SHOUTOUT TO MY BROTHER

Dear Reader,

It’s interesting to think of how I talk about my family. Most everyone who knows me knows about Sarah (because she’s constantly featured on my twitter/instagram/blog/facebook/snapchat). Yes, we all know she’s amazing and adorable and kind-hearted and sensitive because I showcase her all the time.

Then we have my parents, who I try to refrain from mentioning on here–at least when it’s negative. Most people know about my mom, though. A simple Canadian with outstanding manners (my favorite example is how she apologizes to Siri when she is misinterpreted). She’s a very typical stay-at-home mom who my friends adore, and then there’s my dad who is a very typical working dad. A family doctor in town who gets home between 5 and 6 and tends to spend the rest of the night working alone in the basement or watching shows with my mom or playing poker with some guys in the community. And it’s not like he was an absent father or anything, but because we don’t have the best relationship, I tend to hold back my feelings (or at least save them for my journal). Because, to be honest, our relationship has a lot of ups and downs (or a lot of downs with the occasional up) and I don’t think constantly sharing my side of the story publicly on a website that he could potentially find one day is a good idea in the slightest.

I will say this, though: while we butt heads on just about everything, the most important thing he has taught me is the value of family. A little ironic, right? But he was married once before he met my mom and together, him and Carol had Caitlin, my older half-sister. She’s another family member that many people don’t know about. She grew up in a house two hours away from us and we did see her fairly often (considering how busy we all kept ourselves), but that alone was enough to keep us from having a “typical” sibling relationship, I think. I still 100% call her my sister (“half” if I’m clarifying) and I love her family dearly, it was just different.

But, as the title indicates, this post is inspired by my brother–who is frequently forgotten by my friends (just as much as Caitlin) which is a little odd if you think about it because he is only one year ahead of me and seventeen months older. But we’ve had an interesting relationship. It started off great, back when Sarah was the third wheel and Sean and I were best buds, but then we were put in the same class (a 4th grade/5th grade experiment) and that was where we honed our most defining qualities to one another: my annoyingness and his tendency to be a dick.

Then we just kind of grew up wanting more distance. We could still be civil and get along, but I think being grouped together for so long was really damaging. I don’t know how he felt about me, but I mostly just hated being in his shadow. He was always hilarious and the class clown and going on adventures with his big friend group and having funny stories to tell. Meanwhile, I was hiding away in my room because I was somewhere between introverted and constantly self-conscience and I still had no idea who I was.

He had always been so sure, though. And, of course, sibling rivalry kicked in because he was always better at soccer and smarter naturally and didn’t have to try to get people to like him. I was always just a little behind.

When he went to college, though, I think we got the separation we needed. He was suddenly at the other edge of the state and we hardly ever saw each other. And I think that’s helping us repair this relationship.

But that’s the other thing, I don’t know if he wants the relationship repaired, because he surely could get by without it. He has the same family as I do, but he gets different things from different people. He has a dad he truly looks up to and a sweet mom who is always just trying to do everything right. He has a half-sister who has her own hilarious family and is a blast to hang out with, and he has a younger sister who adores him and can actually maintain a healthy relationship. And then there’s me–someone who can fight with him for hours and knows how to annoy the hell out of him.

But he probably doesn’t need that in his life.

Okay, this post kind of took a turn I wasn’t expecting (and it’s turning out to be much longer than I intended), but my whole point of this was to talk about a new resolution I have: to re-connect with my family. Because today I was sitting in EDP and we were talking about creativity and I was thinking to myself how Sean is one of the most creative people I know. And I don’t know if he knows that, because I’ve never told him.

So I want to make some changes this year because whenever I see stories of sisters who don’t get along or don’t particularly like each other or are just missing out on the relationship that I get to have with my sister, I am saddened to the point of tears. It’s why I cried during Frozen and it’s why I cried last week while watching a short video called “Where’s Molly” for class.

And then I think, some people out there have this kind of relationship with their brother. This indescribable, wonderful thing that can’t be put into words because it’s just the simple fact that revolves around the importance of family. And I don’t want to grow up and have kids who don’t get to learn soccer or hear the funny stories or get to look up to their uncle, all because their mom was too stubborn for too long and refused to just grow up.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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WEEK EIGHT: ARE WE REALLY ALMOST DONE WITH FEBRUARY?

Dear Reader,

I took some steps this week, and for once I felt like it wasn’t one step forward, two steps back. In fact, it was probably more like two steps back, one step forward, one step back, three steps forward, one step back, and then two more steps forward.

Maybe. I don’t know.

But I don’t really have any pictures worth showing this week. Most of them were either embarrassing selfies, pictures of snow, or funny text screenshots–none of which you need to see. And then I took a picture when I completed bucket list item #26, but you can just go to that page if you’re dying to see what it’s of (I promise you, though, it’s not worth it).

Anyway, I’m doing something different this week! I feel like I’m always doing something different, but this is in direct correlation with the post I wrote on Monday.

I’m going to set weekly goals! And acknowledge what goals I accomplished.

So during week eight I:

  • prioritized & downsized my workload
  • completed a bucket list item
  • stuck with what I gave up for lent
  • went completely out of my comfort zone and took a big step forward (as much detail as I’m willing to give at this point, but I’m sure I’ll elaborate in due time)

And in week nine I will:

  • finish a book
  • go to every class prepared
  • go to the rec twice
  • write 10 pages in my novel
  • write my weekly review on time

Well, thanks for sticking with me through this project! I’ll do my best to make the next 44 weeks worthwhile.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Need a pick-me-up? Listen to this song 🙂

LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN

Dear Reader,

I’ve recently had the chance to deeply reflect upon myself and the habits I’ve formed thus far in life. And, surprise surprise, I’m not too pleased.

I know this will probably read like a typical “New Year’s Resolutions” blog post, but that’s okay. It’s never too late to set goals for the year. There’s no such thing as an inappropriate time to improve yourself.

So without further ado, here are my goals for the rest of 2nd semester:

GO TO CLASS

I don’t skip class too often, but it does happen. Sometimes I really am sick, and sometimes I do make mistakes and sleep through my alarms, but there have been times where I’ve just not gone. But I’ve decided I don’t want to be known for that–not that I am as it is. I just want to be known as the person who never skips class. And who is always present in every class she attends–well prepared, fully attentive, eager to learn. Even if it is geology.

COMMIT WHOLEHEARTEDLY

I am the kind of person who likes to be involved, and here at Miami, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. I’m in AIESEC, Phi Mu, and Sigma Tau Delta. I write for the Miami Student and play with the club tennis team. I’m a student manager at a cafe on campus. And I’m proud of all of this, but I know I could do more.

I want to do more. I want to be proud when I see my name in print, regardless of the story I’ve been assigned. I want to help change lives by sending people abroad and being there every step of the way. I want to grow as a person with Phi Mu, as well as grow with my sisters.

I want to leave my mark on everything I do here at Miami, and the only way that’ll happen is if I stop half-assing it.

START BEING HEALTHY

And I mean it.

Let’s just say I don’t exactly treat my body like a temple. Unless you allow your temple to eat everything in sight, then force it to pull far too many allnighters, overall messing up it’s sleep schedule, and refuse to make it go to the gym.

So yeah, enough of that.

GET ORGANIZED

Pretty self explanatory. My life is a mess. I’d like for it to be neater. Let’s make it happen, new Sammy.

READ AND WRITE MORE

I was killing this resolution over J-term… and now I have 6 times the credit hours. But if I’m ever going to finish #3 or #38 on my 2015 Bucket List, I’m going to have to make time for these things.

COMMUNICATE BETTER

When it comes to answering texts/emails/missed phone calls/facebook messages/you name it, I may be the worst person in the world. There are many possible reasons for this, but it’s a simple fact that I need to get better.

This one might be my hardest goal to reach.

TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING IN LIFE

I am in college: one of the only places where it is my number one priority to become educated–to devote every day to learning. Luckily, because I’m going to become a teacher, it shouldn’t be hard to remain a lifelong learner. But these are the glory years, and I want to come out on the opposite end knowing I did everything I could to soak it all in.

This semester, I want to become intelligent, determined, inspiring, spontaneous, enthusiastic.I want to be hungry for adventure, and fun, and knowledge. I want to become the person I’ve always dreamt I could be.

And the journey starts today.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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2015 Bucket List

Dear Reader,

For those of you who don’t know me, I love bucket lists. I actually love lists in general–my phone is filled with lists of songs, things to do, potential baby or character names, ideas that I get, things that make me laugh, and anything else that I feel needs to be written down.

In the past, though, my bucket lists haven’t been very successful. Yet, I continue to make them and continue to fail.

But I think I figured out why this continues to happen–I always seem to forget about them. And then I’ll remember, but it’ll either be too late or I won’t be motivated anymore, and the whole project ends up failing.

So this year, I’m going to make one slight change. (After all, it was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results).

In order for me to complete this list, I’m going to make it constantly on my mind. I’ll put it everywhere and set goals for it and check in regularly and be persistent about it. And, hopefully, I’ll be successful.

But, either way, bucket lists are fun to make and planning for the future has always been a joy for me. As Margo Roth Spiegelman says, “the pleasure isn’t doing the thing, the pleasure is in planning it.” (I don’t know if I agree with that completely, but I do take pleasure in making plans.)

So, without further ado, my 2015 bucket list:

  1. become an Aunt – I always start my bucket lists with something inevitable, and my sister just happens to be due in February, so this is fitting
  2. rush a sorority
  3. complete The Empty Shelf Challenge
  4. submit a piece of my work to be published – not even get published. Just take the step and put yourself out there!
  5. travel outside of the country
  6. be able to run a 7-minute mile – this may not seem like a big accomplishment at all, but it has been a while since I’ve even attempted to run a mile, so if I can end 2015 with a 7-minute mile under my belt, I’ll be content.
  7. go somewhere new
  8. learn to draw – just one thing! a puppy, a pelican, a person (don’t mind the accidental alliteration)–I just want to have one thing I can sort of draw kind of well.
  9. at least start a scrapbook 
  10. watch 50 new movies
  11. make a jar for memories
  12. be confident in a bathing suit
  13. write at least 3 letters to 23-year-old Sammy – this one requires more information that the rest, so I’ll probably just end up doing a whole other post about it when the time comes.
  14. run a 5k
  15. finish my daily sudoku puzzles (from 2014) – failed project from 2014, meet 2015.
  16. go to a concert
  17. learn 365 new words – ideally one a day, but we know how I tend to handle daily tasks (see #15).
  18. have a birthday “party” – it’s been a solid 5 years since I’ve had one, and I keep meaning to at least celebrate my birthday with friends, but it never happens. So maybe 19 will be the year
  19. go to the batting cages
  20. watch the sunrise
  21. learn how to use chopsticks
  22. color my hair – dye a streak purple, go read, dip-dye it pink–something that I can only get away with because I’m young
  23. join a new club
  24. explore interesting buildings on campus that I’ve never seen before
  25. write a letter – put pen to paper, lick the envelope, smack a stamp on it. We don’t do this as much anymore and that makes me sad.
  26. attend a random lecture for a class I don’t take
  27. people watch 
  28. take a hot bath/have a spa day – candlelight, calming music, a few drops of lavender essential oil, this is one I can’t wait to get checked off the list.
  29. learn how to skate backwards
  30. talk to strangers – just random people in general. I can be very shy but I find people fascinating. So this is just kind of a persistent reminder for me to reach out and interact with other human beings every once in a while
  31. volunteer
  32. reach 300 followers on Sincerely Sammy – let’s be ambitious.
  33. take senior pictures with Sarah
  34. learn how to juggle
  35. be someone’s inspiration for 2016 – not exactly something I can check off (unless someone comes up and tells me I inspire them, I guess), but I always like putting something like this on here. It’s a good goal to strive for.

Well, there you have it. Most of those are things I have been meaning to get around to for ages (learning how to use chopsticks, making a jar for memories), so on the list they go.

Feel free to comment any suggestions for the list–or let me know what you plan to accomplish in 2015! I just love these things.

There’s nothing like the promise of a new year.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. I’m diggin this tune: The Mother We Share – CHVRCHES

EMPTY SHELF CHALLENGE

Dear Reader,

Each year, one of my resolutions is always the same: read more. And, each year, I start off strong, struggle for a few months, and then end just as I began. But I don’t come close to making any of the reading goals I set for myself.

And maybe it’s because I have more time to read in the winter compared to the rest of the year, but this year I’m going to be self-motivated for the full twelve months.

*Cue The Empty Shelf Challenge*

This challenge was created at the end of 2013 by Jon Acuff and the rules are simple: clear off a shelf in your bedroom/office/library/etc. and fill it by the time the New Year rolls around with the books you read. I’m starting mine today because 1) I just went on a shopping spree where I bought four new books that I can’t wait to dive into and 2) in the words of Jon, himself, waiting until January 1st to do something awesome is stupid and fake.

So that’s what I’m up to. I encourage everyone to partake–I challenge everyone to, actually. And you can even do this if you’re an e-book reader or audiobook listener! Just get out there and read–and share your progress on their Pinterest board too!

Here’s to the many stories to discover in 2015.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Current obsession: Ghost by Ella Henderson