Never Lose Hope

When things in your life
go absolutely wrong,

never lose hope
When despair sets in
and you see no way out,
never lose hope
When the decisions you make
take you further from your goal,
never lose hope
When you try your best
but it isn’t enough,
never lose hope
Your faith in yourself
is unbreakable
You are stronger
than what you appear to be
Your will to overcome challenges
is resilient
You can make it through
all your dark times
if you keep that spark alive
and believe that
all good things will
come to fruition
if you…
never lose hope







Almost, But Not Quite There Yet

1A

When life throws you a curve, what do you do?  We are faced with making many decisions on a daily basis, some minor, others life-changing ones.  How do you decide which course of action to take?  Do you rush into it with emotions running high?  Do you take a step back and think things through?

1C

Lately, I’ve been pondering the decisions that I’ve made within the past several months.  Were they good ones…well it’s hard to say.  From my perspective, it might’ve been the wrong ones.  I think the past several decisions were based purely on emotions and in hindsight I should’ve taken a breather before jumping headlong into a predicament that exacerbated what was already a stressful situation.

1F

As always, I live and learn.  My comfort is in the fact that I have the power to do something about it and that it’s not something that’ll last forever.  No matter how bad the situation I’m in, I’ll find a way to resolve it.  I just need to look for the little signs that God has placed for me to find.  Once I can identify them and learn from it then it’ll be when I can move on.  Life is way too short to just give up and be content with where you are.

Granted I’ve made mistakes that led me to where I am today, but I have faith that this is the path that God designed for me.  I am eternally hopeful that this will ultimately lead me to where I was truly meant to be.  As long as I keep the faith, stay positive and persevere, I’ll be just fine.   

1G

Midlife Reflections #5

A3

Looking back on everything I’ve done in my life, whether it be good or bad, there are definitely things that I would’ve done very differently.  But I guess that’s how we all would feel if given the power of hindsight.  Some would say that what we did was supposed to happen in order for us to learn a lesson or set us on the right path to where we’re going to end up. 

For someone like me who’s a control freak, especially when it comes to my choice of jobs, it’s truly frustrating when you’ve made a bad choice.  After making that critical decision, whether intentionally, hastily or ill-informed, it feels like an eternity trying to get my life back on track.  Everything seems to be in overdrive just to get back to normalcy; but now every turn, every move I make I second guess myself. 

“I shouldn’t have done this!”

“What the hell was I thinking?!”

“What have I gotten myself into?!”

“Am I going to get out of this jam? And when!?”

All these thoughts run a continuous loop in my head and I beat myself up over making that error in judgement.  We’re all human, but I have high expectations of myself and feel like the whole world just came crashing down on me.  I feel trapped with no option in sight.  

We talk to our family and friends about our predicament to get their advice but it turns into a therapy session where we pour our hearts out in hopes of a quick and easy solution.  We’ve all been there…and we’ll all go there again. 

The one thing that keeps me afloat is the prospect of something better on the horizon.  Yeah, I don’t know how long it’ll take to reach that destination but the idea of finding something better keeps that hope alive.  AND I always hold out for hope!  I always err on the side of positivity.  Why?  Because at my lowest point, that’s all I can do.  It’s much better than the alternative; I can’t just give up.  Throwing in the towel and being resigned to the fact that I failed somehow is not an option. 

There is always a way out of every predicament I put myself in.  Strength and faith is all I need to have to know that it’ll all work out in the end.  Nothing’s impossible to overcome, I just have to be willing to take the first step forward…AND I just did.    

Our Dreams

Our dreams,

define us,

brings out our passion,

unites us mind, body and soul,

shapes our character

Our dreams,

make us work above and beyond,

pushing us to the brink,

testing our resolve,

our faith

Our dreams,

create doubts,

questions our path,

instills a sense a failure,

gives a dose of reality

of something that might never be

But to not make an attempt

means eternal regret,

what ifs,

what could’ve been,

loss of purpose in life

So we remain vigilant

and stay the course,

knowing that possibilities

are within reach

If our hearts are true,

and our will is strong,

fearless,

it is then,

and only then

will we be able to reach

Our dreams.

A1

Forever Strong

AA3

We wish good times would last,

that feeling of no tomorrow,

but we know that’s not the case

How does one stay strong

in the midst of the dark

When your life is riddled with

change,

crisis,

death,

tragedy,

pain,

heartache

We try to summon every ounce of

faith,

hope,

love,

courage,

support,

even false bravado

to overcome our trials and tribulations

We will never know how strong we are

until strong is the only choice we have

In the end if we do this, we’ll be

resilient in hard times,

fearless of the unknown,

eternally optimistic,

steadfast in our mind’s eye,

and

forever strong.

A Spark Of Hope

spark1

Ever have one of those days when things just don’t seem to go your way or situations pop up that test your limits?  We’re all faced with that time and time again; believe me, I’ve had my share ten times over and then some.  There are other that have it even worse. 

 What I’m most curious about is how others cope with their personal struggles.  How do they keep positive in light of all the bad things that are happening to them?  What gives them the drive to face their dilemma head on and never give up?

 When problems arise in my life, my “doom and gloom meter” starts to rise and my mind starts to go into overdrive about all the things I could’ve done to avoid this mess.  My outlook starts to look depressingly hopeless and my daily routines are all out of whack.

 I start to do normal things on auto-pilot all the while racking my brain on how to solve my problems or obstacles so that I can get back on track and live normally again. 

 When this happens, I start to get into a funk and feel like “Why does this always happen to me and when will it all end!  Can’t I just get a break?!”  Just when I see there is no solution to my turbulent mess, “a spark of hope” appears out of nowhere.

spark3

 For me, that can come in the form of my dog greeting me at Mach speed with unconditional love and adoration.  A big bear hug from my wife. It can even come from watching my kids simply do their homework or observing family members go about their daily routine.  It’s amazing how something so small and mundane can make a difference.

 Just the mere sight of them snaps me out of my much misaligned chaotic demeanor.  It’s weird but seeing something like that, just soaking in those positive things gives me hope. Remembering all the good times and feeling so blessed to have a family like mine helps a lot; knowing that I overcame previous predicaments helps in the process.  Maybe subconsciously I know that I have their undying love and support in my corner and I know I’m not facing my predicaments alone.  

 Can’t really explain it; I get a renewed sense of energy and endless possibilities about my life explode in my head…AND it’s all good.  It feels as if nothing in the world can stop me from accomplishing anything and everything! 

It’s funny how something so simple can become a beacon of unbridled optimism.  Life doesn’t appear so bleak and I’m enthusiastically anticipating what’s in store for me in an hour, a day, a week or months from now.  I begin to envision a more desirable and successful future for myself which might or might not happen.  Who cares?!

 My “spark of hope” is all that matters in driving my life forward.  As long as I have that grain of reverie then everything is fine.

 I can’t fathom how this process works but I’m just truly grateful that this “spark of hope” can do wonders for me.  I just pray that this sparkle continues to light all of the dark and hard times that I’ll encounter in my life.

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Letter To My Younger Self

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I’ve always wondered what I would do if I somehow got a letter from my future self whether it be magically or in a sci-fi type manner.  Would I take heed or completely blow it off?  Will it affect the outcome of my future self if I go in an opposite direction?  Ah the endless possibilities.

I could dwell on the many outcomes but the one thing that fascinates me the most is if I had to craft a letter to my younger self, specifically my teenage self. 

 What would I write? 

Ltr9

 What do you say to a teenage boy who “thinks he knows everything”

Choosing the perfect words to convey what I want my teenage self to know is truly daunting.  I’d probably overthink things and my prose would be just mindless ramblings.

It would have to be short, simple and straight to the point, because if you really think about it a teenager doesn’t really have the time to read something that looks like a page from a boring novel.

If I had to write a letter to my younger self, it would just be something that’s spontaneous and from the heart.  And this is how it would go:Ltr7Dear Teenage Mark,

When I look at you, I see someone with so much potential.  Don’t stifle that, don’t limit yourself and settle for what’s the easiest.  Sometimes taking the most difficult and challenging path is the one that will be the most gratifying.

 There are going to be tough times ahead, so feel free to lean on others for support.  You don’t have to go through it alone.  The words of wisdom and unconditional love of others is what will give you the strength to endure everything.

 Take the time to step back and savor the moments, even the most mundane one.  It may look like nothing to you now but as you get older, you’re going to wish you could relive those memories.

 Don’t be afraid to try new things!  Step out of your comfort zone and experience life.  There’s a world out there beyond the five feet in front of you.  AND if you start something…DON’T QUIT!  See it through till the end.

I strongly suggest that you listen to other people who know more than you because it is sound advice.  You DON’T know it all and if you think you do…you’re truly a dumb ass.  Cut that out before I travel back in time to slap some sense into you.

You’re going to meet a lot of people, just remember that not every one of them is going to like you.  And you’re not going to like every one of them.  That’s okay!  Just don’t be afraid to express your opinions around them, you’ll be better off for doing  so.

Friends will come and go in certain chapters of your life so learn from your experiences with them because they’ll help to shape a part of your personality.

Lastly, pursue your dream of writing with extreme vim and vigor.  DON’T obsess over finding representation or getting published, it is not the “be-all and end-all” of your writing…it will come in time.  (With a lot of luck and sheer dogged determination!) All those writing classes that you’re contemplating on taking…DO IT…it’ll help you in more ways than you know.  So start NOW…write constantly so that you find your voice, develop your unique writing style, build your passion and expand your imagination.

You are in store for one hell of a ride, so embrace everything that comes your way and keep your eyes wide open so that you won’t miss a thing.  It’ll all be worth it.

Be yourself and be eternally optimistic.

Stay Strong!

Mark