The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Brutal reality checks and resolutions


Weight loss and anti-aging face cream commercials filled television screens on New Year’s Day. Gyms lowered their prices and membership sales skyrocketed. It must be New Year’s Resolution time.

With some rebellion, I find myself creating New Year’s resolutions for myself. I feel a sense of urgency to shake off the old and start new. I am not saying that the idea of improving my life is a bad thing. I just wish that I could create this sense of urgency throughout the whole year.

The two events that create big changes in my life are a new year and the death of someone in my life.

While others fret over their waistlines and wrinkles, I began this New Year thinking about a boy who was in my second grade class named Nathan Harvey-Bailey. Our class was taught by my mother, Linda Kelleher, and included many great people such as his future wife, Jennifer Kinton.

“Nathan did not have a mean bone in his body,” said my mother. “He was rough and tough but he was the sweetest boy.”

On Jan. 8, my mom and I walked down the school driveway, tissues in hand. Nathan died at the beginning of this year and we were walking to his Memorial Service. The service was packed with people from all stages of his life.

Nathan is forever a kid in my mind because I did not spend time with him in my adult life. He is the kid that approached life with curiosity, excitement and no fear.

As I listen to the stories of Nathan as an adult, it appears that he remained the same kindhearted boy I knew him as, but he also found a deep love for cooking.

The reality of Nathan’s death, reminded me of another person who lived life to the fullest and how much of a waste it is to wait until a new year to create resolutions in my life.

While working as a massage therapist I had a teacher, Isa. She insisted that we always started her home-taught class with a cup of the best Italian coffee, a habit she picked up during her time as an opera singer. There was never a dull moment around her and I looked forward to my time with her every week.

One particular Tuesday, I left her house and she called me on my way home.

“Oh my God, Terah,” said Isa. “I left the bathroom a total mess. I had to blow dry my hair and the sockets in my back bathroom were not working!”

I did something I always did with Isa — I laughed. I remember saying her bathroom looked fine and that I looked forward to seeing her on Tuesday.

Isa died in a car accident that Saturday. Who knew a conversation that involved a bathroom would be my last with Isa?

Up to this point, I had big dreams, but I kept saying that “I’ll do that next year.” After her death, I quit my job, traveled, and figured out that I wanted to go back to school.

In Nathan’s service, I received another brutal reality-check reminding me not wait until the ball drops next year to improve my life. Isa and Nathan had so much in common. They each found an art form they enjoyed and made it their lives work.  They taught me to concentrate on the things that truly matter in life and let the frivolous things fall to the wayside.

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