Apologies to every journalism mentor I have ever had. I will be using "I" a lot. I am making myself the story, but I hope that you can see yourself in some of these reasons.
New Friends: A couple of months ago I received this DM: "Who are you??" Thinking back on it, that is the million dollar question I ask myself every day. Still, I answered. I told her who I was, and you'd be shocked to know how even though we did not know each other, there was a strong personal connection that surprised me. That interaction led to a new friendship where I personally have learned so much from her. She is not the only one. I can think of a new friend in the Dallas area who has recommended new books that made her think of me. I can think of other people who have listened to my story. How lucky I am.
Old Friends: One fun thing about spending time in your old hometown is reconnecting with your old friends. At times, it is surprising to me that it has been 9 years since I have lived in San Angelo full time. I see people who I grew up with have families. I have seen people I have grown up with have professional lives that are exciting. In a lot of ways, I am jealous of them. In more ways, I am proud of them. Now, if I can gain the courage to tell all of them this in person.
Sports: When I was younger, I loved sports too much. With work, it took a back seat to that. However with more free time, I have been able to enjoy sports like when I was younger. As I've grown older, I am very glad for perspective and knowledge that comes with life. Part of that is enjoying sports but not making it an identity that it once was for me.
I like the cowboys. I hope they win later today, but no longer is it life and death if they do.
I like the spurs. They won't win for a long time.
I like the astros. I used to get upset at an Albert Pujols homerun or accusations of cheating, but now? I am just happy they are world series champions.
Wally and Coco: When I first came back from New York, I was in bad shape. Around that time, my parents were looking for a new dog. We have a dear family friend who does great work promoting a local pet shelter, and she connected them with a dog named Wally.
Wally at that time was nervous and shy. He had a great foster mom, but was untrusting of men. My parents adopted him. He even escaped our house. In this safe space, I will admit to accidentally leaving the door open in which he used to make his prison break. He was gone for a whole day. He eventually was found, but, wow, he was street smart to survive that time alone.
The two of us spent a LOT of time together. I was able to gain his trust and he gained mine. We have a bond. We love watching tv together. He waits at my bedroom door at night. And he is slowly forgiving me for getting his bigger, younger sister, Coco.
I saw Coco on this shelter's website. At that time, I knew I wanted her. Coco is the absolute opposite in every way of Wally.
I call her my tomboy. She loves to play and cuddle. She is a chocolate lab, but thinks she is a lap dog. While they do not get along yet, I am confident they will respect each other and realize that I love both equally. Short term, I am excited about both of their baths this coming Saturday, if only, because one will be wearing a bow-tie and another a bow.
Angelo State: I did not go to Angelo State for undergrad. When I tell people on campus that, I think I am being quick-witted by saying that I am the black sheep of the family for not doing so. Still, in an effort to give back to my community and also heal from big city life, I have thrown myself into helping this university as much as I can for however long I am here.
I grew up going to games at the CHP and watching sports teams under coaches like Vandergriff, Esposito, Beard and Walling Brooks. Now, I root for student-athletes, of course, but have more in common with coaches. Of those, I am a big fan of all of the current ones but especially of Waddington and Patel.
I have also kept up on the pulse of campus by reading the Ram Page, the student newspaper on campus. The only thing I can say is wow, I am impressed by what a gem of a school we have in ole San Angelo. I'm so impressed with students I have talked to or tried to steer in right direction. Now if I can convince other people in the state to stop calling it San Angelo State.
My mentors: I have so many, but I'd like to talk about a few. First, there is the man I have called G-Dad. He has helped me so much just by humoring me by listening to my subpar business ideas. He has built a legacy that I eventually want to emulate, but he also has gone out of his way to mentor me in more ways than I can imagine. I told him as much yesterday.
There is also the New York based media executive. Someone who has helped me immensely just by listening to my ideas or liking a post of mine on instagram. She has recovered from something much more serious than I ever had. That is what first drew me to her. However, getting to know her only a little bit more, I've been blown away with her as a person. She probably doesn't know that I have started to listen to a great sports podcast called Podcast by Committee. You should listen to it, too. When I think of potential new career moves, I ask myself W.W.B.D. I also want to get her family down to experience the real Friday Night Lights like this central game from 2016.
Then there is my old friend from New York who is actually younger than me. She is extremely succesful in her own right. And I consider myself so lucky that she has given me invaluable advice even if it was blunt like when she told me I was being prideful in a video I shared with her last week.
Lastly, there is my old mentor from 2014. He is a city manager. He made up an internship for me then. And he has also given me invaluable insight every time I've needed it including the meeting we had in his office yesterday.
My Family: This will be shorter than other entries mainly because I'd rather keep this private. I have told them as much, but, wow, I lucked out with a good one. We may annoy each other a lot. We may argue the merits of whether or not to use Caps Lock in typing. (To be clear, never ever write in all caps. This isn't a journalism thing, but rather a common decency one. Trust me. It also can make our family look bad on Facebook.) The family has seen me at my best but mostly at my worst. When I am at my lowest, they cajole me to hang out with them. When I'm at my highest, they check me on that, too. How cool is that?
Those are my reasons, and I'm sure y'all have yours. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. And I hope that the Cowboys win today.