Everything is O.K.

Kids, don’t be me, but instead learn from me. You read my last post and that’s awesome and I appreciate it and if you haven’t then check it out here before reading any further. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating things and realized that 2017 sucked and that’s O.K; I wrote down a list of things I’ve thought about. 2018 is going to be a much better year because these things take time, perseverance and determination.

  1. You believe that you will never find the one and that’s a bunch of sh*t. You will. It may take time, but give it the time it deserves.
  2. You are the farthest thing from stupid. Don’t give yourself to someone who isn’t going to love you through the good times and especially the bad.
  3. That sh*t feeling you get when they don’t even need to use words to tell you to leave them alone and they don’t love you anymore. Yea, let that go because it isn’t worth it.
  4. Nobody is perfect and if they aren’t able to see that and forgive you for it. Move on.
  5. From this. You can love with all of yourself rather than a piece.
  6. You can talk about anything with anyone. Be more open and free to do so without feeling judged.
  7. That sh*t you see in movies isn’t reality. Real love takes perseverance and determination.
  8. Genuinely take care of yourself and not for someone else who will never appreciate it.
  9. Keep your chin up and always look into the curve.
  10. Take your time. Make the next one count. This one wasn’t it.
  11. When you do find it. Money and games don’t matter. It’s about that feeling. Wait for it. It will be worth it.
  12. Figure out what makes you tick and value that. The one should have their own values you respect and they should respect yours.
  13. Sh*t happens. Deal with it. Life is a bully. Life is hard. Fairy tales aren’t real. Pick up your pieces and give them to someone who will help you put them back together. Just because your broken now doesn’t mean there isn’t glue strong enough to fix it.

I wrote this buzzed on gin and really bad Stop & Shop tonic while listening to heartbreak country jams. And by buzzed I mean, well, drunk. Look guys, pain passes and wishing for change is an uphill battle. Listen to yourself and be the person you want to be. Look yourself in the mirror and battle to be happy and free to be yourself. There will be tears and factors you wish you can change, but sometimes you can’t change a damn thing. That’s O.K. Everything is ok. I promise it will get better. It will be difficult to let it go, but you can do it. My 2018 will be the best year of my life because I’m determined to make it great. I’m tired of putting myself down because of a “person” who simply stopped caring. Do I blame them? No, despite the way it may sound I appreciate them for crushing my spirit because in the end it makes me stronger than ever. I put her through hell and that’s on me. Now all I can do is fight for a brighter future.

Be awesome. Be happy. Have a great 2018.

🎈

🚶🏽‍♂️

PJ

I’ve Made a Huge Mistake

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write anything in a long time. My last post was April of 2016 and it was pretty awesome; in my opinion of course. If you haven’t read that head over to My Two Dads and give it skim or heck maybe even a full read through.

So why am I back online typing away expressing myself to a small audience who may or may not even read what I have to say…? Easy, I’ve made a huge mistake and I’m heartbroken about it. Yes, that’s right, this will not be the “awesome” post I would like to write, but I felt like it was a must for myself and those who it affects.

2017 was a difficult year for me and not really in a positive way with a few exceptions. Just like the Liotta family gene pool, I’ll try to keep this short. The year started out well and by well I mean I pretty much had it all. A good job, friends, money in my savings, debt free, food on the table, car to drive and a beautiful girlfriend who loved me unconditionally. As the days quickly past though I found myself increasingly unhappy. Unhappy with myself because I had everything I wanted in the moment except for something more. I craved more responsibility from my job and was even taken back when I thought to myself “You idiot, use your degree!”. I let those thoughts simmer like a beef stew with hearty potatoes, carrots, and celery…mmmm that sounds delicious; BRB gotta turn on the crockpot. I love my job and everything I do day in and day out. One of the best parts about my employer is how well they encourage a work/life balance. If we’re being honest I’d say I’ve always had a difficult time with that. I hardly ever call out of work unless I absolutely have to and I never take a vacation which at this point is well needed and deserved. I’ve worked myself to a point where outside of work that’s all I could think about. I thought about my next steps and how I can achieve my goals. I thought about how long it was taking me and I was afraid it was never going to happen. I was afraid I was never going to get the opportunity to do something more. By the end of 2017, I’m happy to say I got there. I achieved something that I thought I’d never get or not get anytime soon at least. I think it’s important to note that no matter how bad I felt I never brought any negativity into the workplace. Every day I went to work excited to be there because I love what I do, my employer and work family.  Unfortunately though, during the process of achieving my goals, I’ve, well, made a huge mistake.

This past year I was so lost, confused and had no idea what I was doing. So much so it cost me my relationship with someone who tried so hard to keep us together. Because I couldn’t escape from all my negative thoughts I ended up pushing myself away from her and in a direction that led me here today. I felt like I was wasting her time and she could find someone better who would give her the time and attention she deserved. During this time I found myself gravitating towards my past and old feelings that I had. Feelings that affected our relationship even further to the point that everything felt like a lie. It only took seven months until my self-destructing behaving capsized our relationship. I didn’t treat her fairly and just like that she was gone. Since then I tried to limit the past and work on a better me for her. That deemed to be a foolish mistake. I was selfish to believe she’d wait for me to get it together and soon everything would go back to normal, but that isn’t the case. She did exactly that. She moved on.

The irony here is that I spent the past 5 months working on myself for her. Piecing everything out meticulously to the point I wanted to reach out to her and talk about us. Unfortunately, before I had the chance to do so she reached out to me and told me she was seeing someone else. I respect that she told me before I found out from another source, but either way it still hurts. All I ever wanted was for her to be happy and she appears to be happy without me in her life and that’s ok. As heartbroken as I am she is happy and that’s what is important.

In the short amount of time, I learned a lot about myself. I also learned that depression is a life-crushing abyss that should be taken seriously. Somethings I learned:

  1. Talk to someone – I know the concept is simple, but when feeling down and in the gutter talking to someone can be extremely difficult. If you have someone by your side please use your words the best you can and just talk to them. Something I wish I had done.
  2. Take advantage of benefits – At a point, I figured I needed help from an expert. My employer offers amazing benefits online and over the phone that really does help. If you’re unsure if you have these benefits from work I suggest looking into it. It could save your life.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take chances – During the past 5 months I took some chances and roll some dice I probably shouldn’t have, but that’s ok. I now have a better understanding where I want to be in the next few years and how I can get there.
  4. Be honest and stay true to yourself – I reached out to a friend who gave me praise for recognizing that I needed/wanted to work on myself and that was reassuring that I did the right thing.
  5. Stay strong – Times are gonna suck. Right now I’m at my lowest point. Feeling like shit because I waited too long. All I can do now is continue pushing forward and look towards a much brighter tomorrow.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but now at least I find myself in a better position. As broken as I feel I just need to find the glue to piece it all back together again. If she and I are meant to be then maybe we will find each other again. If not then I’m extremely fortunate to have had that part of my life.

This post is by far the hardest I have written. They say time is the only healer and for the life of me I hope that isn’t right…

Until next time. Stay hungry. Stay awesome.

PJ

My Two Dads

This past weekend I had the privilege to watch two individuals vow their love for one another. I honestly couldn’t be happier for two incredible people who deserve happiness. It’s kind of strange to think about how this all came to be. How time just flew by to this very moment. To really understand what I’m talking about I need to open up and take you down memory lane for a brief couple of sentences. When I was in the 7th grade my mother and father decided it would be in their best interest to separate and shortly after that my father came out of the closet. Now at the time I really didn’t know how to process the situation. How does a young kid understand that his father is gay and his parents aren’t going to be together anymore. My mother and father always taught me to accept people for who they are and that is exactly what did and still do. I love my father very much and wouldn’t change anything about him. I wrote a post about how my parents made me who I am today and without them both I wouldn’t be nearly as awesome. My father has supported me my entire life and I couldn’t be happier standing by his side while he held the hands of a man he loves deeply.


The ceremony was held on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale with an audience of about 20 (not including the public) close friends and family. My brothers and I each had a task to accomplish as “Best Men”. Yes, even though I am the favorite child my dad could not just choose one best man. Now I’m just kidding, I’m well aware that all my dads boys are his favorite; I just like to mess with my brothers. Mike was given the duty as Ring Bearer and of course he nailed it. He passed rings out like a straight boss and he didn’t drop one in the sand. Good job bro! Adam was in charge of the sand. That’s right, Adam was the sandman. Now, you’re probably asking yourself what does that actually mean. Well, there were three glasses filled with sand and one empty vessel. Each member from both sides of the family went around and poured some sand into the empty container until the two grooms topped it off joining both families together. And somehow Adam was in charge of that. That’s alright he nailed it too. Jon, was the man who got to sign the official marriage certificate. He busted out his 64 pack of Crayola and signed that document without hesitation. I want to say he used the color Macaroni and Cheese, but only he really knows. I was given the duty of the toast. Typical, give Paul the hardest of the jobs. The job that involves getting up a talking in front of people. Awesome. I must say though it went pretty well. My life goal of finding ways to make my parents cry in a positive way was achieved once again. Dad couldn’t hold back the tears.


Speech:

“Hello Everyone,

I’m Paul, Dennis’ favorite son and I was asked to say a few words, but before I begin I would like to thank the nursing home for allowing dad to be here today. (Joke provided by Jon)

Our dad is one of the best human beings is our lives. Growing up he ensured our happiness by providing us with everything we needed for an incredible upbringing. From birthdays, Christmas mornings, baseball games and most importantly the unconditional love he gave us and you just can’t fabricate. Dad always just wanted one thing for his boys. Happiness. I’m proud to call this man my father and I couldn’t be happier for him; especially today. He spent 30 years selflessly providing for the people he loves the most and if there is someone who deserves happiness, it’s dad, but there is someone else who also deserves happiness. Josh, from day one I thought you were pretty freakin’ cool and we can see how happy you two are together. All of us here today couldn’t be more excited to call you step-whatever the heck you wanna be called. You’re awesome, and a truly genuine individual.

So here’s to dad and Josh and wish you both extended happiness.

To Dad & Josh”


We all couldn’t be happier for dad and Josh and support them with all of our hearts. Welcome to the family step-dude-man-guy. You rock and I’ll hit you up for money soon as a true son would do.

Wishing you both an eternity of love and happiness together.

Love ya,

Paul

They Made Me Awesome

Oh man, it’s been a really long time since my last post and for that I apologize. The past few months have been filled with awesomeness that I hope to share with everyone, but before I get to those posts there is THIS post I’ve been meaning to write.


There are two people in my life that mean the absolute world to me. I’ve been lucky enough to have them both supporting me and by my side my entire life. I am grateful they remind me how much they love me, care about my health, safety and well-being. Without them I would have no idea who I am. It pains me to think about a world without either one of them and I just cringe at that slight thought.


I’m distant from both of them and sometimes am very disconnected to each one and I forget to tell them how much they mean to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their unconditional love and support.


I made a list of the things these two amazing people need to read:


For the past five years I have lived in another state and only get to see you two a few times a year. I simply have been focusing on myself and striving for something you two would be most proud of. I know it may appear like I don’t think about you both, but in all honesty there isn’t a single day that goes by where I’m not thinking of you. You two are the most important people in my life.


Another thing I don’t say nearly enough is “Thank You”. I’m truly grateful for all you have provided for me and my brothers. You gave us everything and treated us all as equals. From food, shelter, toys, cars, college and Christmas mornings you gave us the world. You put your children before yourselves through the good times and the bad. I know you love us more than we will ever know.


I love you.


You two raised four very different boys. I have no idea how the heck you did that. You two are better than the Dynamic Duo and they could learn a thing or two from you both. You both were a team with a mission to provide the best life for your boys. Even through the worst of times you two stuck together to ensure we were happy and again I can’t thank you enough for making so many sacrifices for us. I need you to know that I appreciate everything you gave up for me.


Because of your love, compassion, kindness, and overall awesomeness I am a better human being. You molded me into the person I am today. How to love, fight, deal with pain and believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.


I’m here in Rhode Island and have been for more than five years. You two are in New Jersey and Florida and being far away from you both hurts me everyday. I chose to live here because I love the feeling that I have made it on my own for so long. You’ve provided me with all my resources to make it and it feels incredible to say I’m an active member of society. I now have a full-time job, my own car that is registered to me, I pay my own bills and take care of myself. That’s because you taught me it’s OK to go out into the world and fight for what you want. Just know me being so far from you both doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. I miss you everyday.


I know life is not forever and I know one day I will wake up and you both will be gone. Writing that sentence scared me. I can’t imagine not being able to pick up the phone and checking in with you both. Even after that day comes you’ll always be in my heart.


Mom and Dad I love you both very much.


See you when I see you.


Love always and forever,

Paul

#12: Listen to Ridiculously Awesome Music While Cooking and in General

I am honestly going to get a lot of crap for writing this next post because it does involve my favorite genre of music. Based on that sentence alone you can probably guess my favorite genre is country. There are many reasons why country music is great and like every cliché blog post about an opinion; I’ll make a list.

 

It’s Relatable – When you’re really happy or sad you can turn on some country music and become one with the lyrics. With country music, you can always find that song that you want to believe was meant for you.

It isn’t complicated – Let’s be honest for a second. You can always understand what the song is trying to say. It isn’t bogged down with over-used metaphors that you have to decipher in your free time. I’m not lazy I just don’t have that much time.

The Twang – Most people hate it with every ounce in their body, but I love it. You can easily identify when a country song is playing on the radio. Some people believe that all country songs sound the same, but they are all different and have their own unique sound. I encourage everyone to at least try and listen to different artists and not just what you hear on the radio.

Country concerts are the best – Even if you hate country music you’ll absolutely love the atmosphere. Country singers and their fans know exactly how to have a good time. The music is just a reason to come together and party. Whether it be in the parking lot before the show or in your seat singing along with friends. If you’ve never been you’ve already failed at being awesome.

 
Now, this post is about listening to ridiculously awesome music while cooking and in general. I believe I have touched upon why I love country music (that’s the in general part). Let’s talk about the cooking part.
 

 
A few nights ago I rigged my kitchen with an Apple Airport Express and a set of speakers for the sole purpose of listening to music while I cook. That’s exactly what I accomplished when I blasted country music and cooked an awesome chicken dish. If you want to know what I cooked check out the recipe on my dad’s food blog, foodieroadshow.com.
 

 
This was just another step to being awesome yoo.
 

#42. ALWAYS Follow the Golden Rule…Especially Complete Strangers

Everyone has been told the same thing growing up “Treat others the way you wish to be treated”. The way you speak, think, and act actually affect other people and it is very easy to offend someone you know or even do not know. The way the golden rule is presented is simply telling others to go out and do the right thing, everyday. In reality, it isn’t possible to do the right thing everyday. We all have our vices and those things that prevent us from doing the right.


I work in an environment where it is extremely important to follow the golden rule. One thing I’ve learn is that you never want to come between someone and their technology. Especially when it is not working as they expect it to. We say this all the time at work “You only have the first minute of the interaction to make the appointment as personal as possible”. If even for a second you forget the golden rule you’ve lost that customer. It is as simple as shaking hands and introducing yourself. If you are able to smile and ask “how are you?” you will reap the rewards.


In my personal life my older brother Michael is an awesome example of the golden rule. He will always give someone a chance and will never judge a book by its cover. He really does have an interest in getting to know most people and seeing the good in them. That is until you get on his bad side. Love you bro.


This one is easy. Be kind. Be awesome. And remember that everyone is fighting a battle.

#37: Stop Caring About What Other People Think of You

This one is tough because it is very much in our nature to worry about what people will or will not approve of. I understand that everyone wants to be liked and I’m not going to lie, I want to be liked. I tend to be sensitive not to offend anybody and in doing so I realized how bad it was for my personal well-being.


Let’s be real, people are constantly judging you and there is nothing you can do or say about it. The good news is that you don’t need everyones approval. You only need the approval of those you care about. Recently, I struggled with the feeling of loneliness and being a loser, but none of that was true. I read an article online that outlined “How Not to Give a F*ck What Others Think”. And here is what it outlined.


1. Stop over-thinking:
  • It’s easy to obsess over the little things that put us down. An easy way to see if someone likes you is to push the limits and see how they react. A stranger won’t care or notice the change to your personality, but a friend will and ask questions. 
  • Really listen to yourself and catch when your over-thinking. Once you can recognize what you are doing you can do something about it. 

2. Put things into perspective:

  • Look at it this way, you only have one life, are you really going to let other peoples opinions control your life. I’m not saying to ignore the opinions of others because it is important to accept people for who they are and their point of view. Just don’t make them something you obsess over. Your thoughts are important too.

3. Be confident:

  • Smile: Everyone is struggling with something and a smile can easily put someone at ease.   
  • Visualize success: The first thing we always think about is when we are going to fail. Instead of thinking about a potential failure think about how you can be successful. An easy way to do so is to break down goals into pieces Everyone has small and long term goals, and everyone has a different approach to accomplishing them. Recently, I have been breaking down my goals into small pieces so my goals are more obtainable. It really works!

4. Learn to control your emotions:

  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus on a current goal or objective. As soon as you can observe your feelings and emotions, you can pull yourself away from them and overcome what is putting you down.  

5. Accept yourself for who are:

  • This is by far the toughest thing someone can do. It’s doubt that puts us down. But how can you manage it? A friend of mine told me to write down everything I didn’t like about myself. After you have your list, look at it carefully and see what you can do to possibility change them. 

Overall, it’s ok to to care about what other people think about you. Just don’t make it your priority and be careful not to offend anyone. I recently wrote another post about “Making Your Life A Priority”. I believe that your life and how you think about it is truly important. So…go out there and be awesome yoo!


“Be kind. Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.” – John Watson

#7: Go for a run…just exercise DAILY.

So if you know me then you aren’t surprised to hear that I love running. No, seriously, I mean, I LOVE IT. A LOT. It’s something that has always been that one thing I loved to do, but hesitated to keep up with. Last summer I started a personal campaign to run as much as I could. Why? Because why not. It’s a confusing combination of exhilaration and relaxation. I don’t run because it’s healthy or because I want to finish marathons. I run because it’s the only time I’m really alone; when I run I think about, well, everything. It’s not just everything, but everything in my life that matters.

Lets look at the overall aspects of running.
  1. You can run literally whenever, wherever! Down the street, in a park, on a treadmill, through a city, school track, playground, baseball field. Anywhere as long as you have the mindset, motivation and you aren’t trespassing. Also. it’s a year round activity. Just saying.
  2. It’s a super cheap way to just feel awesome. Since I started running I’ve spent a few bucks on water bottles and of course new shoes (more than a few dollars), but that’s ok because I will never go to a gym. And I honestly I don’t want to waste the money (personally of course).
  3. Running has improved my overall self-esteem. After a good couple of miles outside I come home and just feel incredible. As if I could take on the world. Everything that made me feel sad just goes away and for those brief moments I’m at my happiest.
  4. There are some health factors like reduced risk of heart disease, stress relieving, stronger bones and other benefits, but I have a little longer before I really start worrying about any of that. Sorry mom and dad I should worry more.
This list can be very vast, but I want to stick to why I love it so much.

There is something called a “Runner’s High” and yes, it is very real. It happens when you hit a point during a strenuously activity where you don’t want to stop. The endorphins that are release just make you feel a level of intensity that is very hard to explain. For me, it comes at about the mile mark. I finally find a comfortable stride, my breathing is very controlled and the rush of the wind brushing passed me is like no other feeling. I’m lost in my headphones and can feel every movement my body makes. My feet hitting the ground and adjusting to the messy sidewalks and streets of Providence to my muscles getting tighter with every stride. Honestly, I lose myself for that time and my mind just goes nuts. I can think of everything that is relevant and not relevant at all. I can’t get into detail about what I think about simply because they’re my thoughts and I don’t want to give those up.

Overall, I’m not sure why I stopped running after high school. I had forgotten how good it made me feel. If I were not able to run anymore I’m not really sure how I would handle it. I’d be lost and the thought of losing that feeling of freedom actually scares me. Until then, I run until I can’t run anymore.

Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump


Felt-Like-Running

#1: Make Life a Priority

What does it really mean to “Make Life a Priority”? I mean, do we really know the answer to that question. Recently, I struggled to figure that out. And honestly, I still struggle. I guess it all really comes down to a work-life balance. What does that mean? Basically, it’s a self-determined state of mind and well-being. Someone who demonstrates a proper work-life balance is a person who can set goals and accomplish them while balancing work and personal responsibilities. I for one have failed dramatically at accomplishing an appropriate work-life balance.

To really understand why I failed I’m going to have to open up a little bit. It was just last year that I hit a very low point in my life. I just graduated from college with some pretty awesome honors. My family and friends did nothing but support my every move. And I had (still have) a job that is seriously awesome. But I was still very displeased with myself. I struggled trying to find a job in my major. I went on dozens of job interviews all of which led nowhere. I had set such high expectations for myself that when I failed I stopped caring. I felt as if I let everyone who believed in me down. I drank excessively and the only thing to pull me away from the hatred I was feeling for myself was my job. I worked myself pretty hard pulling constant seventy hour work weeks in a row. I needed the escape and work gave me that. Whenever anyone tried to get close to me I pushed them away. I became a shitty son, brother and friend, but with knowing that I still couldn’t get myself out of a hole. Now you’re probably reading this saying it wasn’t all that bad. Remember I said I was opening up a little bit. Really, I hated myself and the person I was becoming and didn’t know where to turn. Until someone in my life who I least expected said to me “If you ever need to talk, I’m a good listener.”.

Surprisingly enough I took her up on that offer. I finally started talking and opening up to a friend. She helped me understand the person I am and the value I bring to the people around me. If it were not for her I’d still be miserable. I will always appreciate her for believing in me. I still can’t forget about the other awesome people in my life. I am grateful for those who have helped me even when they weren’t aware they were. I had moments of weakness like wanting to give up and move back to NJ. At least there I was safe and could start over again. That was the easy thing to do and I had to prove to myself that I can do great things and be the person who loves what he sees in the mirror. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for awesome people in my life. Seriously. Awesome. People.

Basically, I managed to open up and realize how important it is to care about yourself. Don’t worry about the people around you because if you’re good, they will be too. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes and need time for yourself. And it’s ok to always be yourself. My life is now my number one priority and everything else around me is where it needs to be. For now.

This blog is about getting to awesome. I feel far away from awesome, but I’m getting there.