Thursday, March 18, 2010

A little update

Hello friends, or whoever still checks in! I thought I'd give a long overdue update on what's new.

I posted in January that you'd hear more from me, but that wasn't the case. I didn't even try to write anything since that last post. Today is my day off. It is a beautiful day outside. Motivating.

I've been working at U.S. Cellular in Keene as a Retail Wireless Consultant since mid November. Who would have predicted I would be a phone salesman. The job consists of more than just selling cell phones. I provide excellent customer service in an industry that can be frustrating at times to the customer. U.S Cellular has been a great transition for me in getting acclimated with living in Keene. Living less than two miles from the store, I'm saving a lot of money on gas!

Hockey was a big part of my winter. I played in the Keene Men's League which took place in Winchendon Mass due to lower rink costs. Then I played the last six weeks for the Winchendon Men's League. A couple of my teammates played on both teams and they picked me up for the WML team when another player got hurt. It was a thrill to play twice a week and get in shape. Plus it was a good group of people to play with. We didn't end up winning in either league's playoffs, but we were a pretty good team and I look forward to playing some more hockey this summer.

I just registered for my Up with People 10 Year Reunion. It also happens to be the 45th anniversary of Up with People. It is in Tucson from July 29-August 1. I haven't seen many of my cast mates in 10 years, so it looks like that is going to be an amazing weekend down in Arizona.

Other trips I'm planning for 2010: Carroll University Homecoming weekend October 1-3. I've never been to a homecoming weekend but I hear it is a lot of fun. It's been awhile since I returned to Canada, so hopefully a Montreal or Ottawa trip will happen. One weekend to Princeton with my brother and another for my cousin's wedding in September, and that's about it. Oh, hoping to go on my first Carnival Cruise in December since leaving ships back in 2007.

TV shows also are a big part of my week. Current shows I'm following: Season 8 of 24, The final season of LOST, and the all new Justified on FX. I don't like to be tied down to too many TV shows, but I really look forward to Monday and Tuesday nights. If any of you are LOST fans, I'd love to talk to you about this season. So much speculation as to how the series will end!

As I mentioned, the weather is beautiful here in New Hampshire. 50 degrees at least today. T shirt weather. Those of you in the south must think I'm crazy. But it's true. It feels like winter is behind us. This was my first winter in Keene since the early 2000's. I missed that ice storm of 2008 by 2 days.

Whew, that felt good writing a few paragraphs. Hope to do it again soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Curing writer's block

I created 84 posts in 2009. 2010 has inspired one post prior to this one. Since October 2009, I've only written two posts. How could I have gone from being "on fire" to "stone cold?" I'm not positive, but when I came home from Australia, there was a noticeable change. My main audience including family and friends of the family, were no longer 10,000 miles away. They were right in the same town and under the same roof as me. Just telling them about my day, rather than writing it down seemed a lot easier than a blog post.

With coming home, my inspiration dwindled. I've had a great five months back in New Hampshire, but nothing here is making me want to write like I did when I was on the road. My goal is to find that passion again here in Keene, New Hampshire. When I was pumping out posts last year, I had so much energy and pride in my work. Gotta get back there mentally.

So with that in mind, I've always thought that the best way to get back into writing or into anything is to just do it. Expect to hear from me more often. I'll think of something...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Up with People

January 16, 2000

(On the plane) Day one...What to expect? Unknown. Mom is crying already. Dad isn't but he is gracious. Donna, crying too. Funny how things work out. I was cracking forwards' skulls and robbing gappers a year ago. Now I'm off to become a performer. I thought this day would never come. Haven't met anyone yet other than Joel and Stephanie. Sitting next to a nice man from Portland, OR. If only George Carlin were sitting next to me now. We're beginning the announcements. This is gonna be funny. 11:35am and the plane is going to take off soon. No butterflies. Amazing. Everybody's faces are flashing through my mind......Jon, Donna, Watterson's, Gemmells, Kenny. Not only am I on a plane that is taking off. I'm on a plane where a dozen New England kids lives are taking off. I am strengthening as a person. My confidence is going to increase....11:50 We're taking off!

Ten years ago today I wrote those words in a little spiral journal with the title "A Traverler's Notebook" written on the cover. I was about to fly to Denver to join Up with People, the international performance group that traveled the world. I was 18 years old.

The next 12 months would prove to be life changing. I participated in countless hours of community service, lived with 60 or so random families in a dozen countries and performed on stage for thousands.

More than that, I found self respect and confidence. Someone who had always been hiding behind a metaphorical mask for 18 years, jumped out into the spotlight and took advantage of one of the most unique and strange opportunities ever thrown at an individual....

"Hey Ry, let me introduce you to 130 people from 25 countries. 125 people from 25 countries, this is Ryan....Oh by the way, Ry, you won't see your family for a looooong time. You'll live in strange homes, eat strange food, be forced to sing and dance and perform....No pressure, Good luck!"

It's hard to remember if I was more scared or excited. I think it was a mixture of both. But for some reason, the fear never held me back. I landed in Denver with an open mind, ready to accept whatever was thrown at me. I knew I could be whoever I wanted to be.

And that is one thing about Up with People that I will always appreciate and remember; Nobody there was ever going to tell me I wasn't good enough or that I wasn't talented enough. I had 130 family members for 12 months of my life who supported me through the fun times and the challenging ones.

At the end of my tour, sitting in some random room in France, our staff members told us, "Ten years from now, you'll look back on the year 2000 as the most Extraordinary year of your lives."

Well, they weren't lying. I've had some great years since then, but nothing will ever compare to the year 2000. It would be impossible to match.

With 10 years already gone in the blink of an eye. I'd like to to say to my family who supported me doing something completely out of character, and also to my cast mates from around the world who helped me find my voice, Thank You.