Somewhere in the midst of running around like a moron with a tuba in swamps, deserts, and uneven terrain, sleeping on disgustingly hot buses long into the muggy nights, and sharing the love with thousands of people each night, I began to understand why I bought into all of this ridiculous drum corps nonsense. Nothing else I will ever do with my life could have taught me the things I learned from this summer:
–Kazoo parades are lots of fun. Unless you play tuba.
–It is wise to be both kind and free-thinking. Not everyone else will be nice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be. Be a friend to those that the others overlooked.
–If fear doesn’t go away, you learn to deal with it. Real bravery is doing what you have to do when you’re scared shitless.
–Growing up isn’t about settling for less than you deserve. If you want to grow up, and you know what you want with your life, you’d better fight for it with all you’ve got.
–Never underestimate the power, significance, and shocking offensiveness of pelvic-thrusting.
–Don’t be afraid to trust, even when you’ve been hurt before.
—The more you care for people, the more terrible, and beautiful, it is to be torn away. Never hesitate to care for people, because no matter how much it hurts to leave, it was worth everything.
–When you tell someone what they mean to you, you change their life forever.
–The best feeling of all is to know that you are valued and loved. Never forget that you have the power to help others feel the same way.
–There is a fine line between pretending to be bird-watching and just pretending to be high.
–DCI can give me any score they please but they can never take away my standing ovations, never scrub the glowing smiles from my face, never silence the 4 year olds humming along to Land of Make Believe, never choke off the laughter of the crowd.
–When the special yellow people are behind you, there isn’t a stadium you can’t rock, a heart you can’t capture, a dream you can’t dream.
–Always do the right thing, even if it makes you cry.
–The best way to hug tall people is to scale them like a tree until you’re at eye level and hold on tight.
–My most joyous memories will be part of me forever, and in times of darkness remembering them will make me stronger. Because the days when you are so happy and full of love that you might burst, those days weren’t just a dream; they were real and you deserved to feel that way. Never forget that you always deserve happiness.
–You perform the same show, whether there are 2 people in the audience or 20,000.
–Some people don’t need banana sticks.
–Love is something you feel, and as soon as you feel it, you can share it. And the more you can spread it, the brighter the sky is when you wake up, the more stars you see when you go to bed. The more mellow the afternoon sun, the clearer the rain. And you just might turn the world around, in a better way.
–The end—is only the beginning.
Thank you, Jersey Surf, for the happiest, most amazing summer of my existence. Because of my time here, I am learning to live life better.