Road Trip

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Life is a series of roads.  Some we take, some we avoid, and some we get stuck on.  Recently I guess you could say I’ve gotten stuck, a little lost if you will.  And while I feel like this blog may be a little more for me than anyone else, a way for me to remind myself that I’ll be just fine – maybe it’s something someone else has to see too.

As I say frequently, my life is full of ironic, crazy, what just happened moments, rolled in with comedic events that I almost wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t happening to me.  That being said, it’s no real surprise that the route I originally plan on taking sometimes has road blocks.  Without going into detail, that’s what I’m dealing with now.  And as I deal with the struggle of being a little lost, I’ve tried to come up with some positive affirmations for myself, and some silver linings that I could turn into words to maybe help someone else.  I’ve realized that getting lost in life, is a lot like getting lost on a road trip; and the way to go about getting to your destination is actually pretty similar.

So, without harping on my issues – here is my definitive guide for what to do when you get lost on a road trip, or in life.

Let yourself freak out.  I don’t know about you, but when I get lost (sometimes while even using a GPS), I get pissed.  You set out a route to get to a set destination and you planned on getting there in the amount of time that was projected for you, taking into account possible traffic jams, construction, and general delays.  The idea of going through all of that and then not being able to execute it can result in a huff and puff attitude, but rather than try to go from angry to a ray of sunshine – take a moment and be pissed.  Let out one good “what the *beep*” and then ready yourself to regroup.  You can’t regroup if you are on the verge of a freak out, so just give yourself the freak out moment.

Realize there are several roads to get to the same destination.  Even though you memorized the directions that you set up, those directions are not the only way to your location.  Sometimes the way you think you should go is really a road full of potholes and bumps that could damage your tires.  So be open to a potential detour.

Pull over at a rest stop.  We are all guilty of rushing to get somewhere.  Whether it’s because you’re perpetually late to everything, trying to beat rush hour, or hoping to get somewhere before someone else – we always have an eye on the clock.  As humans, we just naturally rush through a day, we rush through a moment.  We get caught up in trying to document everything through social media that we never take a second to actually be in the moment and take our feelings into account.  Being lost and trying to figure out where to turn by using a “you are here” map in your head is scary.  Relying on the voice of your GPS to say whether you missed the street or not can be nerve wracking.  Allow yourself to be scared, acknowledge the fact that you’re putting your trust into a machine.  Once you regroup, that’s when you can actually reroute and refocus.

Check your gas tank.  I have a fear of running out of gas.  It’s rare that I let my gas tank get close to or under a quarter of a tank full.  When I first got my car, my grandfather told me that it’s better for your engine if you don’t let your gas tank get to fully empty.  The same is true for our mental gas tank.  We can’t let our gas tanks reach empty and expect to have the steam to move forward in the time we expect.  Eventually something’s gotta give, and it will.  So keep an eye on your gas tank, and take the time to refill.  Keep an eye on your mental state, and take time to balance.  In both situations, it’s something that will never go to waste.

Roll the windows down and turn the music up.  Whenever I know I’m going to be in the car for a long amount of time, I make sure that I’ve set up an upbeat playlist.  Music influences your mood, and I make sure that the music I have on a long car ride is music that makes me want to do nothing but sing along at the top of my lungs.  When I’m feeling down, sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the sad song playing on three different radio stations; but that’s when you have to roll down the windows.  Get the breeze right in your face as a wake up call.  It’s easy to be sad, and it does take work to be happy and optimistic; but when you’re happy and singing, you’re letting in positive energy, and over time it becomes easier to be happy.  Singing loudly will become natural, even if your singing voice may not be.

Admire the view.  Understand that your original route may have had a beautiful view, but that you may not have seen it because you were so focused on following the directions.  When you’re lost, you have to truly look around.  Your senses are heightened through your natural survival mode being turned on.  So while you’re looking at every road sign, don’t just look – take time to see.  Maybe you won’t see breathtaking landscapes, but maybe you’ll see something else that acts as inspiration.  Maybe it’ll be in the form of a young child playing in their front yard who has the zest for life that you may have lost over the years.  Maybe it’ll be in seeing someone struggling, putting your life back into perspective and reminding you that you don’t really have it that bad.  Or maybe it’ll be in seeing the single white feather fall in front of your windshield, confirming that there are higher powers that will always make sure you get to your destination safely and at the right time.

Most importantly, always keep driving.  Eventually every side street leads to a main road, and every main road allows another outlet to your location.  But if you turn around every time you get lost, you’ll never know all the intersections that open your mind to new connections.  So just keep pressing on steadfastly.

Once we let go of the notion that we have to know exactly where we’re going and exactly which roads to take to get there; that’s when we’ll finally hear the words, “You’ve reached your destination.”

 

 

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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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The infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that gets asked God only knows how many times.  The answers that I’ve had throughout the years are scattered all over the place.  When I was five, I wanted to be a vet – until I found out that they had to clean the animal’s butts.  As I started dance, I wanted to be a dance teacher.  Continuing dance, I wanted to be a Broadway dancer, then a Rockette, then a professional choreographer… all up until my knee fell apart (that’s a story for another blog).  Then I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, then a music producer… Leading to my current decision of journalist, preferably a sports journalist.

Yesterday I made my schedule for next semester; my final semester of college – and let me tell you – it’s getting real.  It’s a little scary knowing that after next semester I’ve got to come up with a game plan to start my career.  And as I try to get a game plan going, I’m asking myself that infamous question, “Kristina, what do you really want to be when you grow up?” I love writing, I’m told that I’m good at it.  I love sports, they make me happy.  And yet, here I am, questioning my career choice.

Last night, after a pep talk from my parents, I did some thinking.  I realized that the reason I’m questioning sports journalism as my career is because the things I hope to get from my career have changed; because, I’ve changed.

When I wanted to be a vet, I didn’t know what I wanted out of job, because let’s face it – my concept of what a job is at the age of five was probably not exactly up to par.  As I got older, I realized I wanted to do something I was really passionate about – that being dance. All I wanted from my career was just fun; I wanted to do something that was fun for me and that I was good at.  After my knee injury, being older, I took into account that I also want longevity from my career.  Hence, my transition into music production and music in general.  A part of me also wanted to pursue music because, I’m not going to lie, I wanted everyone to know who I was.  I wanted that fame, that celebrity lifestyle; I think mostly because of the struggles I had to overcome throughout junior high and high school.  At the time, the only way I thought you could become a known name was through the entertainment industry.  Getting older, I became a little more realistic.  Not to say that I couldn’t make it in the entertainment industry because I absolutely have that drive; but I figured if that was really my true calling, I would have been way more motivated with all of it.

So then my senior year of high school, applying for college, I reevaluated my life basically.  And I realized that I love writing and my main concern with a career was being able to do something that I loved.  Now, as a senior in college – soon to embark on my final semester, the once fun question becomes serious.  I still have the same concern, I want to be able to wake up every morning truly excited to go to work.  However, you do learn new things about yourself in college.  And for me, over the past four years, I’ve realized that I really want to make a difference in this world and influence change.  So that infamous question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has turned into, “What are you going to do to make a difference?”

My goal in life is no longer to have a career with a superfluous salary (though, if it happens that way – I won’t complain), or have a career to simply become famous (even though I was voted most likely to be famous in high school), or do something that is simply just fun.  My career goal now reflects the growth I’ve made thus far in life.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?  Well, as I continue to grow up, I still want that career that makes me excited to go to work every morning.  But now, I realize I want to also wake up every morning with the potential to start change.  And as I write this blog, I realize that the best way that I, Kristina Konrad, can promote change is through writing.  As for what I’ll be writing, the medium I’ll be writing for… I guess I’ll have to sit back, ride it out, and see where this universe leads me.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

…What do I want to be when I grow up?  A happy person who makes a difference.

Final answer.

The Universe

ImageHappy 2014!!!

Since the first day of 2014, I’ve had the same conversation several times with several different people.  It’s a conversation that’s about something new and exciting starting to unravel in their favor.  The person starts with such excitement but then they throw the whole “But I’m not getting my hopes up, this way I’m not disappointed,” line in the sentence.

That is a pet peeve of mine.  I hate that line.  I think it ruins everything someone told me prior to that line.  I think it’s negative and creates a negative mindset.  A negative mindset means you’re sending negative energy out to the Universe.  I know from experience that the Universe really does listen, so why send out a negative message?

I think everyone should get their hopes up.  I think everyone should aim for exactly what they want.  This creates a positive mindset and therefore sends out a positive energy to the Universe.

So what about if the Universe doesn’t reward you with the positive thought you sent out? Well, let me tell you all something – the best lessons I’ve learned have happened at the worst times.

I learned about friendships through the tormenting days of being cyberbullied.  I learned about willpower through my chaotic knee surgery.  I learned about determination through another knee injury.  I learned about love through the heartbreak of dealing with loss. And most importantly, I learned about myself through the way I handled each new lesson.

One thing was constant with all those situations, my hopes were up, I was aiming for success; for the goal I wanted to happen.  And even though the goal I wanted may not have been achieved, something of value was achieved just the same.  The Universe sent me what I needed at the time.

The Universe listens and delivers, so make sure the message you send out is a positive one that is loud and clear.  My wish for everyone in 2014 is not only to send positive messages to the universe but to get your hopes up.  Life is supposed to be exciting, so start getting excited!

Irony

I took a Summer class which thankfully has ended because although I’m ambitious, I’m also exhausted.  But, for this Summer class we had to write a poem based off of a picture.  I was always taught to write what you know and about what is going on in your life.  Right now I’m dealing with a knee injury (see the post “Heavy Heart” if you want the full story), and so naturally I picked a photo about dance.

 

Here’s the picture….

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and here’s the poem… 

Dear Dance

You were there for me throughout the years.

You often heard my cries.

You saw me at my weakest points.

You always encouraged me to survive.

You never once judged me.

You didn’t ever count me out.

You believed in me and my fight.

You repeatedly eased my doubts.

You were the one that I could count on.

You held the biggest spot in my heart.

You were the one behind my smile.

And yet you were the reason I fell apart.

Still I look at you with awe today and so much appreciation.

You taught me what it is to love and how to deal with devastation.

 

I address dance as a being in this poem.  Dance was my friend when I didn’t have any (see the “Cyberbullying” post).  Dance kept me sane and stable.  Therefore, dance is just as much a person as anyone in my eyes.

After reading this poem in class the other day though, I realized the weight of the line “And yet you were the reason I fell apart.”  It occurred to me that so many things that make us feel alive, are often the same things that manage to somehow drag us down.  It’s like we find the beauty in something and then it blinds us.  It’s quite ironic.

Why does that happen?  Why does it have to be like that?  I’ll never know.  But maybe it’s the universe’s way to tell us to stop, take a breath, live in the moment, and appreciate every aspect of this sometimes crazy, chaotic life.

 

 

 

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

Heavy Heart

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I pride myself in being able to find the lesson behind every struggle in life.  I really try to find a positive within every negative.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and often times I try very hard to find that reason.  But, there are certain things I will just never understand.

I’ll never understand the reason for tragic happenings.  Is it so people learn to appreciate others while they can?  Possibly.

I’ll never understand the reason for suffering and cruelty.  Is it so people to appreciate their life and what they have?  Perhaps.

But what drives me nuts, that I will never understand is why bad things happen to good people, and sometimes those bad things happen repeatedly.

I’ve heard that if you have to go through something again, it’s because you didn’t learn the proper lesson the first time.  I don’t think that’s true though.  You see, I was a dancer (in my heart I always will be), and unfortunately I was cheated out of a dance career.  My first studio trained me wrong, so when I switched studios (to the one that I work at now and absolutely love), the muscle memory was basically shot.  About four years ago I had knee surgery in hopes of being able to get back into the studio and learn things the correct way.  I tore my meniscus and then my knee cap was twisted and off track.  Well, luck wasn’t on my side, and the surgery really didn’t work.  Fun stuff right?  How did I not know this? Well, I have a high tolerance for pain and I just used to strap a brace on it and keep dancing.

If you’ve read my other blog post about cyberbullying, you would know that I dealt with cyberbullies and it was Hell.  Through all that chaos, dance was the one thing that kept me sane.  I say all the time that dance saved me.  It absolutely did.  I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself being bullied because I had dance class.  There wasn’t time for tears because I had a dance competition and I couldn’t mess up my make up!  I may have had no friends in school at one point, but I had them at the studio.  So, to have that taken from me was not an easy thing to understand in my head.

After the surgery and an intense amount of physical therapy (luckily my physical therapist was awesome… and it’s a plus he looks like Freddy Prinze Jr.), my knee still was not back to the “norm.”  Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to progress as a dancer, because I physically couldn’t, was something that really bothered me for a very long time.  It still does.  When I switched studios I remembered why it was I danced in the first place.  I fell back in love with dance, and then was forced to stop.  It didn’t seem fair to me.

Still, I managed to seek out a lesson there.  I figured it was to see the value of creative expression.  Maybe it was to lead me to writing.  I always loved to write, but I planned on having a career that dealt with the dance world.  I tried really hard to figure out why I had to go through that.  I thought it was pretty impressive to even think that way after being so upset.  I was able to come to terms with the fact that yes, Kristina you had knee surgery and you will never be able to dance at the level you once wished.

Here’s what I don’t get.  Four years later, my other knee starts bothering me.  Bothering me to the point where I even cry, which is a big deal for me.  I go to the doctor for it, get an X-ray, get an MRI… talk about deja vu.  And what’s the result?  A twisted knee cap.  Again.  How does that make sense?

Why do I have to deal with all this yet again?  Nothing is sure yet, and hey – physical therapy with the Freddy Prinze Jr. look alike may be all it takes, but still I’ve dealt with this already.  What lesson have I not dug out of this situation the first time?  I’m at a loss.  And yeah, I’m aware this blog post may sound like a rant, but this is the only way I can get some sort of “therapy” here.

Keeping things in perspective, I know things could be way worse, but in the moment – it doesn’t exactly cool the burn.  I’m a good person.  I find the lesson in things.  I work my butt off.  I help others.  What’s the lesson here?  Could it be that sometimes there is no lesson to be learned?  Could it be that the Universe and/or God (or whatever type of head honcho you believe in) has to distribute certain issues to everyone and this just happens to be mine?  I guess in a sense then that still makes me extremely lucky.  And I think the fact that I’m able to say that through all of this is a big assessment of my character.  Maybe that’s why I have to deal with this again; to prove that my spirit can’t ever be broken, even with a heavy heart.

Fate Freaks Me Out

While driving to work with my iPod on shuffle, OneRepublic’s “Say (All I Need)” song came on.  One of my absolute favorites.  I’ve rocked out in my car to this song before many times, nonchalantly belting out the chorus and choreographing a dance in my head.  Really, it’s no big deal.  But every time I hear this song, there’s one line that leads to some deep thinking, even twenty songs later.  That one line, “Do you know what your fate is?  Are you trying to shake it?” It makes me stop and think about life every single time.  It’s probably because the whole fate theory is constantly astonishing me, amazing me, and thoroughly confusing me.

So, what is fate?  Is our life all mapped out already?  Do we have any say really?  Or, is our life destined to be a certain way despite what we do?  Do we know what our fate is?  It just freaks me out.  Take it a step further, do people cross our paths for a reason?  Is that all just a part of fate too?  How does a person decipher when to act and when to let fate act?

If we have some say with our destiny, can we change our fate, for better or worse?  Can we shake it?  Was my fate to hear that song in the car and blog about it?  Is that pushing it?  I’ll never really know.  Neither will you, so I don’t feel as cheated.

I do believe that things happen for a reason and that fate does exist.  I think things fall into place, as they are supposed to.  Sometimes though, I wonder if fate is anything more than a crutch of hope that someone made up to help accept a stumble in their life.  Even still, it’s a nice thing to believe in, and it puts things in a bright perspective.

Whenever I hear the word fate, I’m automatically sucked into my never ending thoughts, overanalyzed theories, and nonstop questions.  So, hearing Ryan Tedder’s angelic voice sing the word, is no different.