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.

spark2

Letter To My Younger Self

Ltr8

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