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Stories to Tell, Adventures to be Had

By Joshua Kersjes

Everybody has a story. It may bore you to death, or perhaps it may peak your interest to the point that your heart rate increases and your mind travels into the imagination and experiences of the storyteller. I am here to tell you a little story of my post-collegiate adventures. If you think this may bore you, my professional recommendation is that you stop reading right

It all began on December 12, 2016, when I finished that final exam and walked out thinking I would have this awesome feeling of ease and accomplishment. Everybody says this degree from “The” Michigan State University (sorry Ohio State fans) is something to be proud of and is the golden ticket. The reality was that I didn’t feel any different and was asking myself a question that I’ve recently found to be advantageous in all aspects of life: “What now? What is next?” I found myself wanting more! Some may say the pile of debt staring at me is a motivator, but I think it goes deeper than that. I’ll explain why if you’d like to keep reading…

Upon graduation, I did what most proud grads do for their commencement ceremonies: I put on my favorite clothes and went to see my favorite musician perform in Detroit with all my best friends! Everybody does that, right? Obviously, the best way to celebrate success. The good news is I didn’t miss much from Commencement because a few weeks later I had the privilege of President Simon being one of my Playmakers customers, and I was able to hear her inspiring words of motivation and vision for the future firsthand (man, I hope she reads this- thanks for the signature on my piece of paper!) Anyways, back to my story. After the concert, I had to get outside. I am a lover of the outdoors, and if I am cooped up in a building for too long, I naturally get these negative feelings and thoughts coming to me. When I am out in nature and able to move, that is when I feel my strongest. As we drive by the Detroit River on this blistery cold winter night, sweat drying from the heat of the concert venue, I suddenly get the urge to run. My friend stops the car, and we immediately get out and race to the riverbank through a field of snow about 8 inches deep. It is the best feeling I had in a long time, and the river was gorgeous, with mammoth sheets of ice rapidly moving towards and away from us. One word came to mind: majestic. It was at this moment, I knew 2017 and the years to follow were going to be different. It was my time. Oh, and I mentally committed to running the 2017 Detroit Half Marathon to take in more of this view and do what makes me feel strong- be out in nature and run!

Not all of you are runners, so don’t get disheartened by my story. I encourage you to find what makes you feel the majestic side of nature, whether that be a freezing cold night in the D or a barefoot run down the beach with a gentle breeze tossing your hair and the sunset dropping into the ocean beside you (#nofilter). Alright, back to my story because this is my blog post, right? No, this is for YOU, the reader. The one out there looking for more. Why else would you read posts from crazy Playmakers staff and running enthusiasts? You’re here for a reason. Let’s get back into it…

A couple weeks after the concert and abruptly after spending Christmas with my family, I took off on the wildest adventure to my name so far. I picked up a bag and headed to Guatemala with a group of my closest friends. Our goal was to learn about nonprofit work, help a family start a small business to create exceptional results that are sustainable, meet awesome people that may look at us funny, and take in some new scenery. I can honestly say I was able to check all of these things off the list. For me, the best and most efficient way to take in new scenery is by running. You can cover more ground, say hi to more people, run with more stray dogs, climb more hills and mountains, and get to the views not many people know about. Plus, you can purposely get lost, so that you don’t mentally cheat yourself out of doing a few extra miles of exploration (just stretch and hydrate well before and after).

The third leg of my adventure came in late January, when I made an expedition out to San Diego and Los Angeles. I felt spoiled running in two warmer climates to total about 3 weeks of avoiding the Michigan weather, if you can even categorize MI weather. There was a place called Sunset Cliffs that stole my heart, as well as my heartbeat, as I scurried faster than I should have over dirt , sand, and rock ridges and cliffs that overlooked the Pacific. I was literally living (and running) on the edge. The adrenaline rush propelled me through faster miles and a longer run than I had planned, but it was all well worth it. When you get to extraordinary places, there are exceptional rules in my book. In addition to my running adventures, I went to an extremely motivating seminar by a professional speaker and personal coach named Mary Morrissey. Her advice hit home for me. I definitely felt that I was in the right place at the right time. She had a few tips in her “toolbox” that I’d love to leave with you all today. As you read these, keep in mind my journeys to get there, and my position as a recent college grad, pursuing his purpose and place in the world. Then, please take a moment and think about how you can apply them to your dreams, goals, desires, and aspirations for fulfillment:

  1. What gives you life?

    1. What lights you up, makes you feel light, makes you feel true bliss?

  2. Notice what you are noticing

    1. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual; notice your longings and discontents

    2. Where can you make improvements in the areas that you are noticing to not be where you want them?

  3. What would I love?

    1. I feel that we don’t have enough time on this earth to be doing things we don’t enjoy. This doesn’t mean quit your job and stop working, but do work that is meaningful to you and that helps others along the way

  4. What could you do, where you are, with what you have?

    1. Put circumstances and conditions and limiting beliefs aside and take action now!

      1. “A  good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week” -George S. Patton


Keep asking yourself these questions until you have answered them to your contentment. The result WILL be your dream. Now do yourself a favor and go live it.
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