The boy in the blue shirt

It was in 2011 that I first met Evan. I met him in the driveway of my childhood home. I remember it well, because while the four of us (my friend Julie and I, and Evan and his friend Steve) were going out for the night to meet up with other friends, I was supposed to like Steve. Imagine a world, where you’re supposed to like someone? I wish I could go back then and kick myself for allowing myself to feel like I had to do anything to please anyone else. Anyway…

I remember Evan because I thought he was cute right away. His shirt though, it was bright blue and two sizes too large. I knew he knew that too because the arms were rolled up and he kept tugging at it. He didn’t like it either, our first agreement was within seconds.

We went out that night and met a few other friends at Ladder 133 in Providence. I drove us all, in the cute little blue Audi I had, and it turned out to be a great night. We laughed all night. But the person I was focused on was Evan. He made me laugh the most. It would be the first, and last, night that I saw Evan for three years. I hung out with that same crowd of people we were mutual friends with, but we always missed each other. Whenever I was there, he wasn’t, whenever he was there, I wasn’t. Eventually, the boy in the blue shirt slipped out of my mind, after all … he was never supposed to be in my mind to begin with, or was he?

Three years later, I had recently moved to Boston. I was shopping after work one day, looking for the perfect throwback outfit to wear to a theme party I was going to that weekend. I had never been shopping where I was that day, and usually just went for a run or walked Cooper after work. But not that day, that day I went over to the BU area, and shopped around longer than I expected to. I was ready to head back home. I walked over to the MBTA train (the ‘T’), and waited for the next green line to take me back to my Cleveland Circle apartment. It came quickly, but was jam-packed with people heading home after work. I was deciding which car to get into, but they were both equally packed, I just picked one. I went up the stairs to the standing-room-only T, and found myself face-to-face with Evan Matzell.

He looked different but the same. He was wearing a light jacket this time. It fit. It looked great. He looked great. We talked the whole train ride. As people got off at each stop, seats opened up, but we just stayed there, face-to-face, talking. We talked all the way up until it was his stop. But it was also my stop. We learned that we lived within two blocks of each other. A week or two later, Evan and I went out on our first date. We quickly went on our second, then our third, then I met his mom, and then it was my birthday and he met my whole family. We quickly became a huge part of each others lives and neither of us wanted to slow down.

Over three years later, I still don’t want to slow down. I’ve never felt so right with someone, so at home. Who would’ve known, all these years later, that I’d be marrying that boy I met in my driveway. Life is funny that way. You never know when it’s going to zigzag and take you through a journey you wouldn’t have imagined. You have to trust your journey. I am so grateful that I’ll never go three years without seeing Evan Matzell again. My journey and his journey are now one, and I’m so excited for where it will take us.

Rules to live by

Life is challenging in so many ways. I think of myself as rather optimistic going through life, but it’s still not easy. I see it every day — people who just aren’t happy. And it breaks my heart because whatever they’re dwelling on, LET IT GO. Don’t think about things that make you unhappy, don’t DO things you hate, and STOP going through life like it’s not YOUR OWN.

Thinking about that, I came up with some ways that I live my life. Here are some of the “guidelines” that I live by:

  1. Treat yourself very well. I don’t rely on anyone to make me happy, besides me. I try to cover all the fields: my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I’m good to myself and I try to do all things in moderation. I’ll eat ice cream one day, and then go for a run the next. I’ll buy myself a massage every-so-often. If I’m feeling in a funk, I’ll take a vacation day and have a “me” day. If I want something I’ll go light on spending the month before, and then buy it for myself. As they say, life is about moderation, and it’s true. Through life, be sure to take good care of yourself. If you don’t, it will come out in ways you don’t want it to – you’ll act negatively to your loved ones and through your work and then it’s a revolving cycle that you don’t want to be in. Treat yourself well.
  2. Be specific in asking for what you want out of your life. This is funny and I just learned it in the last 4-5 years. If you want something in life — to reach a goal, get a new job, change a B+ to an A-, improve a skill — find someone close to whatever it is and ask them for advice. Important: Don’t ask for it to be handed to you. Just ask for advice. And they very likely will help you way more than you imagined. The hard part is still on you, because you need to first figure out exactly what you want before asking. If you don’t know exactly what you want, the passion won’t be there and you’ll sound needy. No one likes a needy-someone. But everyone likes a determined-someone. Be that someone.*
  3. Don’t hurt others, even if they deserve it. Some people truly suck. Truly. If and when you think about being vengeful, just remember that we’re all human. Human isn’t a very easy thing to be for all of us. Some days are really bad, and for some people, you just never know how deeply wounded they can be from something else in their life, that in turn made them hurt you. Realize that life is hard enough, and you get out what you put in. People will have their own challenges — always. They don’t need you to add to them. Take your energy and put it into something else. Don’t waste it on bad people.
  4. Say thank you for your blessings before seeking what else you need. This is so important. Pretty much on a daily basis I say — out loud — “thank you for my blessings.” I feel like the luckiest person in the world, but I’m really not anymore than the next person. I just choose to look at all of the positives in my life, before looking at what I could have or do. I went to a Catholic high school, and I remember in faith class one day we were tasked with writing down our prayers and then asked to share them. People asked for health, wealth, stress-free days, solutions to drama, etc. I was the only one whose prayer was of thanks. I had listed all of my blessings and was simply saying thank you for them. I recall being so surprised to find that this wasn’t how others started their prayers. But to this day, I say aloud how thankful I am for everyone and everything I have in my life.
  5. Build your foundation and don’t let anyone touch it. Everything in life needs a solid foundation for it to be durable — your career, a new house, a relationship and your being. All of your experiences, successes and failures have led you to exactly where you are right now. Whether you like it or not, you have built your foundation. The important piece is making it strong, and making it true to you, and only you. It is very important to know who you are at your core. I have a solid knowledge of who I am, no matter the circumstances in my life (I think this is why I am so stubborn, lol). But seriously — I know who I am, and no matter what happens in my life, I have that, and that ensures me that I will always be okay.
  6. Be there. The people who you love, the ones who you call friends and family, they matter more than anything. If they need you, be there. The only thing I would ever regret in my life is letting down someone I love.

*Some extra motivation to get you to the weekend:

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture”

Extra tissues please

Hang on while I get emotional…

I know this commercial is old news, but if you have not seen the entirety of the new Extra Gum commercial, do yourself a favor and watch it. First of all, kudos Extra, you absolutely crushed this. You took something as basic as gum and made it personal, emotional, and into a story. You also made a lot of people tear up, and get the beautiful song “Cant Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart stuck in quite a few heads.

extra

But what I love the absolute most about this commercial is how normal it is. There is nothing extravagant about these two people, what they do, or what they have. The emotions that we watch them share together are raw human emotions; emotions that all of us can relate to.

It admits that love makes you vulnerable, it can have hard times, sometimes even life can get in the way. But in the end, love wins.

Absolute perfection in the most imperfect ways.

Extra, Cheers!