Andy and Lauren’s Excellent Adventure!

On Wednesday of this week, my lady Lauren and I are taking our first road trip! We’re heading down to Florida for two weeks, and I couldn’t be more stoked! Its going to be great to kick back, max and relax for two whole weeks!

The decision to drive down was an easy one, as flying is no longer an option for me, thanks. During last years trip, I discovered that I HATE flying. I was a nervous wreck both during and after the flight down, dreading the return trip. When I discovered Lauren felt the same way, we decided to look into other means for this go round, and turns out driving is WAY cheaper than the train, so here we are!

As much as I’m looking forward to the beach and sleep, I have to say that the thing I’m most excited about is the drive. Over the last year, and especially the last few months, its felt like I’ve barely had the chance to hang out with Lauren. She’s been so busy between work and school, and I’ve been busy with work and my parents, so we haven’t had as much time to just hang like we used to. It’ll be so much fun to ride the highways with her, iPod blasting and zero responsibilities weighing us down (with the clear excepting being driving). Talking to her always helps get my head clear, and thats something I desperately need right now. I’m going to be posting updates about our adventure here as well as to Twitter/Facebook to chronicle the trip, and I’ll be affectionately referring to it as Andy and Lauren’s Excellent Adventure (Cue air guitar solo)! We may not be traveling through history kidnapping historical figures, but I’m sure it’s going to be a blast nonetheless!

It’s been over a year since we last went on vacation, and in an odd coincidence, we will be departing on June 29th, exactly one year to the day that my father had his accident. It’s crazy to think that one year ago I was in a hospital waiting room, trying to wrap my head around what had just happened to my family. That morning we all went to work like every other day, and by 10:30 am, everything changed. In the year that would follow, my mother went from patient to caretaker, Lauren finished nursing school, my sister Kate has gotten married and embarked on her masters, my now brother in law has made great strides in his film career, and my father has battled from seemingly imminent death to living a mostly normal life. He’s walking, talking [try stopping him :)], swimming, and going to a combination of both physical and cognitive therapy five days a week. he continues to confound his physicians, and they delight in watching him progress.

I’m very proud of him, as well as everyone in family for all that they’ve accomplished in the past year. That being said, when I look at my own year, I can’t help but feel a sense of stagnancy. Everyone has done so much, and I feel that I’m in largely the same position I was on that June morning. I’ve made no professional progress, and I let my frustration at that keep me from achieving anything else.  At the beginning of 2011, I made a list of attainable goals for myself and have so far achieved only one. I realize that I have been through a lot this year and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but going through a lot seems to be a running theme in my life, so I should not be so surprised when things happen.

It bothers me that I’ve let myself lag and become emotionally exhausted, so as of this vacation, I’m vowing to pick myself back up. I’ve referred to my goals before publicly, but I haven’t revealed them purposely. I know my history, and I have a habit of giving up. As long as I could keep these goals a secret, there would be no one to disappoint but myself. I wouldn’t have to deal with questions about them, or report progress if they didn’t exist, but no more. Even as I type this, I’m stressing out about posting them, but I have to. I have to be accountable for them, other wise they don’t exist. So here goes, my goals for 2011, as conceived in January:

1. Get my career on track
2. Both join and get into the habit of going to a Gym/working out
3. Lose the weight (approx 30 lbs) I put on over the past year
4. Move out of my parents basement (or at least be stable enough to by years end)
5. Settle finances once and for all
6. Maintain this blog as the outlet I feel it should be for my writing
7. Write publicly
8. Finishing writing and record the musical project I’ve had in my head since 2006
9. Get a big boy Doctor and stay on top of my health
10. Start a podcast

So there it is. I’m still wary about publishing this, but I NEED to follow through on these goals. I’ve had such strong creative urges lately, and I always push them aside. No more. I don’t care if no one reads my writing, likes my music, cares about my weight loss, etc. I need to do these things for me, to see myself achieve something I can be proud of. I’ve struggled with self doubt my whole life, and it keeps me from so much. Even in instances where some of these goals have been obtainable, I often drop back and let them deteriorate out of fear. No more. I’m going to use these 2 weeks in Florida to recharge my batteries, and I’m going to come back guns blazing.

During the writing of this post, there has been a quote swirling around in my head. It may seem trite, or not as inspirational to you as it is to me, but I feel it applies. It is a central theme to the film “Batman Begins”, (yes a comic book/action movie) a film I feel very connected to lately. In the film, we follow a young Bruce Wayne struggle to find an identity while feeling and sorry for himself. Since childhood, his life has been dedicated to anger towards events he could not control and people he could not change. Rather than simply looking inward to resolve his turmoil, he lashes out at the world, traveling all over the globe to fight and rage against anything he can find. Just before he sets out on his journey, a childhood friend utters the following:

“It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you”.

This line ultimately helps Bruce create Batman and fight against injustice for those who cannot. Seeing as how I don’t look as good as he does in tights and a cape (who am I kidding, I’d look awesome in a cape) I won’t be fighting crime anytime soon. However, as a lazy, hopeful individual, this line inspires me to take action for myself. I’ve wanted to be better on the insdie for a long time, but I never followed through on my actions. At its core, Bruce Wayne’s story is about what one man can do with the proper focus, and I feel like that time has come for me. I know what I want, and now it’s time to get it done. Its time to create my own definition.

It is terrifying for me to admit to all of this, but thats part of the change I need. It’s going to be an adventure for me, and I’m thrilled that I do not have to do this alone. If you’ve taken the time to get this far in my post, it means that you care enough about me to see me succeed in this. If that’s the case, I look forward to making you proud of me in the coming months, as I post about each step in achieving the above. If I go a while without posting, and you are concerned, let me know! It will help keep me accountable, which is something I’ve lacked in the past.

This Wednesday is the start of something big for me, and the best part about it is that I get to have this adventure with Lauren as well. She has been a constant inspiration to me over the past 4 years, and my main motivation for wanting to be better. I hope that once I’ve gotten through all of the above a new, more successful story arch can begin in my life, and there is no one I’d rather share it with than her. I know this will be the start of a truly Excellent Adventure!

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