Trembling With Love: An Open Letter to My Uncle

Two years ago my Uncle Richard passed away at the early age of sixty two. It was an unexpected loss in my family which made saying goodbye so much more painful. For ten years, my Uncle Richard fought a long and hard battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Being a former athlete, meant Parkinson’s took away everything he enjoyed doing. His body no longer cooperated as he would have desired and to him, that was the ultimate form of defeat. My Uncle Richard always said that he did not want Parkinson’s to be the cause of his death. Ironically, it was not what killed him, a heart aneurysm did. Even though he no longer walks this earth, I find it fitting to write him a letter because he is still here in spirit.

Dear Uncle Richard,

When you died, I thought my world ended. I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. I was napping on a Sunday afternoon and the house phone rang. I never pick up the phone because the calls are usually telemarketers. I heard the automated voice say that it was my Uncle Gary calling. I still ignored it because I assumed he was calling to tell my mom something. When I heard him say over the voice mail, that something had happened to you and it is a “code blue.” I awoke from being half asleep. Honestly, I did not have the heart to call back to hear the news that you were dead. At that point, I was assuming you were dead, I knew, I could just feel it. I cried and screamed, ran to the phone and called my mom. She was getting her nails done so she didn’t pick up, I called and called and called. Finally, my mom returned home to receive Uncle Gary’s voice mail. When she first tried to call him back, he did not answer. So she called Aimee and she knew nothing. Just as my mom was going to make another phone call to try to find something out, Uncle Gary called back. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face as she stood outside, answering the phone, and looking back at me through the glass door screaming, “he’s dead.” Instantly dropping to my knees, I felt like my heart had been ripped my chest and torn into a million pieces. My worst assumption was the absolutely correct.

Two years later, not a day goes by that I have not thought of you. Someday, I hope I find the courage to participate in an organization that helps toward the fight to cure Parkinson. I promised in my eulogy about you that I would do that and unfortunately, I have not kept my word just yet.  There are so many things I wish I would have told you or done while you were alive. I wish we would have been closer. I wish that I would have hugged you tighter the last time I saw you. I wish you would have known that I thought you were the greatest and funniest father that I have ever known. Now, I have to live with regret because I never did those things. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive my mistakes. However, since you have passed, I have managed to gather most of the birthday cards you have sent me and many pictures of you and I together when I was younger. It is a blessing to look back at these sentimental items and realized what a treasure it was to have you as my uncle.

Everyone in our family is doing well. Since you have passed, we have been to Atlanta three times, which is a lot considering before 2010, we had only come to visit once in nine years. In October, we will be traveling to Atlanta again to see your daughter make her bat mitzvah. I know how much you would have loved to be there. Each time we have visited Atlanta in the past two years, we have always visited your grave. It hurts to look at your grave and see your name because til this day, it still does not feel real, not having you here.

As for me, I am doing fine and I am the happiest I have ever been. I have met a wonderful guy, that you would have loved. He enjoys playing pool, so I know you two would have gotten along. Also, he is extremely funny- in a way he reminds me of you. He is down to earth, kindhearted, and loves everything about me. To sum it up, he is everything I ever wanted and more. I always thought, when I got married that you would be the one walking me down the isle. Even though that is not possible now, I hope that when the time comes, I will feel your presence around me and you will be proud that I have found love.

Your death changed me and made me realize how important my family is to me. I always understood the importance of family but I was never aware how limited my time may be with the people I love. As cliche as it sounds, you never know how long you have to spend with your loved ones so it is critical to make sure you make all your moments count. Your positive and free spirit is how I want to be and each day I am making strides towards becoming that better person that I desire to be. Thank you for providing me with a father figure and role model for the twenty one years that I knew you. Please continue to watch over us and make sure to play cards with Bubbie and Poppy often. I love you with all my heart.

Love forever and always,


Ten Years From Now…

Every morning on my way to work, I listen to Elvis Duran and The Morning Show. A topic that they brought up a couple days ago really resonated with me. They began discussing how far one another has come in their life whether it involved their relationships, careers, or families. People often say statements like “ten years from now I hope to be doing this or that.”

Ten years from now, I will be thirty three years old and honestly, I do not know where or what I will be at that point in my life because I am at the start of my career and I am still learning a lot about myself each and every day. After pondering about ten years from now, I began to think about where I was ten years ago. Ten years ago, I was thirteen years old- it makes me sick to think that I was at the beginning of my teenage years but I guess that proves how fast time flies.

When I was thirteen, I was in eighth grade and I had the dream of becoming a dentist someday. I continued believing that was the career I wanted to pursue until I hit age sixteen and took my first chemistry class. After that, I rethought what I wanted to do with my life. Back then, if I would have thought to myself where I would be ten years from that time period- I would have never guessed I would have ended up where I am. I would not believe that I ended up going into a career in internet marketing or I would proud to be Jewish (when I was younger I was ashamed of my religion because I was picked on about it) or I would find my amazing boyfriend on an online dating site (it still makes me laugh thinking about it).

Reflecting back on the past twenty three years makes me feel accomplished and excited to see what is in store ten years from now. I think that too often, we come down on ourselves about everything that is wrong in our lives or how something we planned does not always go according to schedule. It is important to realize that everything takes time and will eventually fall into place. That is easier said than done but it really is the truth. Trust me, from personal experience- when I graduated college, I thought I had a job lined up and it fell through. I was mad at myself and the world. I had worked so hard and for what? However, the past nine months have proved me wrong. I finally found my career and I am content where I am right now even though it is not what I had planned for. To sum it up, you will not realize how extraordinary you are or how far you have come until you stop over analyzing your life and comparing yourself to others.

As cliche as this sounds, life is what you make of it and life is too short not to be happy and feel good about yourself. I know I am not exactly where I want to be in my life but that is because everything takes time and I have to work hard before I see the results I am hoping to achieve someday. It is like working out, you cannot expect to lose weight and look your best by eating cake and sitting on the couch (although that does sound wonderful.)  Live your life to the best of your ability and never stop dreaming. As for the future, do not worry about it- just dream for a better tomorrow. And when you need a confidence booster- think about how far you have come in your lifetime and be proud of what you have accomplished. You have done a great job :).

Committing Songs to Memory

Have you ever turned on the radio (I know many of us, do not even list to the radio anymore), or browsed a playlist on your phone or iPod and said to yourself “That songs really takes me back to __________(whatever year that the song was popular).” I thoroughly enjoy the times when this happens while I am driving or casually hanging out. I think of all the memories I had during the year that song came out. It takes me back to certain moments when that song was playing when it was popular. Although these years were not too long ago, I have created a list of songs that take me back to my college days.


miaMIA- Paper Planes: I originally started listening to this song in 2007 but it did not really get popular until 2008. I remember this song being played EVERYWHERE. It was played at my prom and college house parties when I first got to college. It was that feel good song that made sense to anyone but when the part with the gun shots came on, everyone used their hands as fake guns and shot them up into the air.

One Republic- Store and Stare: This may have not been one of the most popular songs of 2008, but it was definitely a sentimental hit. I remember playing this song as I drove to my high school graduation. I was crying because at that point the words of the song became so clear to me. The song was telling me to look around me and reflect on my life, so that is what I did.
Beyonce- Single Ladies: We all remember Kanye’s outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Award but this song was really popular toward the end of 2008. Everybody would sing this song and all the desperate single woman would do the dance and the hand wave (I am included in those guilty single women.) I would even award this song as one of the most annoying songs of 2008 because it was so catchy and irritating. We get it, you should have put a ring on it!
Orinathi- According to You:
Many people may not remember this song but it had an awesome guitar solo in the middle of the song and remarkably, the singer, Orianthi, was the one performing the guitar solo. I personally loved this song, I even had it as my ringtone on my first Sprint touch screen phone. My friends and roommate thought I was lame for enjoying this song, but what can I say, I am guilty of indulging in one hit wonders.
Lady Gaga- Bad Romance: I am not sure which song got more annoying first, Bad Romance or Single Ladies. When this song would come on in stores or at a house party, all the girls would nod their heads during the beginning of the song. There were so many YouTube videos of Lady Gaga’s dance to Bad Romance that it was hard to compare which was more entertaining- Gaga’s creeping video or the horrible dance moves of YouTubers.855020-drake
Any Drake song (So Far Gone Mixtape): Drake blew up in 2009 and he was every white kid’s favorite rapper besides Lil Wayne. You could not go anywhere without girls and guys alike rapping his lyrics. I remember playing “So Far Gone” on repeat from February 2009- May 2009. It was a bit ridiculous but it was catchy and Drake was a Renaissance man while still being remaining to be a rapper.
Katy Perry- Teenage Dream: From the moment I saw the music video to this song, Katy-Perry-Teenage-Dream-FanMade-fiery472I was obsessed. I played this song every single day my junior year, first semester of college. The song put me in a good mood and made me really energetic in the morning. It was like my morning coffee without the caffeine.
Far East Movement- Like A G6: ‘Til this day, I still cannot listen to this song because that it how annoying it is. This was one of those songs that you listened to once and already knew every single word. Every time, I went out to a bar and heard this song, I would make my way to the bathroom to fix my makeup because that it how bad I felt this song was.
Florence and The Machine- Dog Days Are Over: This was another song that was a feel good song. I always used to play this song when I was having a bad day to remind me that life has its ups and downs but it is important to stay positive and know that negativity is not here to stay.
Kanye West featuring Pusha T: When I first heart this song on the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, I was kind of confused. I did not know whether to like this song or absolutely hate it. Once I gave it a second listen, I loved it. There is something about the cockiness and nonchalant attitude that Kanye provides us with that I could not resist.
Adele- Someone Like You: I remember when Adele first came out in 2008 with the song “Chasing Pavements.” That song was popular, but no one knew who Adele was, nor did they care. Then when she came out with “Someone Like You,” everyone wanted to know who she was. Her whole album “21” turned out to be very relate-able and girls could not resist all the heartbreak tunes to get them through their breakups.
Jessie J- Domino: To me, this was the most hated song of 2011. It was annoying and addicting, and to top it off, she sounded like a generic version of Katy Perry. Even as annoying as this song was, every time I was in the car driving during the summer of 2011, I would keep on the song as the bright rays of sunshine hit my sunglasses.
LMFAO- Party Rock Anthem: As much as I had hoped that LMFAO would be a one hit lmfao_320wonder, they continue to shock me with their ridiculous lyrics that all of America loves. When this song would come out during a party, club, or bar everyone would sing a long and for once, everyone would act like they get along. To sum it up, it was my worst nightmare.
Pitbull- Give Me Everything: When this song first came out, it was around April/May of 2011. It had all the perfect elements of a song, great pop-rap verses and a catchy chorus with two R&B singers. It was a song that made me look forward to the weekends.  However, this song overstayed it’s welcome and continued to play until the long winter months of 2011.
Carly Rae Jepsen- Call Me Maybe: I tried really really hard to hate this song yet it consumed me. It made me happy, it made me repeat its lyrics. It was awful- I had began to enjoy a pop sensation. Then I found out that this song was made for Adam Levine. At the moment that I found out this information, I felt all was right with the world and I did not blame Carly Rae Jepsen for creating this song.
Gotye featuring Kimbre- Somebody that I used to Know: This was another one of those addicting songs from 2012. It was trendy and different which appears to be the look that many people are trying to achieve lately (which is also known as becoming a “hipster”). This was another song that got old real fast but as much as we were all tired of the song, we still listened to the song for it’s entire duration.
Frank Ocean- Thinking About You: A powerful song about having deep feelings for someone, who could resist not liking this song? In addition, it was not a song that got on one’s nerves due to it’s calm and mellow nature. Besides, Frank Ocean had the best performance at the 2012 MTV Music Awards (yes, I like to reference to this award show a lot, apparently).
Fun.- We Are Young: When I think of this song, I think about a time when I was in downtown Cleveland, eating dinner on East 4th Street and this song wa1667469-Fun.-617-409s playing at the House of Blues Restaurant. A group of girls began to sing along with this song, from that moment forward I knew that this was one of the most popular songs of the summer. Everywhere you went, this song was playing. It is one of those songs, like Journey- Don’t Stop Believing that plays when the bars are closing down for the night. This will be the song that plays when the bar is ready to close when are kids are in their 20’s (yikes!).
No matter what songs you remember during these years, I think we can all agree that as the years continue to proceed, that there will be songs that “take us back” to a memory, person, or event. Someday the songs that were popular during these years will be considered “throwbacks” and a thing of the past. This is another way to realize that you are getting older and are no longer a kid. It is bittersweet to think about. What songs are most memorable to you during these years?

13 Resolutions to Keep

Each and every year, most of us make resolutions. We stick with those resolutions for a while and then sooner or later- they fizzle out. However, maybe in order to keep our resolutions, they need to be more generalized and then personalize each resolution on a case by case scenario. Here is a list of 13 general resolutions to make this year pleasant:

1. Learning to say no: I have dealt with many scenarios during 2012 where I committed myself to an activity or an event that I wanted nothing to do with. It is important to say no to events, activities, and people that will not make you happy. Why spend time doing something you do not want to do when you can be spending your time doing something you enjoy? It is also important when you say “no” to make sure you are honest. Do not drag on a lie about how you do not want to go somewhere or do something when you can simply be honest and say you do not want to do that particular thing.

2. Continue to re-invent one’s self: Life gets boring when you do the same thing every single week and weekend. No, I am not saying quit your job and start a new one each week. What I am saying, is do not fall victim to the same routine. Switch up your work out routine every week, try different types of food for lunch and dinner, and go to different types of places on the weekend that are not considered your typical “scene.” You never know you may have a lot of fun doing and trying different things. You may find out things about yourself that you never knew existed.

3. Reflecting on your growth: Make sure you always give yourself credit for how far your have made it when it comes to any goal you have achieved. There will be days that you will get down on yourself about anything and everything. Those will be the crucial moments to reflect on how wonderful you are and that it is unnecessary to let an “off” day get you down.

4. Think before you act: Rely on logic and reason before acting impulsively. Wow! Now this is a GOOD one. I actually did not create this one, but someone I know suggested this. I absolutely agree that taking a step back before acting through your emotions will help make many situations less difficult. It is great to take a breather and think through what just happened in any scenario that you go through, even if that situation is wonderful. To sum this one up, keep your cool.

5. The characteristics of your company: Have you ever hear the saying “you are only as good as the company you keep?”  The people that surround you are a direct representation of you. As we grow older, sometimes the company that we once embraced, no longer suites our fancy. Not all of us grow at the same rate or in the same direction. It is important to realize that in the younger part of our adulthood but to also make sure that the people we are around help us to continue to grow. 

6.Forgive and forget: No matter what awful things people do to you on accident or on purpose this year, forgive and forget. Let it go. Is it really worth your time to hold a grudge against someone? Probably not. If people try to hurt you accidental or not, it is just a sign that you do not want them in your life. Forgiving them shows you are a strong person and forgetting them and the situation that occurred, shows that they could not get under your skin because you have better people and things to waste your time on.

7. Dwelling will get you nowhere: I believe I am, and always have been very guilty of dwelling. It does not make me feel better when I dwell on the past or something that has caused me great pain or confusion. However, I continue to think and talk about the things that I find most displeasing. It is weird, I know but it is something I have to stop doing. Dwelling will not change the past, present, or future. It only makes life harder and stops your progression toward positivity. Just like I said in resolution #6, let it go.

8. Have faith: No, I am not asking you to suddenly become religious. However, being a “Debby-Downer” is not exactly a great way to live your life. A little positivity never hurt anyone. Being over confident, is not great either. Staying level-headed and just believing that everything will work out in the end, is a wonderful outlook. Having faith helps you have strength in tough situations and be thankful during fantastic occurrences.

9. Let people in: Have people ever told you, you have a wall up? There is nothing wrong with not telling the world every single detail of your life. However, there are people out there that care about your emotions and how you feel about certain topics. Let those people know who you are and how you feel. The more you open up to those who care, the better you will feel. Your emotions will not end up bottled up and pouring over at some point and time.

10. Be generous: Every now and then, be generous- treat yourself, friends, or family. The smallest gestures of generosity can go a long way. You can make someone’s day by simply giving them a big hug and a smile. Or do a  generous but discreet act by leaving candy or flowers on a co-worker’s desk. You never know when someone will do the same for you (yet, these should be acts of kindness where you do not expect something in return), especially when you are having a hard day.

11. Trust others: See the good in everyone. Trust that people are always being genuine with you. If they are not, karma will come their way, sooner or later. By trusting others, you are showing the world that you do not fear lies because the truth always comes out eventually.

12. Do not judge a book by its cover: It is called respect and common courtesy. Often, we look at people and judge them based off of their clothes, hair, skin color, weight, height, and culture. But why? We, ourselves, hate being judged. As much as we say we do not care, we do. No one likes to be gawked at or made fun of. Try your best, to keep your eyes (and hands) to yourself and realize that we are all different. It is what makes this world so great and unique. There is no reason to judge someone because at the end of the day, you do not live their life and they do not live yours. Worry about yourself, that alone will keep you busy.

13. Embrace life: Each and every year, people pass on. Young, middle-aged, and old- lives come and go. Life is so beautiful but death can be so ugly and cruel. It is crucial to embrace every moment of your life and the lives of people around you. Love every tear, scream, laugh, hug, and kiss. Your life will only be as wonderful as you make it. Life is too short not to embrace it and the people that make your life complete. Make the most of your memories and enjoy each and every year more and more.

What resolutions do you plan on keeping this year?