What Would You Do With No Arms and No Limits?

Have you ever seen someone whose courage just took your breath away?

Well, I have; his name is Richie Parker. At the time of this writing, Richie is in his 30s, and he works as an engineer for Hendrick Motorsports.

Before I share the rest of the story, though, I have to tell you that this is not the post I had planned for today. But my birthday is coming up; this week, I’ll be 29. And people keep asking if I’m worried about nearing the big 3-0.

Part of me understands the anxiety. But another part of me thinks that there’s something wrong with the question.

Continue reading

To the Writer Who is Just Starting Out

One of my closest friends from Vassar once told me about how he saw Maroon 5 play before they hit the big-time.

It was at a bar in Boston, as I recall. I was quite impressed, because at the time, “Songs About Jane” was everywhere. It played at parties, at my on-campus job, on my roommate’s computer. Maroon 5 was a big deal then, and they’ve become a bigger deal since.

But the people in that bar’s audience had no idea who Maroon 5 was (or would be). Nor did they care. They weren’t paying attention. They were drunk and rowdy. Eventually, Maroon 5’s lead singer had enough. According to my friend, Adam Levine lost it. He yelled at the crowd, “You’ll never stop us!”

Continue reading

One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice.

She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend.

My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?”

With that, I made my first school friend. It was a serendipitous choice, since she was (is) an excellent visual artist. Back then, I could barely cut in a straight line — OK, that’s still true! — so she’d help me with arts and crafts. She didn’t like to write, so I’d help her with compositions. We saw each other through.

Continue reading