As the 2010s wrap up and the 2020s are ushered in, I want to take some time to reflect on the past decade of my life. It was 10 years full of joy, sorrow, and growth for me.
I kicked off 2010 by winning a trip to New York City and Washington, D.C. It was my first time ever in The Big Apple and it was a blast, despite not being there for long. I was able to walk around Times Square, attend a performance of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical before Hamilton, and see many of the great landmarks around town. It is a trip I will never forget.
I graduated high school and began my undergrad at N.C. State. At the time, attending UNC-Chapel Hill was my lifelong dream. I was ultimately denied admission despite stellar grades, accolades I earned, and being a legacy student (my maternal grandmother was an alumnae). I was devastated that I did not get in, but turned the page to N.C. State. Funny thing is, I did not get into my first choice of major programs either. My first choice was CHASS (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) but I was accepted into CNR (College of Natural Resources) and the sport management program.
As I navigated through my undergrad years in Raleigh, I became more and more thankful to God that I was a member of the Wolfpack. My mom told me then – and still mentions it from time to time now – that God slammed the door shut on UNC and opened it wide at N.C. State. I did not know why he did at that moment but I do now. Today, I can comfortably say my thankfulness for this is bursting at the seams.
N.C. State brought along some new friends and some truly incredible experiences as well. From having FIFA competitions with the roommates – and schooling all of them in it. To those late night Howling Cow Ice Cream runs. To seeing President Obama speak at Reynolds Coliseum; Facebook Co-Founder, Chris Hughes, hold a very interesting lecture on media; and meeting J.B. Bernstein.
Fast forward to December 2014, when I graduated from N.C. State with a B.S. in Sport Management and a Minor in Journalism. Sheesh, those four-and-a-half years flew by. As I still really did not know what to do with my life at this point, I decided to take a year off to focus on that very thing. I will get to that a minute.
The 2010s were a time of grief for me as well. I lost three grandparents and my dad to various ailments in this timeframe. Beginning with my maternal grandmother freshman year of college. Then my paternal grandfather soon after. Then my paternal grandmother and dad about four years ago. I knew the day would come but I never prepared myself for it. How could I, anyway? But I had to pick up the pieces and press on. I still miss them everyday. Even my dad, with whom I did not have the best relationship at times.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how I made some new friends, lost some friends, and reconnected with some others along the way. Whether at N.C. State, work, or otherwise. I’m grateful for the friends I have in my life at this time, who don’t just contact me when they need a favor – or don’t contact me at all – even when I reach out. You know who you are.
Most of all, this decade has been one of growth for me. I had no idea what I was doing when I graduated high school and entered adulthood. Hell, I still do not now. Everyday is a learning opportunity for me. Although I can say I have grown and matured throughout the years and am not the same ‘ol, socially anxious Chris as I used to be.
There are two areas in particular that I can truly pride myself on. One of those is getting a job with the Durham Bulls. I did not know anyone and also did not have a connection there to save my life. I just went into the organization’s job fair in 2016, also dealing with my grandmother (dad’s mom) being diagnosed with cancer. I proceeded to sit through what is still the easiest interview ever. I swear it took longer to get to the job fair and park than it did to interview for the job I wanted.
I did not know one person my first season and was pretty darn nervous. The folks there – many of whom are still with us now – took me in like I had been working there for years. I can say that I have made a lot of new friends and met countless people and dignitaries. I was also affectionately called “the tits” by (former) Carolina Hurricane Calvin deHaan and considered part of the “dream team” working guest services. Plus, I have some Employee of the Month/Year as well as Back-To-Back Governors’ Cup and Triple-A National Championship hardware to boot!
The second is my weight. I weighed 195 lbs at my heaviest point. Wearing size x-large shirts and size 38 pants. In 2019, I have trimmed down to the 160 lb. range, size medium shirts, and size 32 pants! I never thought I would fit into a medium shirt in my adult life. Ever. Just take a look at this comparison picture from 2017 and 2019 to see the difference.
As a new decade is on the horizon, I hope that I continue to grow in many different facets of life. My prayer is that you will head into 2020 refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to go do whatever you set out to achieve. I know it sounds cliché but chase your dreams. Pitch that idea you’ve been keeping to yourself. Dare yourself to try something new. I plan to do that as well.
Last but certainly not least, thank you for reading this blog. Whether you have been here since the beginning in 2008 or joined last week, I appreciate each and every one of you.
Much love. 👊🏼♥️