Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Motivational Meanderings--Carol Stack

Ever get a quote stuck in your head?

Ever memorize a quote the first time you heard it?

Ever keep the quote in your memory so much that you can still quote it 20 years later?

I have.

The funny thing is, I still remember the place where I first heard the quote that plays over in my head frequently.

"If going through life and you find yourself lost, go back to the last place you knew who you were and what you were doing and start there." (Carol Stack)

As a 19 year old, I sat in the lecture hall at Appalachian State University for a required lecture. (We had so many we had to attend per semester for different classes. We had to scan our name badges in so that they would know we attended.)

Anyways, this was a required lecture for my Social Studies class. I was sitting the lecture hall about 1/2 way between the front row and the back. I was also sitting in the middle of the row.  So I was almost "dead center" of the lecture hall.

The man who did the introduction wasn't someone I knew, not one of my professors. He introduced the speaker as Ms. Carol Stack. She walked to the podium, and that quote was the FIRST thing she said.

I started feverishly writing it down. Then, she repeated it two more times. By the time she was on her third time saying it, I was finished writing and I was making sure all my words were correct.

That quote has helped me a lot in the last 20 years. I even, at one point, printed it up with a cute border and hung it on the wall of my dorm rooms at UNCC and UNCG. It has been my favorite quote for years now.

It's so true.

We get lost so many times in life. We make decisions that lead us on paths that we never thought we'd be on. We end up in situations where we just don't know what to do. Sometimes, through the chaos, we forget who we are.

I have been there. Many times.

Too. Many. Times.

I have gotten to a place where I couldn't remember who I was. So, I have had to go back and try to figure out how I got there.

Not long after I heard Ms. Stack speak at ASU, the semester ended, I came home for summer break, and I ended up not returning for the following year.

That was one of the most devastating decisions I have ever made. Sometimes, I play the "What If" game with that one!

I was at ASU as a Music Education major. When I came home, I attended RCCC for a couple years before I decided to transfer to another 4 year university. During those years, I felt lost. The last place that I had felt at home, like I knew what I was doing, like I knew who I really was, was in the band room.

On many occasions, I would go visit my former band directors at Concord High School. I'd talk to them. I'd play the instruments. I'd regain my focus.

There are days, still now, that I wish I could still go back there to refocus myself.

That was 20 years ago, but there are still days that I don't really know who I am. Days where the last time I remember being free to be me was in the band room. Days where I'd love to walk through those doors and be the 18 year old girl again who was carefree and loved to make/create music.

There are days when I have to go back there in my memory so that I can refocus and remember who I am right now.

There are days I have to remember the words that Carol Stack said to us in that lecture hall 20 years ago.

Most importantly, there are days when I have to find a way to truly love the person I've become. Sometimes those days are hard. Sometimes, they are easier. Luckily, they aren't very frequent.

Have you ever had a quote that got stuck in your head?  What are your words to live by?

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