On Goodbye & Moving Forward

I joined Discovery to chase after my passion for live entertainment and events, and I leave three+ years later so incredibly proud to have been a part of such an amazing company and so many incredible opportunities. But the biggest honor and privilege is that I got to do it with all of you by my side!

 Endlessly grateful for all the bosses and mentors that supported and challenged me along the way. For a team that has literally jumped into pools to help set up decor for me. For coworkers that became lifelong friends and filled each day with so much laughter, joy and puns.

 Thank you, thank you, thank you. Heaps of gratitude.


On Nostalgia


Made an impromptu trek back to New Hampshire to say goodbye to my childhood home. It was a good home. The best home. It was our home. 

I skinned my knees on the sidewalk, played tag with my friends in the yard, argued with my sibling in the upstairs hallway, and was punished and loved by my parents everywhere within its walls. I remember sitting on the porch with my father to watch every meteor shower and lightning storm. How my mother would blast OutKast and U2 from the stereo while cooking. How bright it would get in my room. 

The warmth of the NH sun is one of the first things I held dearly about this home, or what I believed it to be. 

This home saw it all - the laughter, the sickness, the tears, the countless BBQs and family gatherings. This was the center of my world for my young adult life. It rooted and grounded me, but also gave me the courage to grow and expand. To seek new roots. It’s so much a part of the reason why I now live in NYC.

And so on Sunday morning, I laced up my sneakers the way I have done so many times before and I ran the same 3+ mile loop I have nearly every day growing up. I took this photo, stood silently and felt gratitude for the sun that warmed my cheeks. For the tiny places in this world that we get to call our own - even for a finite time. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Goodbye.

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Mile Markers: Reflecting On 2018


2018 began with a bang. And I mean a literal bang. An unforgettable crunching of metal and shattering glass against my body.

And then total silence.

I came to several minutes later in a crosswalk with a crowd of unfamiliar faces looking down - asking what I could remember (which wasn’t much), and a splitting headache. My body felt, well, like it just got hit by a car.


Over the last few months, I’ve woven together a narrative of what happened from a few of my own hazy memories of that evening, as well as threads collected from witnesses and police reports.

Here are the facts: I was on my run commute home after a day of work. I was supposed to have the right of way. But then - more than halfway across the street- I sensed a car coming at me. I jumped backward, but the driver swerved in the same direction, and the car struck me in the lower left leg first - vaulting me up onto the hood and windshield. I was carried about 10 to 15 feet further until the car came to a stop and deposited me back onto the roadway.

Refuting the gruff, unkind stereotype of New Yorkers, a group of strangers rushed over to help. They called the police, and covered me in a pile of their own scarves and gloves so I would be warm until the ambulance arrived. They told me jokes to keep me awake, and squeezed my hand when all I could do was beg and plead for answers. For my parents. For the pain to go away.

I still have a pair of unclaimed gloves from that night.


 In popular culture, getting hit by a car is a comedic trope. It symbolizes a deserved retribution. An unexpected hurdle and barrier. It is to suffer extremely bad luck.

Something happened in a single moment - something strange and rare, something unbelievable —and after that moment, everything changed.

Among the cards and well-wishing messages from colleagues and friends was one I’ll never forget from my dear friend, James. He had been hit by a speeding taxi 3 years earlier during his bike commute. “I don’t meant to alarm you,” James wrote, “but your life will probably never be quite the same.”

And James is right. Even a full year after recovery, getting hit by a car changed the way I experience this city. This world.

Getting hit by a car was traumatic. It was a complete and total disruption of my understanding of the world as a basically safe and livable space. Every time I see a black SUV coming down the street, my thoughts rebound to my accident. I never step off a curb until the light actually changes and I had the chance to look both ways a minimum of 10 times. Even then, I am never again sure that a vehicle that should stop will stop. All carefree pedestrian wanderings ended abruptly.

Following the accident, I had this perpetual sense of doom. I felt as though I had little control over my fate - as if a car (metaphorical or real) would come plowing through at any moment and wreck havoc again, and I had no way of stopping it. Of course, I soon learned this just wasn’t true. I am not a ticking time bomb. But I needed to take a few months to calm down my mind and understand what everything meant.


The accident and recovery process this last year have been incredibly humbling. At the end of the day, I am one of the lucky ones. I know that. I lived. I enjoyed the support of family, friends, colleagues and countless doctors. I had good health insurance. I left the ER with minimal physical injuries.

The experience brought me a newfound appreciation for life and respect for my body. My body - while temporarily battered by the crash - continues to support and hold me up everyday. I can still run, dance, jump, sing and hug among many, many other activities. I’m no longer preoccupied by “problem areas” like I used to be.

I have come to see my body as a wonderful gift - it is uniquely mine. It has taught me things nothing else could. It is resilient and it is beautiful. My body and I are now an army, and my scars an exquisite reminder of my strength and that miracles happen.

I’m just so, so happy to be here. Cheers to bad luck and all the good fortune that it brings!


On Summits

On April 14, I began a journey to get my Catskills 3500 badge. I started along the Devil’s Path at Hunter Mountain on the perfect April Day during “mashed potato season”. We spent the entire climb laughing and post-holing – our legs plunging below the snow’s surface. I’ve never been happier.

Three months later, I have officially reached the halfway point in my goal with 20 Catskill High Peaks summits and even hiked 90+ miles to dozens of mountain peaks across the United States. But hiking was never just about reaching the top. These trails became my home. They gave me a family. Hiking allowed me to grow stronger, more confident and more appreciative of both the small treasures and vast wonders of life. Hiking is a test for myself, an investment in myself and a gift to myself. 

Here are 35 things, big and small, the mountains have taught me (so far...):


1. A liter of water weighs 2.2 pounds.

2. Always bring paper maps. Always. 

3. Most people won't answer you honestly when you ask them if you smell bad. 

4. Soft cotton, shower and filtered water should never be taken for granted. 

5. Deet can melt the plastic off your watch. 

6. People can talk about their gear forever. Seriously. It never stops. 

7. Your nostrils and lips can get sunburned. 

8. Electrolytes are very important. 


9. Most hiking packs have built in whistles. 

10. Invest your money in a good rain jacket, and time in good people. They'll both give you the confidence to dance through the worst of storms. And that's invaluable.

11. Also, just go outside. 

12. Early morning miles are the best miles. 

13. Never assume you are at the top of a climb. 

14. Wet wipes are worth their weight in gold. 

15. Unexpected joy can come from sitting in the parking lot of a Motel 6 eating an entire bag of salad with a spoon. 


16. Always err on the side of carrying too much food and water. 

17. Glissading is the act of sliding on your butt down a snowy mountain face to descend in a faster and more exciting fashion. And it's glorious. 

18. Always take more pictures of people than of landscapes. 

19. Patience, like a muscle, must be exercised to get stronger. 

20. Chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink. 

21. Food always tastes better on a mountain summit. 

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22. Stop trying to find clever and graceful ways to cross a stream. Charge ahead - fearlessly. Because your hiking boots are waterproof anyway, right?

23. Happiness is finishing a 14-mile hike in torrential downpour and finding a friend in a lean-to with a hot cup of tea ready for you.

24. It takes 6+ months for an orange peel to decompose. Pack it out with you. 

25. Never underestimate the power of hand warmers. 

26. Women are the more likely than men to break their tailbones. I learned this after flying down a rocky incline at the Blackhead Range, followed by intensive WebMD research.

27. If you have the chance to summit for sunrise, do so. 

28. Dance a lot. Make it goofy. Poles not required. 


29. Laugh frequently. No amount of pain medicine can make it as easy to get through the toughest of times as laughter. When it seems that just about everything has gone wrong, your best move is to laugh. 

30. If given the opportunity, your body can surprise you with how much it can do.

31. On the official Dreamgirls soundtrack, there is a dance remix of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” and it’s just as ridiculous as you think it is.

32. “That skinny, white guy with a beard” is not an effective description when trying to find your friend up in the Catskills. 

33. Moments are better shared. 

34. Get an REI membership already. 

35. There's nothing to prove except how fun the entire process can be - especially with good company. 

On Platonic Love

To my endlessly wonderful friend, Lou... I know you’re just moving across town, but this note is long overdue. Thank you for 2+ years of laughter, hugs and late night s’mores. I love you endlessly.



Disco was the first thing we bonded over.

I still remember moving into our Astoria apartment in the fall of 2015, and hearing the faint vocals of Anita Ward spill out of your bedroom and into the kitchen. I never mentioned it to you though. In fact, I spent the first few weeks creeping around the apartment – worried of making too much noise or disturbing your routine. Yes, we shared a house. But in many ways, our lives were still separate. 

And then the new year rushed in, and I had my heart broken. Unexpectedly, my (now ex-) boyfriend announced that he was moving to Colorado. I was devastated. I thought it was meant to be (It wasn’t). I thought he was my human (He wasn’t).

I returned to our apartment later that night  – blindsided, defeated and my eyes red from all the crying. Immediately after I walked in and you saw my face, you stopped stirring your food and rushed over. Without hesitation, you wrapped your arms around me and tried your best to console me. 

"Marissa, as hard as it is to believe, there was a time in your life before him. You were happy then. You will be happy again."

You then took my hand and spun me out of your grasp – starting the first of what would soon become routine, nightly dance parties in the kitchen. There, over the bubbling and splattering of your meal prep, we danced together for the first time to the Bee Gees' "More Than A Woman".

As the song ended, I smiled. "This is happiness," I remember thinking.


Life with you was a dance. It was sashaying our way down the streets of Astoria, laughing about the absurdity of it all. It was putting the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack on repeat as we cleaned. It was staying in so you could teach me the choreography of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" music video. It was spontaneous road trips to Staten Island and Six Flags, while blasting '80s Hi-NRG dance floor tracks. It was the week after I got hit by a car and could hardly move because of the whiplash, and how - without hesitation - you propped me up on your shoulders so that we could dance to Cher.

Over and over again, you remind me (as you do so many others) that life isn't a battle to be fought, but an event to dance through and gift to be treasured. And for that, I love you. 


I know you would find this post melodramatic. But when you wake up to and end your day with the same person for more than two years, moving on isn't just saying goodbye to a person. It becomes an untangling of a collective existence, until you're left floating loose ends, and a little lost and a little scared of what's next. 

The last few weeks have been a lot of adjusting to a new chapter as I watched you pack up your belongings into boxes. A chapter that will be without some, but one that is still filled with so, so much. 

As it so often is in life, words fall short. Some things are easy to say - because they are what I have told you so many times before. That you are amazing. That finding you in the chaos of this world was one of the best things to ever happen to me. That you have changed me. That I deeply love you. 

But then there are things that are harder to find the words for. It's hard to imagine you leaving the place we have made "home" together. It's hard to express the intense combination of happiness I feel for you as you move in to your own place, and the excitement I feel for myself as I welcome a new roommate into our apartment. It's hard to tell you just how much your unconditional love and support has meant to me the past two years. 

In one of our late night chats, you described a feeling to me that I wish I had a name for: it's the feeling of looking forward, but without loss. And that is how I want to part ways with you as roommates. Without loss. The loss of impromptu fondue parties, of weekend Netflix binges, of mornings spent scheming up new adventures. These losses are so insignificant in comparison to everything I have gained from you. I part ways with you as a more patient, kind and resilient person. With a lifelong friend and unforgettable memories. With a deeper understanding of our world and the knowledge that I will never be able to express or repay all the gifts you have given me. Perhaps more importantly, I part ways with a heart full of love.

Thank you! Until the next goodbye. 

On Empty Spaces


It’s 7:08p, and I’m standing motionless at the edge of the local university’s pool — gazing wearily below at the glassy waves, hoping for just a moment of distraction. I let out a heavy sign before collapsing onto the ground. My vision begins to blur as my eyes fill with tears, and my friend Ian immediately rushes over to give me a hug.

“It’s OK. You got this!” Ian assures me.

“I’m going to hit my head and drown.”

“No you are not. You have to trust me.”

“I DO trust you. That’s not the problem.”

“I don’t know what to tell you then. You have to learn to trust yourself, Marissa.”


Drowning is the first fear I remember having. In my dreams, I’m constantly being sucked downward — past the clouds and rooftops, well below the surface — by this inexorable pull.  

It’s a fear that has been with me from the beginning. A memory of holding onto the bathtub edge, firmly hoisting myself upright onto steady feet. I must have been a toddler, which makes me question the authenticity of this memory. But I still remember that sense of urgency. I wanted out. 

And yet, despite this growing fear, a good chunk of my childhood was spent in the water. When I was little, my father would take my sister and me out on Saturday mornings to the local YMCA. Here, in the pool, my father would sink into the water and instruct us to stand on his stomach. From there, my sister and I would float effortlessly past the breakers and into the deep end. We would laugh and giggle, waving at those we passed — until my father would inevitably shoot back up to the surface for air, consequently giving up our secret. 

From there, my sister and I took swimming lessons every summer. My memories of these lessons are exclusively physical. I remember the panic and the nervous splashing that would follow immediately after jumping in. The intensity of the rocks on the lake floor. The way my eyes burned for hours afterwards. I remember the aggressiveness of the water — the way it always found its way into my ears and down my throat. 

I remember always being terrified. Not just of drowning — but of being underwater. Of being unable to breathe. Of being uncomfortable. 

To say I didn’t take to swimming is an understatement. I hated it.

So, instead I played soccer. And then basketball. I rode my bicycle around the town, and even picked up horseback riding for a summer. And then, I was eventually introduced to my true love: running. I buried away my aquamarine memories of summer camp, and completely forgot about my ability of staying afloat.  

But then, I found myself injured and unable to do most weight-bearing activities. I could no longer rely on my legs to keep me upright and to push me forward into the word. 


The distant grunts and hisses of the gym pipes bring me back. 

 I open my eyes and keep my gaze down, trying to bring my bare feet into focus. The water splashes against the edge. The world remains an encompassing blur. I take a deep breath and start to stand. 

“You ready?” Ian asks.

I nod, hesitantly. 

In order to keep sane during my forced running hiatus, I decided to humor Ian — a loyal friend, who happens to be an even more dedicated swimmer. He insisted that I would fall in love with the water after a few weeks under his tutelage. “I’ll even teach you how to dive,” Ian assures me.

And so, the past few weeks have been a chaotic blur of chlorinated air, too-tight goggles and skin tight bathing suits as Ian re-taught me the basics of swimming. Each Tuesday has been a different lesson: freestyle, breast stroke, back stroke, the butterfly. 

Tonight is my final lesson with Ian though, and there’s only one thing left to do: dive.

And just like I have been with the rest of my lessons, I’m petrified. 


I've spent most of my life battling this underlying wave of anxiety. From a young age, there was always a craving for control and perfection. In many ways, this anxiety pushed me to my highest achievements: graduating Magna Cum Laude with two degrees, winning countless cross country races and athletic awards. But the anxiety also brought with it panic attacks, depression and bouts of social isolation. 

This past few years were especially prone to anxiety: new jobs, company layoffs, fresh heartbreak, unexpected ER visits. And, let's not forget, my first running injury.  Panic often came without warning: in the space between pings of an email; while idly waiting for the subway; standing in the kitchen, staring at the nearly boiling pot of water. It was the periods of emptiness. The quiet moments. The empty spaces within my being. That is where the panic lies. That is where the anxiety always began. But what were once brief episodes, have become more frequent and intense.

And then I went on a trail run. And the trails forced me into these empty spaces. 

At first, they were brief, secluded moments of reflection on the well-manicured Bridal Path of Central Park. But as I started to run further and faster, I ventured out to the technical, rocky mountain trails of New Jersey and Upstate New York - joining various running groups along the way. I would return back to my apartment, muddy and exuberant. 

I established my most cherished relationships on the trails. Relationships with others and myself. I bought trail shoes and raced my first ultras. I figured out how to keep my pack from sloshing and used the word "vert" an inappropriate amount of times. I admired my body's strengths, rather than its flaws. I hollered on the downhills, arms flailing wildly. I peed in the woods and went camping before races. I fell in love in more ways than one. I found strength, peace and reprieve on the trails.

At first, running was a means of escaping the parts of myself I didn't want to face. But now, things were different. Trail running had forced me into the empty spaces of my being. It forced me to be present and alive. On the trails, I face my anxieties, fear and insecurities head-on - no longer challenging or hiding them. Just total acceptance. Acknowledging my anxieties as perfect pieces of my imperfect self. 


Vision clearing and heart settling, I make my way back to the edge of the pool. My knees begin to bend as I swing my arms up above my head. 

Thinking back on these crazy few years, I no longer feel burdened with expectation. I no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed of being a 24-year-old who never learned how to dive. Yes, I felt vulnerable. But I no longer felt weak.

Many of us pick up trial running as a way to grapple with our weaknesses and uncertainties - with the empty spaces within each of us. With the cracks and crevices in our being, that we so easily fill with anxiety. Trail running taught me to no longer run away. It taught me to plunge straight into the abyss. To find joy in these voids. 

Trail running has shown me the clarity in emptiness. The peace in my own insignificance. The limited space I occupy on this earth, and the deliberate ways I can choose to occupy it. It has completely shifted my perspective - teaching me humility and grace, self-love and patience. And more importantly, running introduced me to myself. To the woman I am in this specific moment. Not the woman I should be, nor who I will become. But who I am right now. And she is not defined by a sport. Or her anxiety. She is just a small speck in our vast landscape. A small, smiling speck plunging straight into the world in front of her. 

And so — smiling — I leap forward and dive into the pool water. Into the unknown.

On Being

It's absolutely ridiculous how much a wood oar means to me. How much this tribe means to me. Still in shock. Still smiling. Still so, so, so grateful. 
I've been struggling a lot lately to come to terms with my reality, which is this: I am injured. Three weeks ago I went out for a run and was hit by a cyclist as he raced onto the sidewalk. Immediately, I knew something wasn't right- I could barely lift my leg.

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This injury has been humbling. It has meant entirely scrapping my training logs + race schedule. It meant facing my fears and battling my anxieties. It meant getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

And yet - despite all the physical pain and mental stress this injury has caused- I can't help but feel like maybe this was all meant to happen the way it did. Like I am exactly where I am supposed to be -- surrounded by the most inspiring, positive and incredible group of humans I have ever met. A group that sings and dances their way through life. A group that gives the BEST hugs. A group that has turned NYC into a giant playground. A group that will road trip 30+ hours to run a race. Humans that show up smiling, ready and excited to take on each new workout and day - welcoming with open arms the unknown. And that's exactly what I plan on doing too.

I'm not sure what lies ahead, but with you all by my side, I know it's going to be great. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I truly feel like the luckiest, happiest girl in the world.

Life in between: lessons learned from training for my first 50k

You may only be able to see half of my face in the below picture, but the most important part is still visible: the faint outline of a sprawling smile. This photo was taken just over the halfway point into my first 50k, which I ran this past weekend in a Nor’easter storm. And while this may have been the most difficult course + conditions I have ever raced through, I have never ran so happy, light or free. Sure — it was 32 miles of trudging through ankle deep puddles, sliding down mud hills and hurdling over collapsed trees. But it was also 32 miles of cheering, laughter and pure joy.

Even though I have been running for more than 13 years, I will always remember this past year as my triumphant return to the sport. My new beginning and rebirth as a runner. For me, 2017 was the year I found a new reason to lace up my running shoes and get out into the world every day. It was the year I closed the door on comparison, doubt and fear. The year I stopped running for PRs or to prove something. The year I started saying “yes.”

Yes to epic experiences. Yes to embarking on the hardest training of my running career. Yes to creating the kind of stories I want to share when I’m old. Yes to living the life I want to lead. Yes to a year of adventures and charging ahead into the unknown.

Here are some things I learned / will take away from my year of running:

1.Leap. Over and over again, I am reminded of the power of taking that first step. It’s so easy to spend life on the sidelines — wishing for things to happen and waiting for that perfect time to jump in. I’ve been guilty of doing both these things more times than I would like to admit. But the thing is — whether or not you’re ready — time is passing. And there’s no way to reverse it.

It took me two months to finally work up the courage to press “submit” on my first ultra-marathon registration form. I kept telling myself I didn’t have the time, energy, strength or ability to run this sort of distance. And then, one day I decided I was tired of my excuses and waiting to start my dream. So, I took my first step and signed up for my first 50k. And then I took another step: getting out there and logging the miles. Committing to train day after day, week after week, even on the hard days. Each step I took was just one step closer to crossing the finish line of my 32-mile dream.

Life truly brings you to some pretty amazing places, people and opportunities when you stop making excuses and just show up for it. See where your first step takes you.

2. Surround yourself with great people. People who make you laugh hard and smile endlessly. People with great stories. People who inspire you. People who meet you at 5 a.m. to run / catch the train to the next November Project workout. People who give the BEST hugs and pep talks. People to laugh with at the aid stations about the absurdity of it all. People who support and help you achieve your goals without expecting anything in return.

3. Believe. If you don’t believe in yourself, no amount of support or encouragement from those around you will get you across the finish line. This applies to all areas of life.

Training for this 50k has been one of the most mentally and emotionally exhaustive experiences of my life. There were countless workouts and long runs that ended with me on the side of the road in tears — frustrated and doubtful that I could tackle the distance. Runs that I had to plead with myself just to make it one more street block. And then to the next one.

And yet, somewhere deep in my heart, I knew I was capable. I knew I was worthy. I knew I could do this. And in the middle of my race, when I was struggling and starting to think “I can’t” — I returned to that feeling of worthiness and found a way to take the next step forward.

4. There’s nothing to prove. Except for how much fun this entire process can be — especially when you’re in good company. When you run with your heart + joy, pace, time and distance are inconsequential.

5. Ride the wave. By signing up for long distance races, you are choosing to put yourself into the exhilarating unknown. This is equally terrifying, incredible and energizing. Whatever may come on race day — choose to embrace the experience with open arms. The new terrain. The new thoughts. The new feelings. The new lessons.

6. Never limit where running can take you. Running (and life) is far more beautiful and complex than hitting a PR or crossing a finishing line. Enjoy the privilege that is taking even one step and simply being.

Mile Markers: Stopping to Reflect on 2016

I started out 2016 with a broken heart. And I'm talking proper heartbreak in the all-consuming, old-fashioned sense. The type that leaves mascara smeared all over your cheeks. The type that has you justifying listening to Bonnie Raitt. The type that causes you to uncontrollably sob on a stranger's shoulder in the middle of the subway. The type that crushes all your preconceived notions, hopes and plans. 

The type that clears you out for something new and incredible to come in. 

And that is just what happened. 

This year has certainly not gone according to the plan I had in mind. But it was so much more than anything I could have ever asked for / dreamed of. 2016 is an incredible reminder of just how perfectly life unfolds when you let go of control and your expectations of what should be, and start to look up and appreciate life for what it is (which is nothing short of amazing).

I look back at 2016 forever changed, humbled, surprised and, most of all, in awe of the human experience and the places it brings you. In 365 days, I have:

  • Listened to 63,588 minutes of music (the equivalent of 44 days)
  • Ran 1,200 miles through the streets of New York City
  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday at Six Flags with my endlessly wonderful roommate, Lou
  • Crossed off more than 95 books and 35 must-see concerts from the bucket list
  • Completed my first Tough Mudder / Half Marathon / Marathon
  • Stumbled through the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter
  • Landed + started one of my dream jobs at Discovery Communications
  • Got stuck on a boat in the middle of Ossipee Lake during a torrential downpour
  • Attended and danced for 6+ hours at my beautiful cousin Laura's wedding in NH
  • Visited / ran on the beaches of Wildwood, NJ for the first time 
  • Crossed my one-year anniversary of living in Astoria / with the two best guys I know
  • Witnessed the NYC Halloween parade with my amazing coworkers
  • Watched a pumpkin fly 4,000+ feet across a field on the fairgrounds of Punkin' Chunkin'
  • Stood 4+ hours at Rockefeller Plaza in the freezing cold with Deana to catch Kings of Leon
  • Experienced a lifetime's worth of trauma, embarrassing dates and unforgettable first kisses during my first year on Tinder
  • Saw the Northern Lights and sunk into the hot springs of Iceland
  • And just fell in love over and over again with this world...

So, I say to myself, "Relax. You're doing just fine. You're doing great, actually. And you are exactly where you are supposed to be."

I may not have it all figured out, but moving forward, I will honor the path I walk on knowing now that I am the captain of my own journey and fully prepared for all that is to come. I am not lost...Just exploring the endless possibilities of this world. 

Here are some intentions I have for my new year as I continue this wild journey called life: 

1. Love and Let Go

This is an ongoing lesson for me. It's hard to love so deeply without clinging. But true love only exists in freedom. And so, my aim is to stay connected without tethering. 

2. Process Over Outcomes

It's a cliche to say this, but it's not about the destination – it's the journey. The rewards are inherent in the process, not the result. When you are less concerned with how things will play out, you can focus on the now. 

3. Cut Loose

Life is too short to not be doing what you love. I want to cut loose the people and obligations that deplete me rather than inspire and energize me.

4. Accept and Allow

Accept myself, accept others and accept my circumstances just the way you are. I can change anything, but I have to accept where I am first. Allow people to be themselves and allow things to unfold naturally. Allow myself to feel all my feelings, and then let them go. When I switch my focus from trying to control or find a solution, I can be more present and peaceful in the now. 

5. Heart Over Head

I have spent so much of my life overthinking everything. This can make me weary and wary. We don't have to believe everything we think. I got some very simple and wise advice this summer: get out of your head and trust your heart. 

6. Go Deep

There are always going to be waves on the surface. Instead of trying to float or change the tides, the wisest thing to do is dive deeper. When I cultivate a place within myself, deep beneath circumstances where the current is barely detectable, I have immediate access to peace and steadiness at my core. 

7. All In

Whatever I choose to do or pursue, whomever I choose to love – I want to do it with a whole heart, all in. When I view my life through a lens of abundance, I can open my heart wider every day without fear of giving myself away or running dry. There is always more. 


How To Not Get Kicked Out of a Dave Matthews Concert and Other Valuable Lessons From My Dad

Growing up, when my father would drive my sister and me to school, we’d spend the first few moments in silence. I’d gaze out the window thinking about important high school matters, like boys, and he’d turn the radio to his classic rock station of choice. Without fail—once the chorus of the song hit—my father’s soft hum would turn into a slew of coos and yelps. Whatever poetic phrases made up the lyrics were merciless against “Lou Originals”— odes where my father would interchange the word "you" with his own name. "Ahhhh... Lord, I miss Lou....mmmmmhmmm."

Our car rides always finished in hysteria – my sister and I holding our stomachs and trying to catch our breath after laughing uncontrollably for the past three minutes, and my father proudly smirking at his performance. 

Lyrics are not the only thing my father ad-libs. For as long as I can remember, he has been making up words and ludicrous household rules including "Daddy Tax" — a "law" that gave my father the right to take any portion of my meal that he so desired. When he was not tyrannically taking my Pop Tarts at breakfast, you could find him free-styling puns at the local bar and —to my teenage mind's complete mortification— doing his best Boy George (circa Culture Club 1982) impression at wedding receptions. 

My family and I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the inner workings of my father. It's as if his mind rolls on a perpetual hamster wheel, sucking in random thoughts from corners of his brain. 

My father truly lives in a world all of his own. And yet, despite the language barrier, I actually "get" my dad in a lot of ways.

In my teen years, I often exhibited the typical symptoms of indecisiveness and and sarcasm. On one particular occasion, my mother yelled at me, "You're just like your father!" and stormed away. She had her own reasons to be upset, but she was right. 

Among his many gifts, my father blessed me with his blond hair and forever case of FOMO, which was a condition he was inflicted with long before "fear of missing out" became an acronym. He also gave me an unbreakable sense of independence and adventure. Together, we are always running five minutes later, aimlessly wandering down city streets or striking up a conversation with strangers at the local bar. 

Now, there's many things we don't see eye-to-eye on. We disagree on things like politics, my vegetarian lifestyle and the very important and longstanding debate of russet versus sweet potatoes. But when it comes to my dad's outlook on life, I will always admire and carry with me his open and child-like approach. 

My father has always viewed the world as a playground. He has never taken anything too seriously  — choosing instead to fill each moment with laughter, joy and awe. 

I spent my entire upbringing happily observing my father and following in suit as he wiled away hours cultivating sea-monkey and ant farms, tore through the Sunday paper to get to the cartoons or simply sat on the front porch to catch a thunderstorm. Even in the most mundane of moments (a 5-hour car ride back to Upstate New York to drop me off at college) and challenging of times (my senior year of high school when I thought Physics would be a great idea), my father always brought a contagious sense of enthusiasm for life and the moment. Unlike me, he never views traffic jams or even quantum mechanics as a daunting problem that needs to be resolved. Instead, my father has always wholeheartedly embraced the mysteries and unpredictability of this world as a beautiful part of existence. He has always encouraged my sister and I to expand our horizons, try everything once and to always find a reason to laugh. 

However, beneath my dad's happy-go-lucky personality is a massive nostalgic. He borders the verge of tears each time he drops me off at the Boston bus station, and even weeps with joy when he catches my sister and me in a bout of laughter at 2 a.m. On my graduation day, just before I took my last look at Ithaca College, my dad began to cry when I hugged him. "I'm not crying...It's just really windy," he choked through his tears.

"You know, all we want is for you to be happy," my father says to me often. He doesn't get into the details. He doesn't have to. The bottom line is all that matters.

I know I am extraordinarily lucky to have the kind of dad I do. My whole life, I knew he would be there for me. He told me I was beautiful and he hugged me a lot. He encouraged me to be courageous and confident. He protected me. Not everyone is so lucky.

We love to joke about my dad's peculiar quirks. But sometimes I wonder if he's the one that's really got it all figured out. Since the day we were born, he's been rationing these bits of advice. Did he know what he was doing all along?

I imagine my dad will go on mystifying us for the rest of his life, which I'm OK with. I wouldn't know what to make of him otherwise. And if in 23 years, I'm telling the next generation how to not to get kicked out of a Dave Matthew concert, then I'm OK with that too.

Happy Father's Day, dad! You're the best.