Essential to a happy and satisfied life is living in the presence of those we love. Consistently.
But are you intentional in making your presence a priority?
As much as I would love to sit here and tell you that I am persistent in doing so, I feel oftentimes I get swept away in my daily schedule of school, sports, work, and other activities. That makes this assertion seemingly harder to achieve, even if it’s just simply living in the presence of family members in my own household!
Of course life happens, schedules fill, and “busy” jumps to the forefront of our everyday verbiage. I know, for me, looking into this new year one of my goals is to start putting first things first in my heart and limiting distractions, especially in regards to being present with and really living with my loved ones when I am presented the opportunity.
What that looks like for each family can be in many different ways, shapes, and forms.
However, the Duncan family favorites (when it comes to spending quality time with each other) include:
Big or small, these experiences that I share with my family have created some of my favorite memories, and I would not trade any of those times for the world. Those times together have also made me realize that simply being in the same room as each other, and actually spending time together can be two completely different things. Limiting distractions, engaging in conversations, and being fully present is what I’ve realized matters in the moment, and creates more memories when it comes to quality time with family and friends.
We have been living in uncertainty since March. While there has been a lot of chaos and anxiety, I am learning to stop and notice. To wait it out and ask myself, "What really matters?" in any given moment.
Some days I'm better at it than others. I get better at it as time progresses.
With more positive test results, numbers spiking, hospitals filling up, and large group settings not ideal, (you know what i’m talking about), it is not safe to be physically present as much as we, and our loved ones, would like to be.
However, we can still convey to them where our heart is, from a distance. Times like this call for slowing down. Doing less, but being fully present with what we're doing, with the ones we love the most when the opportunity is presented. Consistently.
7 a.m. - Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for school
8:15 a.m. - School starts
3:25 p.m. - School ends
4 p.m. - Track Practice
6 p.m. - Practice ends
6:30 p.m. - Drive home, eat dinner
7:30 p.m. - Volleyball Practice
9:30 p.m. - Practice ends
9:40 p.m. - Arrive home
9:50 p.m. - Shower and start homework
11:30 p.m. - Finish homework and get ready for bed
7 a.m. - Wake up, and do it all over again
I have a question. How come nowadays people can’t even manage to find time to breathe, get a solid night's sleep, or just sit back and relax for a bit? Asking for a friend here!
On a real note, life is SO ridiculously busy that even the simplest of necessities seem to get shoved to the side, day in and day out. I can’t remember the last time my sleep schedule hasn’t been out of whack, or I haven’t been attempting to juggle more than one thing at a time. By doing so, I find myself losing the things I should value most.
We, as a society, not only struggle physically and mentally with our overfilled schedules, but emotionally as well. We miss out on those personal relationships, deep conversations, and human interactions that are SO important, yet so undervalued, in today’s society.
But why? Why does it seem as if everyone is always SO busy in today’s world? What happened to simply unwinding and slowing down, without feeling as if you are falling behind? There are so many reasons why we are, the way that we are, but I really do think social media is a key component of the issue. I myself am guilty of getting sucked up into what other people are doing, how others view me, and seeking validation from strangers. But what can we do to break this cycle?
The solution, whether it be simple or spectacular, is being okay with taking a break. Book that flight, watch the sunset, call an old friend, paint your nails, sit outside and listen to the rain. Don’t be afraid to unplug yourself from the world every once and awhile. No posting, no liking, just living. Updating nothing, impressing nobody, just living your authentically original life to the fullest.
Life is so crazy busy, but never get so busy trying to make a living that you lose sight of enjoying your life.
Take a YOU day!
Individuality! It’s such a fun and interesting concept to think about. Literally every single person in existence right now is different, and no two people are the same. Like, HOW cool is that!?
I asked a couple of my closest friends if they could describe me in any word, what words would they choose? Then I took a minute to reflect on myself. Finally, out of the 1,022,000 words that the english language has to offer, I think I found five that suit me pretty darn well!
This one is a friend-picked word! At first I was like, “Ehhh are you guys sure about that one?” But the more I thought about it, I realized they were right. I am often motivated by my emotions, and tend to surround myself with people who make me feel loved. I have an undeniable love for almost everything that I do, and pour my heart into my work always. Passion is energy! It’s such a power that comes from focusing on the things that excite me!
When others talk or think about Emma Duncan, I hope that kindness is a word that they would pair up right next to my name! I strive to love and show empathy for others! I believe that just being a kind human speaks so many volumes. Which is why I pride myself in my efforts to be kind-hearted!
Sports and competing have always been a huge component in my life. I live for that adrenaline rush when I’m waiting for the sound of the gun, crouched in the blocks, heart pounding, ready to lay it all out there for the 400m dash. I absolutely LIVE for that indescribable feeling when I cut a hard line shot, scoring the game point in the third set of a tight volleyball game. Competing brings me SO much joy in life! I definitely would not be the person I am today without it. In fact, just writing about it makes me smile!
Ahh, I love this one! I thrive on traveling to new places, stepping out of my comfort zone, and chasing all the beautiful and exciting things that life has to offer. There are so many things to do, places to see, and such little time to do it all. I am constantly looking for new adventures and finding the excitement in everyday life!
No, I did not just make up this word. It’s a weird one, but hey it’s kinda fun! An exuberant person is “full of joy” and “has a lot of energy to show it.” I had never even heard of this one, but last year my club volleyball coach used this word to describe me. I think he kinda nailed it. I find myself always trying to look on the bright side of life. I am always telling myself not to get caught up in how I think my life should look like, and just learn to find joy in the story that I'm living in. I think exuberant is a swell fit for me!
These words, along with many others, are all a special part of what makes me who I am. I am forever growing as a student, daughter, friend, teammate, sister, and the list goes on. I am so thankful for my uniqueness and sense of individuality. I hope these five words gave you a little taste of what makes Emma, Emma!
Peace out for now!
After the docudrama, Cierstyn and I were interviewed by two local news stations. We spent time with each reporter, answering their questions about the conference and how preventable traffic crashes have impacted us and our community. We were both nervous, but after the interviews we were so glad that we took the opportunity!
Some of my favorite TRACTION moments, aside from the seriousness, had to be when we all got to come together and bonded as a team. TRACTION Olympics, building the giant whale, and Bob’s iconic drum circle are just a few of the activities that helped us come together as a team. It was so nice to get closer with several staff members before the start of the year. Another way we bonded was over some great meals. Yes, the food provided was also quite stellar!
Aside from all of the dance parties, epic team challenges, and heartfelt moments shared at the conference, the best thing was the moment that WE WON THE BUCKLE, AND IT’S GOLDEN! Yes, THE GOLDEN BUCKLE AWARD ON NIGHT ONE WENT TO OUR TEAM! We won it the very first night of TRACTION for all of the hard work that we put in during the day.
Overall, my experience at TRACTION was filled with all sorts of emotions, great food, and the best new staff members/friends. This experience would not have been the same without each and every person who made the conference possible.
Thank you to all of the TRACTION staff, my teammates, and our adviser, MT, for making this 72-hour adventure one of my favorite summer memories!!
Thanks for reading,
We all know that our time in this world is limited. Yet it is always a surprise when the end comes for someone we know and love. The summer heading into my seventh grade year, I unexpectedly lost my grandfather, known to me as Grandad. It wasn’t my first experience saying earthly goodbyes to someone that was close to me. However it was, and still is, the most vivid.
My Grandad was the most goofy, compassionate, and encouraging person I have ever known. I shared MANY laughs, childish ways, dreams, and loving moments with my Grandad. I still carry so many fond memories of him that I would not trade for the world. He taught me lessons about life and never let me go without telling me I was loved every single time he saw me.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with horses. They fascinated me and were the only thing that I would ever talk about. My Grandad liked to fuel this obsession of mine with lots of whacky horse stories. My personal favorite is of Fred, the green-headed horse, who resides at our local Dairy Queen in Washington. Whenever he came to visit, we would make a special trip to DQ in hopes to see Fred and to grab some blizzards. We never saw Fred, but he always ensured me that NEXT time he’d show. I still think about Fred to this day whenever passing a DQ. Goofy moments shared with my Grandpa like this one are what I cherish the most.
I wish he could’ve seen me run in track meets and met my new friends. I wish he could be here so I could tell him all about volleyball and the exciting things that have happened in school. I wish he was still around to watch all of my Blue Jay Journal TV stories and read my blogs. He would’ve been all over those things! But most of all, I long for another laugh and more happy memories with my Grandad.
Mourning can be hard sometimes, but I find Matthew 5:4 as a very comforting verse when it comes to times when I experience grief. It says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
I love, remember, and thank my Grandad for his part in my journey. He is one of the many people that had I not had in my life, I would not be the person who I am today. I often think of him and am more than stoked for the day when we will meet again.