Hello, hello. It’s been a while since I’ve done this; so, in the words of DJ Kool, let me clear my throat, y’all. Now, in the words of Ari Gold, lets get down to business.
Finally, in my own words, let me say this much: It’s great to be back in Cleveland, a city that has become a second home to me over the course of the last three-plus years. When I first left for college in August 2010, I felt much like any other college kid: nervous but optimistic, excited but unsure of what to expect. I was ready for a new chapter in my life, and the college life is exactly what I was seeking, even if I had no idea what the future held for me.
Fast forward to present day, and here I am walking towards the exit sign of my collegiate career, even more uncertain of what to expect this time around. Last week, I began my senior year of college and I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Over the summer, I did a lot of thinking about my final year of school, and, to be honest, I was a bit freaked out at times. But it’s not just because I’m a few mere months away from being done with school forever. No, there’s a lot more to it than just that.
Aside from my collegiate career coming to a close, I’m also bracing myself for the passing of my 12-year-old dog (84 years old, in dog years), Coal. Every kid has that one pet they grew up with, side-by-side, and, for me, that’s Coal. When we first got Coal, I was in the fourth grade and he would burn me in a race like Usain Bolt. Now, I take him for a walk and he can’t even keep up with me jogging. He has only a fraction of the energy he had when we first got him, and that’s understandable for a dog his age With a bum right hip, he can’t really run anymore, and sometimes has trouble getting up and down the stairs. .
Just as I grew up with Coal, I also grew up admiring my two favorite athletes: Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant. Anyone that knows me knows how much I admire these guys. Both Jeter and Bryant were rookies in 1996, when I was just four years old, so I literally grew up watching their entire careers. I’ve followed the careers of these two players somewhat biblically, and I can’t explain how much they’ve influenced me in terms in work ethic, leadership etc. Did I mention that it’s just flat out too much fun to watch these guys play their respective sports?
I also still have my first car, a green 1997 Ford Taurus that has been my P.I.C. (partner in crime, duh) since my junior year of high school. I bought the car with 90,000 miles on it and it just eclipsed the 140,000 mark a few weeks ago. Despite all of the imperfections with a 16-year-old car, Lady Taurus and I still have a bond that no one can quite comprehend, and that’s okay.
To summarize: My two favorite athletes, my dog and my beloved Lady Taurus are all on the back nine on the golf course of life. Actually, it’s more like they’re on the 17th hole, and the end is coming. And I don’t know that I’m quite ready for all of that.
It’s safe to say that the next year of my life will be a transitional period like none other that I’ve ever faced. Fortunately, I’m lucky to say I have a phenomenal supporting cast between my friends and family, and that’s not something that everyone can wholeheartedly say.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Believe me, my knot is tied and I’m ready for what the future holds. It can be a bit unsettling to not know what’s next in life, but that’s also part of what makes life so spontaneous and exciting. So next time you’re in a panic or are hesitant of the future, just tie your knot, hang on and don’t forget that everyone feels this way at one time or another, so you’re far from alone.