Four long years and now I am back where I started

People,

Yes it is true, I have made the big move back to Sweden. I have spent the past four years pursuing a bachelors degree at Marquette University, and it has been filled with a lot and little bit of everything. College really is a time where you get to explore, and try on new things and with the risk if sounding a bit cliche, you really kind of find yourself I guess. Being in a foreign country, and being away form your parents you really do learn a lot about yourself. The good, bad and the ugly I guess, but it is an experience I would advice anyone to explore. I could not be happier with my college, and Marquette has given me a lot, but in the class room as well as on the soccer field. I have met so many amazing people, obviously a wide variety of students, teachers, team mates, young, old and well you name it I guess. I also got lucky and fell in love in over my ears, head and heart but later on fell out of love. But I have also had the pleasure of seeing a lot of the world, spent a summer in Canada, my spring breaks in Miami, Spain, Dominican Republic and NYC. Went to countless places with the team, mostly cities that I honestly cannot remember the name of, but we went there to perform and so we did. Two regular season titles, one Big East championship (first in school history) and two NCAA play-off spots where we got the first win in school history. Titles are obviously fun and all, but when it comes to being part of team such as the one we had at Marquette it really has been more about the journey, during my four years I made friends for life. People you never forget, not because of the titles you won but the struggle you went through together. The countless miles, weights, and hours.

However, now all that is the past. It is actually just as far away as Sweden and home became four years ago, but now the roles are reversed and Sweden now is the mysterious new and Milwaukee the old security. I do believe that my past experience has put me in a good position to do something with my life. I am not gonna lie these first couple of weeks have been challenging, it is a completely new way of life, and I cannot help but wonder if it is the same for everyone who finishes college. As of now I am living in my moms basement, obviously looking for a place of my own, but it is not that easy to find and unfortunately I do not have the finances to buy a place. I am sure something will turn up though, that’s how it tends to work out and all and all living at home has its perks. Obviously, extremely happy that my mom opened up her home for me, but after living away from home for four years I do miss having a place to call my own.

Things are looking up though, I am starting full-time on january fifth in a field that peeks my interest and out office is pretty awesome. A sweet hot chocolate machine, and tons of fruit for us employees. I do so love my bananas. However, it is a long commute, and with hope for not experiencing delays I will spend about 3 hours a day traveling to and from work. I guess that will be my nap time, or book reading time, whatever i’ll fins something to do. I am also about to sign a, let’s call it a semi professional soccer contract. Could obviously lead to something more lucrative, but honestly I am just happy to have a chance to play after all these injuries. After all what it comes down to is the love for the game.

That is probably it until we enter 2015, which actually will be my first as an independent adult, as long as I can find a place of my own of course.

 

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Life Perspective And Lessons

Hello people hope that you all are getting through with the week in a splendid way, today I will put another person’s story onto my blog. As I am sure most of you have realized by now, different people who you never could imagine will play a big role in your life. In both good and bad ways, I hope for most of you more good than bad. However, as planing for next semester is in the making I have been talking to my athletic academic advisor about school etc. and today she shared a piece of her life with me that she had put down on paper after reading an article in the New York Times, obviously I am no where near the age of 50 but I could still appreciate what she wrote, and I hope that I one day will be able reflect on my life in a similar manner.

About the 40s…

An established author and New York Times Op/Ed contributor wrote an opinion piece in the NYT a few days ago titled “What You Learn in Your 40s.” That’s all well and good, and I’m certain a lot of people read it (what with it being by a best-selling author, and, you know, being in the NYT…). But I had a tiny problem with the fact that she wrote it on the eve of her 44th birthday; I really have to believe (or HOPE to believe) that she has NOT yet learned all that she will learn in her 40s.

So, I thought about it, and tossed together some of my own discoveries from that decade, ones I’ve experienced myself and/or shared with my friends and contemporaries, all of who, like me, are freshly arrived on the other side of our 40s. What we say about that: truth. Or as my slightly-more-badass friend Maria says: church.

This is the decade where your parents might get hit with some bad news about their health. If not your parents, then the parent or parents of your friends. Your parent, or parents, or those of your friends, may die. Suddenly, it becomes a priority to get your business in order, square up your relationships if they are not there already, visit more, drop what you’re doing and get there. I think the 40s taught me a lot about the fine art of showing the hell up.

You may have a peer get hit with a tough medical diagnosis. Or it might be you who is on the receiving end of some real bad news. You may bury your college roommate. But before that, when she calls to tell you the cancer is back and she’s entering hospice, you and all your other college roommates fly across the country, shipping Wisconsin custard to arrive there at the same time, and spend an unforgettable weekend in the mountains, eating too much, staying up too late, laughing til you weep. You don’t hesitate, and you show the hell up. Later, about six months after her death, you all fly again to the other side of the country to walk/run as a team in a national event for the Cure. And when you’re done doing that, you sit-and-drink-by-the-pool-for-a-Cure, and call that an event, too.

You get to conflict with your kids. In order to not have an ulcer, you decide that year (or two) that you butted heads over politics or policy with your teen-who-knows-everything is in fact your opportunity to teach about disagreeing respectfully, about listening to both sides, about not strong-arming anyone into an opinion. Then much later, when that same son studies abroad for a semester, maybe you’ll receive the best Mother’s Day email ever, that says in part, “if I could go back and do one thing over, I would kick high-school-me in the ass.” It’s lonely on the high road, but when the sunrise comes, it’s pretty stunning…it’ll blow your hair back.

Listen to music your kids like, and have them listen to yours. Maybe then when your son and his buddies form a band and are playing out live somewhere, he’ll introduce a Warren Zevon cover with, “I learned this from my mom.” And maybe one day, someone will play you a song on the guitar, from deep in the archives, and tell you, “this makes me think of you”, and that may also blow your hair back. It’s important to be loved, but it’s profound to be understood. Also, watch movies your kids like, and have them watch something you like. That’s how your kids will know that “Chicken Run” is the same story as “The Great Escape.” If you’re exceptionally lucky, one of your favorite movies (“The Intouchables”) will be thanks to a recommendation from your own child.

Teach your kids to man up, to lead not follow, and to care for and include others. They may find they like that role, and you may find yourself in an all-school assembly where your 17-year-old son is the speaker, and talks eloquently about how when both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer, others picked us up and carried our family, and that he now believes our role as members of a community is to create a Body of Christ, by accepting help that is offered to us and by in turn offering a helping hand to others. That’s his definition of purpose, but you can adopt it as your own. In your 40s, you may learn from those you’ve taught.

You don’t get much vacation time, but take a week to chaperone a teen service trip to Appalachia. You might learn to attach underpinning to a tornado-damaged mobile home. Or, you may get to watch your daughter’s face as she sees a man in a wheelchair use the ramp she and her team built to enter the home he hadn’t been able to live in since a storm ripped his old ramp away. You can talk about the importance of giving, or you can walk the walk. Maybe your daughter’s friend (the one who has vacationed with your family, and been like a bonus sister-daughter to your family) will ask you to be her Confirmation sponsor because she likes the way you try to live a message of service.

Make new traditions. You might have to. Both your parents could die a year apart, and your childhood home is sold, and you have no physical connection to your hometown. You have no one there to spend Christmas with, and nowhere to stay. So your sister finds a rental house in the rural area near your hometown, and you all go there and build a new idea of holiday. And when you put up the tree that first year in this new unfamiliar place, and there is no tree-topper, your daughter and nephews fashion one out of cardboard and duct-tape, and that too becomes part of your new tradition.

You can learn something new, and you should. You might change careers, because you want to, or because you have to. You might find that it is indeed possible to pursue a Masters of Arts in a field you love, even if that pursuit includes 700 daunting hours of supervised clinicals in addition to working full time, raising a family, and having a home life. You get a lot of street cred when you tell your kids to buckle down and do school-work, while you are doing your own. Even better if you put your phone away while you do it; that resonates with them. But when you walk across the stage, in cap and gown, the last month of your 40s, to receive your degree, hearing “YEAH MOM!” shouted from the balcony is pretty awesome.

You may end up getting a dog. Even if it loves your husband best, you may witness that dog’s ability to make him a better man (as dogs are wont to do), and bring out the best in him. Or the dog may love you best, and you may learn a whole new chapter of the meaning of companionship.

Give books 30 pages to pull you in, even if you’re a voracious reader. Life is short and there are unanticipated struggles; there’s no need to struggle through a book.

Get fit. You realize this is the body that’s going to take you the distance. Honor it with real care. You might find out you really like lacing up your running shoes and getting out for a few miles at sun-up.

Figure out you don’t need ‘things’ as gifts. The best gifts are time together, a sweet note, lying in bed watching ‘CBS Sunday Morning’, sharing coffee, or a gift-card for a session with a personal trainer, or a voucher for airfare to go see your sister. Get rid of the things you don’t need.

Talk to the ones a generation ahead of you. Get those family stories written down; archive your story or have your talented sister self-publish the narrative that is your history. Have your mom teach you how to make those popovers; but if she’s gone too soon, and you still don’t know how to do it because you never asked, let that be your only regret. Those were some damn good popovers she made.

Donate the jeans that are too small. Buy the comfortable boots. Bring flip-flops to wedding receptions so you don’t have dance in killer heels. Eat pancakes for dinner. Cultivate friendships with your girlfriends; you know you’d be lost without them – tell them so. Sing along to “Brave” or “Countdown” even when your daughter’s friends are over.

Tell people you love them, even if you’ve never said it before, or you haven’t said it in a while, or maybe you just haven’t said it yet today. Hug the ones you love, leave nothing unsaid, and enjoy every sandwich. I’m no longer in my 40s, but I’ve learned a lot, and plan to learn a lot more.

 

Thank you for sharing such amazing insight with me, and than you for helping me graduate college!

 

//Sebastian