resonates the same message:
I recently came across a passage from the Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi. Speaking of the burdens we all bear, he asks: Would you carry your luggage on your head while on board a train? “You are not lessening the burden of the train by keeping it on your head but only straining yourself unnecessarily.” Likewise, Ramana says, we unnecessarily strain ourselves by laboring under the belief that we, and we alone, bear this heavy load called life. Put down that bag, he advises. Nothing disastrous will happen, and you might feel lighter.
Since that decision, to stay true to me and fight for what I believe in: Leadership Summit Representative. Backstage Manager for the play. Social Studies Department Student of the Year. Scholarship award for "perseverance in hardship." Explored the Outer Banks. Got into a wonderful college and their Leadership Learning Community. Went to Boston to volunteer at the Life is Good festival. Came 4th in the 20-24 age group in a charity 5k. Became Toastmasters VP of Membership. Went to build projects with Habitat for Humanity. Made life-long friends. Studied my butt off and worked hard toward what mattered. I kept promises and regain my good ol' sense of reliability. Traveled more in my first semester of college than ever before. Got a job as a referee for soccer and flag football. Made it to the third round of the playoffs with a freshman flag football team. Got another job as a librarian for the Architecture Library. Made the Chancellor's List and a 4.0. Got into the Honors Program, and going for a second. Declared my major, and about to double up. Set up a schedule for next semester that's so exciting I can't help but want to go back to school. Crazy, I know.

There are people in your life that will tell you, "No. You can't." They're called gatekeepers. Do whatever you can to get around them. And whatever you do, don't stop fighting, clawing, or scratching if it's important to you. The world pays attention to persistence and diligence, not crybabies. In my case, it was mother. She thought I wasn't worth college and should start work. She kicked me out over it. What's a kid to do? Fight even harder for a better life.

All in all, 2011 started out rougher than many years ever were combined, but the beautiful thing about rough beginnings? Hopeful endings. All that's in the middle is the drive and power to change it. 2011 taught me this: you're leading your own production, you might as well screw the critics and make it one heck of a show.

Maybe your 2012 should be more about doing what you want to do for you, setting yourself up for something greater, and making your Life worth watching. Think about it.

With warmth,

PS. I miss y'all, PC.
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  1. Old Comment
    [css-div="display: none"]brbtearbendingrightnow[/css-div]
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 5:51 PM by
  2. Old Comment
    BeachBoy's Avatar
    You really are somethin', NickerBockers. haha
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 5:54 PM by BeachBoy BeachBoy is offline
  3. Old Comment
    It's a very, very inspiring blog entry, and something to not just think about, but do!!
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 5:58 PM by
  4. Old Comment
    seeker's Avatar
    I relate to this so much. And I know your conclusion is just so right... I just can't find the strength to do as you say. It's like, I know that the direction I'm headed in is really risky and probably not going to show my full potential, but I'm doing it because I can't bear to lose the one thing that stands in the way of reaching it.

    In saying that, this was a rough read Ryan. I'm sorry that you had to go through so much in one year. I've never been one for sympathy, but I can offer you my understanding due to relativity.

    So many times I've broken down, wanted to give up, thrown my emotions at a wall and have them bounce back at me. I think, that perhaps, you know what I'm talking about.

    I'm happy you're the one bouncing back now Ryan. I'm happy to see you in a refined state of mind. I've missed you the only way I can on this online world. But it's good to see yo back. Even if it's just for now.

    Been so short on words lately...but I hope you understand all the same.
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 6:06 PM by seeker seeker is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Her's Avatar

    jesus christ you are right about everything in that post
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 6:42 PM by Her Her is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Shining Raichu's Avatar
    I have to question the sanity of a woman who would kick her son out over wanting to go to college to reach his potential. You are the kind of son a sane parent dreams about, and begs for lol

    I'm glad you found your way through it :) lesser people might have folded. This was a really inspirational story, I hope everybody hears the message as loudly as I did :)
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 6:52 PM by Shining Raichu Shining Raichu is offline
  7. Old Comment
    BeachBoy's Avatar
    @Abnegation: I'm happy it resonates and hopeful it helps. Your situation will turn out for the better, regardless of how tough it may seem right now. Trust in that. Do what you can and don't lose yourself in the mess of it all.

    @Harlequinn: you're a treat.

    @Shining Raichu: Stress can drive a person beyond unimaginable lines. When you're the closest one, you're also the first one burned.

    I'm glad, as long as this gets through to at least one person, enough to make a difference.
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 7:06 PM by BeachBoy BeachBoy is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Aizuke's Avatar

    Such beautiful and inspirational words, my dear Ryan. I'm glad you've been able to pick yourself up and make things truly better for yourself. I understand how you feel, having witnessed someone close to me go through a similiar ordeal such as yourself.

    I'm happy for you Ryan, I hope you have a merry christmas and all the best wishes for you in the new year.
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 7:32 PM by Aizuke Aizuke is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Margot's Avatar
    I loved reading this, you're always an inspiring guy :) I'm so happy you were able to change things for the better for yourself <3 Btw, what are you majoring in?
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 8:16 PM by Margot Margot is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Hiidoran's Avatar
    I was having an absolutely terrible night, and reading that made me smile. Truly inspiring, Ryan. Truly. Keep at it buddy.
    Posted December 20th, 2011 at 11:48 PM by Hiidoran Hiidoran is offline
  11. Old Comment
    BeachBoy's Avatar
    @Aizuke: thank you. :) merry christmas and joy to you too.

    @Kyoko: English and Business (likely marketing, though economics is also appealing). :D

    @Hiiiide: I'm so glad to hear that, Larry. Pick yourself up buddy, you got this.
    Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 1:23 PM by BeachBoy BeachBoy is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Cid's Avatar

    It's like you threw a rock at me just so I could wake up. And I thank you for doing that. It made me realize how much I need to look at things with an open mind. After all this, I really should change.

    I feel stupid thinking back how much I hated my life at times when you've had it much worse. And you stood up after all that. I wouldn't have done the same, not like how you did.

    I really hope things turn out even better for you as the new year approaches.
    And come back when things do. We all miss you.
    Posted December 30th, 2011 at 9:12 PM by Cid Cid is offline
    Updated April 18th, 2012 at 10:51 PM by Cid
  13. Old Comment
    UntouchableJon's Avatar
    Mm, what a great honest post Ryan. I didn't get to know you very well back in the day, but I wish that I did. Best wishes. - Jon
    Posted June 25th, 2012 at 1:45 AM by UntouchableJon UntouchableJon is offline
  14. Old Comment
    Chrono's Avatar
    This is inspiring, good read!
    Posted December 9th, 2013 at 12:52 AM by Chrono Chrono is offline