When Dates Matter

Hello from my office at home,

In the next week, students will finish another semester of classes, finals will be completed and for some, the 13th of May will be a significant date as they receive their diplomas, some the night before, the 12th, when they will receive their Masters or for some a Doctoral degree in Audiology. In the last post, I included a picture of me with my first diploma from kindergarten. I do not know that date, but it was probably June of 1961. When I examine the diplomas, which adorn the wall in my study, it was forty years ago that I graduated from Dana College; it was 35 years ago that I graduated from Luther Northwestern seminary; and it was 50 years ago I graduated from high school. All in the month of May. As I have registered for that 50th reunion, planning to return to my hometown in August, I am both excited and curious what will happen. My class was the first graduating class from West High School in our reconfigured school district. When I graduated from Dana, I knew I would be moving to St. Paul for an intensive summer Greek program, and upon graduation, call, and ordination, I would be moving to a town that is, ironically, only barely over an hour of my present home.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with someone I deeply admire and appreciate, and we chatted about the time I was in Menomonie, and how that is almost 15 years ago that I left there. We chatted about plans, goals, and how those things come to be, how they are accomplished, and why having both plans and flexibility are important to our world (and ourselves). When I think about how it is I got to where I am, I am continually amazed, both by the curcuitious route I have traveled as well as how many times I have been blessed by people, events, and circumstances. That does not seem to change. When I am unsure of where my meandering path might happen to go, something or someone crosses my path and makes a difference. In my piety, it is a firm conviction of mine that somehow through the Holy Spirit, God continues to change what I imagine, or more likely make me aware of possibilities I could not imagine. People, many who are such incredible individuals, influence me in ways I could never anticipate. As I told my beautiful friend this afternoon, there have been moments in my life, generally because of my own actions at some point, that precipitated a choice, a significant decision, which would create a drastically different path than I anticipated. Some of those included leaving the Marine Corps, traveling on a Lutheran Youth Encounter team, returning to Dana from the University of Iowa, moving to Pennsyvania (both times), pursuing a PhD, finding a path after resigning my ordination, and there are more, but I think you get the idea.

What we do in those decisive moments is not as profound as what we do after the choice is made. What I do hope my life will show is that I made the choice somewhat wisely, but as importantly, once the choice was made, I did whatever I could to make the path chosen as successful as I possibly could. Choices are an integral part of our humanity. Facing that choice with the best possible information, and then deciding are necessary if we are to make progress of any sort. Without the willingness to choose, we are paralyzed . . . we are either unwilling or incapable of facing the unknown. And undoutedly, the unknown can be frightening. That is the nature of the unknown, but it does not have to result in paralysis. Earlier today I was engaged in a conversation with someone who is struggling, believing that having any limitations means they have failed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What they have accomplished from the beginning until now is unparalleled. There are situations that are not within their wheelhouse. They are not particularly adept in certain things, and while those isssues can prove important, there are so many other things in which they are profoundly outstanding. I know it because I have witnessed it first-hand. Indeed, there have been bumps, but so much has been accomplished. I am trying to step back and figure out what is possible to assure them all is not lost or doomed.

We are such fragile animals. We are so remarkable, so marvelous at moments, but those moments of extreme satisfaction are fleeting. Perhaps it is because we would not appreciate them as much as we should or could if they became commonplace. It is like that Prayer of St. Francis notes, it is often in doing the opposite that we get what we really hope to receive. I think it was a combination of fragility and the struggle to see one’s life as many others saw, which led to the passing of my younger sister, Kristina (Kris). It is 15 years ago today I was driving back to Sioux City after learning she had paassed away early on that April morning. I remember the phone call as if it were yesterday. Certainly, there were the physical maladies that contributed to her death, but I think all the things that created those maladies were due to something much more insidious. Kris struggled with a sense of self-worth, though she was beyond proud of becoming a mother. The verbal, emotional, and physical abuse we received affected us very differently. I somehow found the courage to fight it. She, on the other hand, believed the damning message it carried. It created immeasurable damage and much of it was unmanaged because it temained unspoken. In fact, the only time it came close to being dealt with openly was squashed when our mother refused to continue family counseling.

To this day, I believe Kris might have been the most intelligent and capable of the three Martin children. She had a creativity both in language and in her artistic ability, which with the proper support and venue could have made her a well-known and successful individual. I believe that with all my heart. Her daughter exhibits some of those same skills. While I do not underestimate what I have achieved, I believe it is because I have been put into places where I received the support and encouragement to prosper. I have been provided opportunities to grow, expand the possibilities, and finally to be allowed to explore and learn from experiences, be they positive or negative. Certainly, I have not always been perfect in that growth, at times living the proverb of one-step-forward, and two-steps-back. And yet, here I am. I wonder what Kris would think of the last decade. I have no doubt she would have opinions. As a lesbian, environmentalist, as a creative and yet brooding genius, I am sure she would be chomping at the proverbial bit to use her place to speak out against injustices, against the disregard of so many concerning climate change. While I think my younger sister and I probably had more in common than most would believe at a glance, what was probably most different is she would be at the front of the crowd protesting, and I would be sitting in the comfort of my office writing about it. She would not fear the comments or the actions of those who would rail against her. Simply, I think she was more courageous than I was or am.

I would like to believe I have taken some of her and instilled it . . . I am not as shy or worried as I once was, and how did such a metamorphosis occur? I think it was because I finally got beyond the very abuse referred to earlier. It is because I have learned (to a great degree) to be comfortable by myself. It is because finally I have learned to believe that I am okay. This is not to say I do not still fall short of things. It is not to believe that I have it all figured out. Everyday, my students remind me there is so much yet to learn to be effective. As another person I spoke with today noted, it is (I am) a process. As someone who has come to realize their appreciation for process, that is freedom producing; it is life giving. Each day has the possibility of becoming a significant date, a day that matters in a consequential manner. Again, this weekend, and yesterday, the 29th of April, mark 15 years since I received the phone call that my younger sister, my only total blood relative had passed from this world. It is an occasion to feel some degree of sadness because I wish she were here to see her grandchildren and her daughter as an adult. I wish she were here to chat with and listen to her thoughts about so many things. It is a moment to take specific time and remember her brilliance and creativity, to celebrate the gifts she had, in spite of the difficulties she endured. It is simply for me a date that matters because she mattered, and she still does. I wish you were here to listen to this song and we might chat about it. I do love you.

Thanks as always for reading.

Michael (the older brother)

Published by thewritingprofessor55

As I move toward the end of a teaching career in the academy, I find myself questioning the value and worth of so many things in our changing world. My blog is the place I am able to ponder, question, and share my thoughts about a variety of topics. It is the place I make sense of our sometimes senseless world. I believe in a caring and compassionate creator, but struggle to know how to be faithful to the same. I hope you find what is shared here something that might resonate with you and give you hope.

17 thoughts on “When Dates Matter

  1. It feels strange that I will already be completing my second year in University in less than 2 weeks. I cannot imagine still what life will bring only 2 years away after I graduate. I do not plan on extending my academic career with graduate school, partially because this university also does not offer a graduate program for environmental sciences, but also because I do not want to have to be here any longer than I really have to.

    You talk about our choices and how there are some that change the course of our life entirely. A choice like this for me was choosing to attend this college. Many people tend to put a lot of time and research into what college they want to go to, and I was no different at first. I was looking at a bunch of different schools for zoology and animal studies, as that was what I wanted to do at the time, and I still partially do. I was stuck though between not wanting to stray too far away from my hometown area and leaving everything I knew, and pursuing my ideal career path. In the end I decided against doing that and chose to look at more local schools in Pennsylvania. There are not many schools around here with much options in zoology, which disappointed me. I instead starting moving towards the Environmental Science side of things as I could still work outside and possibly come into contact with animals and have to work with them, or at least around them. Despite putting a lot of thought into where I was going to go, I ended up just picking here, where all of my high school friends were going to. It was close enough to home, only a 2 hour drive away, which was manageable and since then I have made that drive many times. Do I regret my decision to not pick a better school and just thoughtlessly coming here despite the other great environmental schools in my area like Del Val? Not really, no I do not. Since coming up here I have had valuable experiences and connected with people. I got my first girlfriend, who ended up being someone I went to high school with, and was even part of the same friend group as, but we did not start talking until coming up here. The EGGS staff here are all very friendly and helpful and want to see you succeed, which makes me want to succeed as well.

    Thinking about it now, things would have been very different if I had picked to go to a different school. I would have most likely lost touch with my friends and fallen into a rut. Even if I had pursued zoology and gone somewhere for it I do not think I would have ended up as happy as I am now. I am not much of a social person, so I would not have gone out of my way to meet people and make new friends. I would have fallen deeper into depression with no one around and things would have gone very differently than they have now. I am glad I was so nonchalant about my college choice, as doing that was actually the best thing I could have done.

    I have never struggled with many of the things you have struggled with, so I will not pretend to understand a death in the family or abuse. I am fortunate enough to never have had to deal with these things. I am sorry for your loss, but I am sure you get that a lot already. I cannot imagine what it will be like when someone close to me passes, it is hard to put yourself in that mindset. Death is something that does not really effect us until it happens, and we can never imagine what we are going to feel like when it eventually enters out lives.

  2. It is always interesting that every person has a set of dates that they find significant. For example, as someone in the high school class of 2020, I will always remember March 13th as the last day I stepped foot in my school. I never got a graduation from high school, so I will never form memories of walking across a stage and receiving my diploma. The major events in our life appear to be what we remember the most. I dropped out of my first college August 26th, 2021, on the second day of the semester. That was the first time I felt like I made a major decision that would change all my future plans, and I will never forget the date as a result. I had no job or any idea what school I was going to go to next, but people always persevere. Now I am on planning on graduating from Bloomsburg in the Spring of 2024, on track as my peers even though I took a gap semester.

    What we choose to do determines the path that we take. If you asked me in my junior or senior year of high school what my plans were for the future, I would tell you something vastly different than I would now. I believe the change comes from maturing and better understanding the world around us. My idea of college differed greatly from what I actually experienced, and I will never know if the pandemic was to blame for the experiences I had there. If I started university during a normal year, I wonder if I would even be here. If I had not transferred to Bloomsburg, I would not have met some of my closest friends. If I did not start a job in food service before graduation, I probably would not have met my girlfriend of 18 months and counting. It is hard to know what our choices will bring us in life, but I believe them to be part of the journey. I am only 21 right now, but I know I have decades to shuffle around my future plans while I learn what I truly want to do with my life. I do not fear the future, because I believe that when the time comes I will always pick what is best – even if it starts a new unfamiliar chapter in my life.

    I was very sorry to hear about your sister’s passing, but I am glad that you have so many positive memories with her. It seems like she was a fighter and would be a huge proponent of creating change in our society. The world truly has lost out on someone amazing when she passed. A few weeks ago, my Aunt unfortunately commit suicide and shook up our entire family. She was 60 years old and was one of seven children on my mother’s side. I have never seen my grandmother or aunts in so much grief, but my cousins shared some of the most beautiful stories I have ever heard during her funeral. She clearly left a lasting impact on everyone she touched, and I believe that to be one of the most important things that you can do. Your sister clearly touched your life in the same way that my Aunt touched my family’s. While the grief may never fade, it is great that you are left with the wonderful memories you have of her, because you are the one who ensures that her memory will always matter.

  3. As the semester of my junior year comes to a close, I am feeling a variety of emotions. It’s terrifying but exhilarating. It’s terrifying to think I only have one more year at Bloomsburg University. It’s also thrilling because I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life in a year, but it’s also terrifying. But it’s always sad to say goodbye to my roommates as the semester comes to an end. Living with three other females is fantastic; you’re never bored, there’s always someone to chat with, and you can be yourself. With only one more year till I finish my degree in psychology, I have no idea what I want to pursue. which is scary. I’ve always told myself that I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be, but it’s difficult to believe that at times. I get so caught up in trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my future that I forget to live in the current now. Finishing my third year of college has definitely opened my eyes to how quickly time passes. It’s difficult for me to realize that this next semester is my final year of college. This semester, in particular, has made me understand that I need to stop agonizing over my future and instead focus on living it. I need to be open to new experiences. Keep an open mind because these are the only college experiences I’ll ever have, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Because the only thing I’ll have left are my memories, it’s critical that I make the most of everything.

  4. People are fascinating to me. Maybe that is why I desire to be a nurse. I am very much a people watcher. Every person has their own story and is trying to figure out their purpose in this thing we call life. I know it is too much to say that I can feel another person’s feelings but when I look at anybody, and I mean even complete strangers walking down the sidewalk, I wonder what that person’s life looks like. I am so captivated by the thought of us all sharing this world together but being so different with stories that could be written into books. When I talk to someone I genuinely feel like I am looking at their soul. I might sound crazy for saying that but half the time I get so distracted in thinking about who they are, how they’re feeling, and what their story is, that I often lose my train of thought. I never realized that not everyone thinks like that until I met people who thought nothing at all of other people’s feelings. That brings me to your comment about people who cross your path in life. Not all good, not all bad, but all make an impression even if we don’t realize it. I believe to my very core that God puts people in our life for a reason. He gives us choice for a reason. I think God knows his plan for us already but throws things at us to make us grow as people. I sympathize with you for the loss of your sister. Recently I found out a dear family friend was given his Last Rites as a Catholic because he had 6 months to live. He is 57. He lived with my dad and I for a while after my parents divorced. He treated me as if I was one of his own. We lost contact as I grew a little older and started high school and working. He told his brother to contact my father. My dad went to see him last Tuesday and he told my dad that before he left this earth he wanted to see me again. To think that our paths crossed and we both impacted each other’s lives so much brings me so much joy. I feel so honored to be a part of his story. Thinking about my path in life does scare me a little but my faith that there’s a plan for me brings me comfort.

  5. Dr. Martin

    It is always good to look at dates and see them as milestones. As for myself, I will not be graduating this semester. But I treat this as a great victory for myself to come back to school to get my bachelor’s. Before continuing my education, I received many different graduation ceremonies. Like myself and everyone I have graduated high school, my military experiences contain multiple essential dates. The first and most important is when I enlisted, the second is when I graduated from basic training, And the last is when I graduated from army leadership courses. Whenever I feel like I am not good enough or down, I reflect on all these experiences to tell myself I can do it and make it to the end. This fear I had about continuing my education was a big one. I had a great job then, making good money and supporting myself and my girlfriend. However, I could do more than be a mechanic at the time. An urge in me kept telling me that I could do better. This was when I decided to investigate how to further my education. I was so anxious and worried while gathering information from different universities. It took one terrible day at work to make me realize I could do much better than I was currently doing. With that, the fear and being paralyzed by decision-making went out the window. I am sorry to hear about your sister Kris. I can understand how a date like that can be ingrained in your memory. That is why remembering happy memories and good times helps us cope with loss. I like the video you posted for this blog post. I am a huge fan of Linkin Park, and the death of the lead singer Chester hit me hard. I tuned out the world that day by listening to all my favorite songs. Even though that was a sad day, I remember the joy all their songs brought me on that day and way back to my crazy teen years. As always, thanks for sharing, Dr. Martin.

    Luis Fuentes

  6. As the end of the semester approaches, I can’t help but reflect on my own journey thus far. Reading your blog post, I couldn’t help but admire your resilience and determination in the face of life’s challenges. Your ability to navigate difficult decisions and stay the course is inspiring. Your sister Kris sounds like she was an amazing person, and I’m sorry for your loss. It’s clear that you continue to carry her memory with you and honor her through your own life’s work.

    I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the unknowns of the future. Your words on the importance of making choices and then doing everything possible to make them successful are something I will definitely take to heart. It’s reassuring to know that, even as we face daunting decisions, we can still make progress if we approach the journey with a combination of wisdom and flexibility.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m sure other students will appreciate your wisdom and experience as much as I do.

  7. Dr. Martin,

    Time flies. The age-old adage is put in my mind while reading your particular post. I cannot believe that I am going to be considered a junior in a week. Only yesterday did it seem I received my letter of acceptance in the mail, saying that I was attending Bloomsburg University. I believe that your commentary on the fact that it is not just the choice, but the path that follows the choice is what matters. I think many people forget about this idea when they begin something. Whether this thing is a new job, a new family, or a new school, using some common examples, people seem to think that after they have made a decision, the rest is smooth sailing. I am here to tell you, that you already may be well aware of it, it is honestly rougher seas once you figure out what you want to do, because it is no longer going with the flow, but trying to make a palpable path for oneself.
    Like you, I have my own beliefs that keep me here and not off in some existential crisis, paralyzed by my own fear of failure and regret. I am a Christian and it is a bumpy road, no matter what I choose. When I decided to become a nurse, the amount of money needed to go to college is just one bump in the road out of countless, and it almost knocked me off my feet multiple times. It is a travesty the constant tests human beings are put through and then we simply give up when it becomes too hard. This is no way to live. I truly believe that I am going to meet my savior one day when I leave this Earth, and all of this hardship will have been worth it, but it is a struggle every day to want to get up and be the best version of myself, picking and staying on the paths that I am being led down. Too often I find myself questioning, if only I did this, if only I did that. Not because I wanted to do any of the things I seemed to need to do, but simply because they seemed easier. human resistance and strength are one of the big reasons that we are as high in the food chain as we are biologically. our ability to hold strong and keep to our paths. So, to this I say, keep moving forward. I make sure to tell myself this every day. I know the struggle, the valleys that I am thrown into, but let me tell you, once you have been through a valley, you learn to appreciate a mountain.

  8. It is truly amazing how fast time goes by, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. I cannot believe I will graduate next May with my BSN in nursing. I feel like I just started college, and COVID was starting to shut everything down.

    I agree that having plans and flexibility is essential in this world. I have genuinely learned throughout my life that it is great to have goals and aspirations, but when those goals can’t be met at the time you want them to or in the way that you want them to be, it is essential to not be so hard on yourself because it is only going to set you back farther. I also believe that if something is not meant for you or is meant for you, it will find you. So trusting the process and doing the best you can with the information you have is very important.

    The unknown is frightening, and I have been getting better at facing it. I have a lot of self-doubt. I fear failure and inability to do something, but I’ve learned not to let that stop me from trying. I will never know if I don’t try; that goes for everything in my life.

    I am very sorry to hear about your sister. She sounds like a beautiful person. She is so proud of you for everything you have done and accomplished.

    I have dealt with very similar circumstances with my family, but alcohol is a significant factor in what my parents do and say to me. I often get very caught up in what they say and believe what they say, but you are right. It is so important to have people around you that remind you that you are not what they tell you; you are and not to believe what they say. So many people I come across, and the friends and family that I have, always speak highly of me, and it’s often hard to believe, but it’s also so appreciated to hear. It is just hard not to believe someone who is so close to you and someone you have confided in for your whole life.

    Life is a process, and we have to lean into it, do the best we can, and trust that the decisions we are making with the information given to us are the best decision we can make for ourselves. Now I say this, but I often lose sight of that, but I am not perfect, nor do I think anyone is. Mistakes and bumps are meant to happen even though they may be discouraging, but it is all a part of the growth, and without being uncomfortable, there is no growth.

  9. Whenever people mention time and the effects it has on us, I am reminded of the ship of Theseus. The constant replacement of our old, broken bits, the eternally-repaired bits of our mind and body, and the marks that our lives make on us. My take on this philosophical question is that every stage is both you and not you- humans are a plurality in ourselves, every day changing and morphing and adapting slowly until you look at yourself and see your history written across your body. Time marches on, and change is inevitable, and we hold our experiences tight to remind ourselves of what is and could be.
    This short memoir of your history chronicles some of your ‘stages’, and I appreciate the fact you have shared it with us.

  10. I like to use my goals and plans as a guide to my life; as you said, it’s important. I want to go above and beyond for myself and the world around me. Part of me wishes I could look at how every decision has changed the course of my life, but I’m also content in never knowing. As I head into my senior year of college, I’m craving more in my life; with that, I plan to continue my education as a nurse practitioner. As you said, people are so fragile, and knowing I can make a difference in the line of healthcare fills that craving.

    With all that being said, our world can turn upside down in an instant. I truly am sorry to hear about your sister; I wish you peace during all the difficult times; from what I have read, I can tell she was a light to the world. We all lose a piece of ourselves with the loss of a loved one, but I think it also shapes us into who we are today. I hope there is comfort in knowing parts of you are also parts of her.

  11. Reading your reflection on your life’s journey is truly inspiring and moving. It is clear that you have gone through a winding path filled with many different important milestones. The impact of choices and their consequences resonates deeply with your narrative.

    The story of your sister, Kris, highlights the importance of self-belief and support, and the tragic consequences of lacking them. Your personal growth reminds me of both the fragility and resilience of the human spirit. With each day comes the potential for significance and transformation. Your willingness to reflect and appreciate your journey, regardless of sadness and loss, is a true testament to your character and the power of your choices.

    I hope you continue your journey while pursuing your passions and advocate for change. Your story fully illustrates the importance of embracing our true selves.

  12. Lenny A. Gomez – This is a response to “It Fades Away”

    Greetings Dr. Michael,

    After reading your blog titled *It Simply Fades Away” I am very sorry to hear about your brother’s work accident and all that he subsequently went through as a result. It amazes me that falling from such a height could cause such traumatic injuries to someone, to the point that it could lead to their demise. Most tragic of all is that in his passing, he had to leave his three children behind, and based on your sister-in-law’s age, I deduce that they were very young. The fact that he was unable to experience the satisfaction of watching his children grow, which is every parent’s dream from the moment their offspring takes their first breath outside the womb, is particularly heartbreaking. Furthermore, it is disheartening that his children will not have the opportunity to know their father and learn from him. This aspect of the situation makes it even more tragic for me.

    Considering that there are no available photo memories of your brother, would it be possible for you to try your best to recall him in as much detail as you can? This could potentially enable you to paint a portrait resembling him. I believe that such an endeavor might provide some comfort if you succeed in recreating such a portrait.

    However, the fact that you can see a strong resemblance between your late brother and his children is a way to remember him, as there is no creation more significant for a person than their children. In one way or another, he continues to live through them, through their likeness to him. This helps keep his memory alive among those who knew and loved him as a family member and friend. A memory doesn’t have to be vivid; even a sense of nostalgia for him is a form of memory. It arises when you witness his genetic expression alive and well in his children, serving as evidence that while memories may become hazy, they never entirely fade away. People can live on through us, even when they are no longer with us physically. They reside only in our recollections of a time long past.

    Thank you for reading, and sharing such a difficult episode of your life.

  13. Response to “When Dates Matter”

    Hi Dr. Martin,

    After reading your blog “When Dates Matter”, it left me thinking about my life and some of the events that have occurred in my life. Right now as a senior in college, time has flown very quickly. It felt like yesterday that I was just starting in person classes, just for them to go remote in 2 short months. Doing remote classes for two semesters was definitely different and a challenge but I blew my expectations out of the water. Fast forward to the present, I am a few classes away from graduating with a Bachelor’s degree.

    When I read the part of your blog about your sister, it definitely caught my attention. First off, I am so sorry that you had to go through all you went through when she passed. It is very tough when either a full blood parent or sibling passes because they are almost a part of you. I could not imagine my past, present, and future without my full blood brother. I have lived almost 22 years on this earth with him and couldn’t think about how I would live without him. So kuddos to you on getting through the hardships you had to go through when that event first occurred. From what I’m hearing she sounded amazing and that she would’ve been a great sibling to have. Since that event occurred many years ago, it definitely changed your life and probably has changed you. Those events will change the way we do anything and it could be good and bad. Thanks again for sharing Dr. Martin!

  14. This blog goes deeply into the topic of death and the importance of life. The fact that you added in the detail about being abused mentally, emotionally, and physically astounds me. Most people would never say anything along those lines but you said it in order to get a message across. Knowing what it is like to experience death is one thing but constantly going through your life thinking that you are not good enough to do anything is awful. I am not sure if that is how your sister was but either way I am terribly sorry that a specific day hurts. Some people use the day to look back on all the fond memories their are but others to not to think about the past but the future instead and try to forget about the sadness that a death has caused for them.

    Talking about the future also brings up another point you mentioned in your blog. You mentioned that the fear of the unknown and change is big whenever it comes to the future. Having the ability to know what is coming may be good or bad. I believe that is why we don’t have the ability to see what is going to happen and see into the future. As someone who constantly dwells on death and how it is inevitable, I envy those who go about life carefree. I am happy for them, of course, but I would like to be able to feel the same way as them.

    Overall, I believe that have gone through tremendous loss in your life and that writing is a good way to get it out of your system. Once again, I am sorry for your loss.

  15. Dr. Martin,
    What lovely words you have written about your late sister. What particularly struck me was when you shared your thoughts of wonder of what her life could have been like if only she had been located in the right environment. I often wonder too, how my life and other peoples lives’ would be different (for better or worse) if they were in a different environment. I often see people who are so very intelligent, creative, smart, and kind in unfortunate situations. I often wonder what those people’s lives would be like if they were given the right opportunity to flourish.

    Earlier in your blog post, when you talk about the changes in your life and the decisions you have made, it made me think of how the decisions I make everyday in my young adult life could change the path of my life forever. That is certainly a frightening yet exciting thought.

  16. Dear Dr.Martin,
    Thank you for sharing your reflections and experiences in this blog post. It is evident that the audience you have in mind while writing greatly influences the content and tone of your piece. Your narrative revolves around milestones, graduations, and significant dates, which suggests that you are addressing an audience that may have a similar academic background or an appreciation for personal achievements.

    Your discussion of choices and their impact resonates with individuals who may be at crossroads in their lives, contemplating their directions. By sharing your journey and the decisions that shaped it, you offer valuable insights and encouragement to your audience. The emphasis on making wise choices and committing to the chosen path aligns with a desire to inspire and motivate your readers.

    Additionally, your mention of a conversation with someone struggling and the importance of recognizing one’s accomplishments despite limitations suggests a compassionate approach toward those who may be facing challenges. By acknowledging their strengths and highlighting their achievements, you aim to uplift and support individuals who may be feeling discouraged.
    Furthermore, your reflections on the fragility of human life and the impact of abuse on self-worth demonstrate a sensitivity to emotional and personal struggles. Your words indicate a desire to create awareness and advocate for those who have experienced similar difficulties. The mention of your sister’s creativity and potential serves as a reminder of the untapped talents within individuals that can flourish with support and encouragement.

    Your acknowledgment of personal growth, overcoming shyness, and finding self-acceptance add a layer of relatability to your narrative. It conveys a sense of shared vulnerability and the realization that growth is ongoing. By showing vulnerability and sharing your own experiences, you create an atmosphere of empathy and understanding, fostering a connection with your audience.

    Lastly, your reference to current social and environmental issues and the contrasting approaches you and your sister may have taken, show a desire to provoke thought and inspire action. You recognize the importance of speaking out against injustices and the urgency of addressing climate change. Your role as an individual who expresses concerns through writing offers an alternative way to contribute to these causes.

    Overall, your blog post engages an audience that appreciates personal narratives, the significance of choices, and the complexity of human experiences. You aim to inspire, encourage, and foster connections with your readers by sharing your insights, vulnerabilities, and reflections.
    Keep up the thoughtful writing!
    Anna Curry

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