Thank you to everyone that has followed American Life Today to learn about a new American each day in 2009. It was a fun project for me to do and I am thankful that you took the time to tell the world about yourself.
I am now writing about my travels and life on my blog HERE. I hope you come along!
Name: Elyse Age:25 Sign: Scorpio I grew up in: New York City I currently live in: Sunnyside, NYC Occupation: Associate Editor at the ASPCA and mom of 2 You can find me: singing karaoke with good friends You will never find me: at a car show Your website or Charity you are passionate about: www.aspca.org
1.)What is your dream job? To do missionary work around the world with my family.
2.)What are you most proud of? My two beautiful children and the progress my special needs son has made
3.)What has been your greatest loss in life? The loss of free time!
4.)Who would you like to meet? Antonio Banderas
5.)What is the hardest part of your day? What is the best part of your day? The hardest part is working and taking care of my baby at the same time. The best part is the evening, when the family can plop on the couch and relax.
Name: Tony Age: 35 Sign: Aquarius I grew up in: Safety Harbor & Clearwater, FL I currently live in: Hollywood, CA Occupation: Account Manager, similar to a Project Manager, in a sales/advertising agency You can find me: email@example.com You will me never find me: actively involved in a church ever again Your website or Charity you are passionate about: http://www.tonynryner.com/ (Note: there is no current content as I'm designing the site, but stay tuned!)
1) What gets you out of bed each day? The desire to improve upon the previous day, not only my actions and motivations, but the immediate world around me. I firmly believe that we all have the capacity and tenacity to improve the world, the way people are perceived and respected, and the reality awaiting our children, young family members and friends. The only thing that limits what we can accomplish in our life and this world is selling ourselves short of our potential.
2) What life experience has strengthened you the most? Being ostracized from the church I was raised in and dedicated seventeen years of my life too. Some may think that being forcefully removed from a reality that nearly two decades were devoted to would be too traumatic to overcome. However in my case it forced me away from the numbing "comfort zone" of my prior life and invited me to embrace who I truly was and take charge of where I was I going. Anger, pain and regret, which were natural emotions I felt after being ostracized, in time were replaced with hope, confidence and gratitude. I encourage anyone to ponder on their immediate world and ask if its helping or holding you back from who you want to be.
3) What would you change about yourself? Procrastination. My procrastination is not fueled by laziness or lack of motivation but rather a lingering fear that I won't be completely successful in all that I do. In time and maturity I've shifted away from being a perfectionist to somewhat more realistic. With that said, when I choose to take on a new venture (occupation, friendship, hobby, etc.), I struggle with procrastination, which stalls how quickly I enter the venture or the amount of energy I exert. Fortunately though I do remind myself of the rewards of not standing still in life, so eventually I get my butt in gear!
4) Describe the landscape of the place you grew up. How did that landscape affect you? I grew up in a relatively small town in central Florida, Safety Harbor. As much of Florida, Safety Harbor had access to beaches (I spent the majority of my high school years at Clearwater Beach) and outdoor exercise (beach volleyball was my kick then, though I've never been an overly athletic person). The tree-lined streets, lazy afternoons and eclectic residents of Safety Harbor managed to give me a sense of protection from the ever-evolving, complicated family dynamic in my youth. Being raised in that town provoked me to seek amusement and mental stimulation as the town at the time didn't offer a variety of things to spent my time on. In that environment I grew to appreciate and develop my artistic side. Also I fought against my social awkwardness, ultimately wanting to be seen for myself and not seen as part of the town's unmoving scenery. I've returned to Safety Harbor, driving through it while visiting family in other parts of Florida. Though its "downtown" has developed and a large resort & spa (founded on 2,000 year old mineral springs) rests along its edge, its still that small town where an awkward boy grew out of his extra body weight and social phobias.
5) What is your most prized possession? Though we are all material-minded to some degree, for the most part I strive not to get too sentimentally attached to physical items. My basic reasoning for that is because a physical item can be lost, destroyed or taken and avoiding the impending disappointment and frustration can't be a bad thing. With that said, I have a ring given to me by my grandmother (father's mother) that has found a special place in my heart. The ring was given to her by her aunt who once owned a bar and the ring was left behind by a patron. The ring itself is silver and simple, void of complex etchings and gems. The ring doesn't even fit me, including my pinkie fingers. At times I've worn the ring on a chain around my neck and at other times on a key ring. Since the ring doesn't have family history beyond my grandmother's aunt, as the ring's owner was a stranger, it reminds me that all things happen for a reason. My grandmother's aunt gave it to her, not because it had monetary value, but because she simply thought she'd appreciate it. My grandmother gave the ring to me out of the same motivation, thinking I'd appreciate it. I'll never stop being amazed at how much someone can touch another person's life, simply by doing small things solely to put a small on their face.
Name: Stephen "Satyr" Age:40 Sign:SAgicorn---born on winter solstice; the cusp I grew up in: ports cities of the Gulf Coast---Dad was a merchant marine I currently live in:Chico, CA Occupation:RN- Trauma Nurse You can find me:@ Duffy's, the Naked Lounge, John Muir Med Ctr in Walnut Creek, CA, biking in Bidwell PArk You will never find me: Hanging with plastic, superficial people or ever living in the South (ever again)
1.) Do you love what you do? Why? Burningman. It's been one of the most cathartic experiences I've ever had and continue to have---7 consecutive years and counting
2.) What are you most proud of? My son---he's 10. It's been just the 2 of us for the last 8 years and he's pretty incredible. He is the best I've ever done
3.) What life experience has strengthened you the most? Being a single parent
4.) Who has been the most influential person in your life? My dad. I miss him.
5.) What would you want to change about yourself? I was raised in a very conservative family. I've long since shed prejudices and biases. My views are pretty liberal, but with strong family tradition. I strive to be more laid-back and go with the flow.
Name: Kirstin Age: 24 Sign: Aquarius I grew up in: Sandpoint, Idaho I currently live in: Spokane, Washington Occupation: dental hygienist...soon to be student...again! :) You can find me: playing outside w/my dog, relaxing with my loved ones, shopping, or cooking! You will never find me: eating meat. Your website or Charity you are passionate about: www.peta.org
1. Who or what inspires you? Music is my inspiration engine. Great music motivates me, drives me, and moves me. The "who" would be my dog Jax, who reminds me on a daily basis that it's the simple things in life that count~ to love unconditionally, take naps and don't even feel bad about it because it was time well spent (things like that)...He really does bring out the best in me :)
2. What are you most proud of? I'm definitely proud of being a 24 year old independent woman. I always pictured myself married at this point in my life. I'm proud to say I'm not there and perfectly content. I'm proud to have graduated college, landed a career, and started a life all my own :) It's pretty liberating!
3. What has been your greatest loss in life? I consider myself lucky in that nothing comes to mind...I really live by the saying that everything happens for a reason...
4. Who would you like to meet? I would love to meet the Obamas and have dinner with their family...Abe Lincoln, see what he'd have to say about where our nation is at right now...Betty and Ellen Degenerous, Natalie Portman~ my favorite actress :)
5. What is the hardest part of your day? What is the best part of your day? The hardest part of my day is leaving for work, because my puppy knows from the moment I put on my work shoes that I'm leaving him. The sadness in his eyes just breaks my heart. Sooo, it probably goes without saying that the best part of my day is returning to him! It's tied with seeing my love Michelle and spending time with her~ The best greeting after work is when they're both awaiting my arrival :)
Name: Eric Age: 25 Sign: Cancer Occupation: I currently attend MSU, serve in the National Guard, and labor for DCI Contracting. I grew up in: Charlotte Michigan a.k.a. Chartucky or C-Town I currently live in: Lansing Michigan but will be moving to my home state of Texas in a few short weeks. Each move appears to be a better step in the right direction. You can find me: On a boat fishing, in the woods hunting, at a concert, at a club flailing my body like white people do, in my yard playing horshoes, or in the house relaxing. You will never find me: Wishing to be in somebody else's shoes, the path I have traveled to get here is the one I am supposed to be on and learn from. Your website or Charity you are passionate about: Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have a few friends who have sponsored a little brother. Last year I went sledding with my friend Chris and his little brother; it was good times. It would be nice to sponsor a little bro, buy him junk food, and challenge him to a mighty game of guitar hero. There were times when I was younger when I wish somebody would have gotten me out of the home environment for a few hours.
1.) Who or what inspires you? My true inspiration in life right now is to become more spiritual and to accept what the world has to offer. I'm sort of inspired by the thought of owning a store which sells jerky processing equipment, but it seems a bit grandiose for the time being. 2.) What is difficult for you? Many things are difficult for me, isn't thats why its called life. I am truly thankful for my friends and family. They are the ones who listen when I need somebody to talk to and give me guidance when I don't have the answers. The most current difficult thing for me is leaving my comfort zone in Michigan and moving to Texas. Not only will I leave family and friends behind, but I will leave behind all my good hunting/fishing spots.
3.) What is your biggest regret? I try to think I live without regrets or rather that I have accepted my past, but I do regret to some degree that I never wrestled in college.
4.) What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my ability to take responsibility for my actions. I comprehend that perfection is not a humanistic trait, therefore, the best thing I can do is admit it when I am wrong and try to make things right.
5.) What do you want to do before you die? I don't mean to be boring, but I would be nice to raise a healthy family and have children that think of me as a true friend. Plus, I'd like to win the lottery and go base jumping; not in that particular order.
First Name: Alicia Age: 31 Sign: Capricorn I grew up in: Centerville, Ohio I currently live in: Centerville, Ohio Occupation: Fitness Instructor & Tutor You can find me: where there is music You will never find me: tight rope walking Your website or Charity you are passionate about: www. standup2cancer. org and www. aspca. org
1.) What (person, goal, dream) gets you out of bed each day? My dog, goal of writing, dream of finishing a screenplay.
2.) What life experience has strengthened you the most? The death of my dad taught me life isn't about material things but the connections you make with people while you're here.
3.) What would you want to change about yourself? Not to be so shy.
4.) What do you want to do before you die? Sell a screenplay, travel, drive an Indy car, learn a choreographed dance from Wade Robson, sing with Gwen Stefani, and play the guitar.
5.) What is your most prized possession? family, friends, dog and my music collection.
First Name: My name is Andrea Age: Ain't nothin' but a numba. I'm 43. Sign: Capricorn. We rule the planet!!!! I grew up in: Bakersfield, CA. The Nashville of the west and very conservative. I left as soon as I could... I currently live in: West Hollywood, CA Occupation: Was an Associate Media Director at an advertising agency, but was laid off due to the economy. Now I'm relaxing and seeing where the wind blows me next. You can find me: Traveling. If you can catch me... You will never find me: At the republican convention, a conservative church or a chocolate factory (can't stand the taste or smell of chocolate, but if it was Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, that would be a different story... Fizzy lifting drinks??? I'm so in...) Your website or Charity you are passionate about: AIDS research will always be close to my heart. I've lost over 40 friends over the last 20 years - all of my boys are gone. Also animal rescue. mollysmuttsandmeows.org
1.) Who or what Inspires you? Travel. I want to see the entire world with my own eyes.
2.) What would you want to change about yourself? I'd have my breasts removed and I'd grow a couple of inches...
3.) What is your most prized possession? Her name was Daisy. The sweetest and best dog on the planet. I suppose she possessed me, though. Wonderful girl. I miss her.
4.) Who has been the most influential person in your life? My Grandmother is my hero. She was a BAD ASS. Her husband left her with two infants and her mother to take care of in the 1940's. And she did it, man. I have her Sheriffs badge tattooed on my back. She was strong, funny and the EPITOME of cool.
5.) How do you want to be remembered? As the lesbian Valentino. Yet again, I'm kidding. Seriously. As a compassionate, funny, BAD ASS who was the epitome of whatever. Oh, and the best hugger on the planet.
First Name: Jennifer Age:34 Sign:Gemini I grew up in:The Outdoors I currently live in:The mountains above Boulder, Colorado Occupation:Dog Trainer, Wolf Handler, Animal Behavior Expert, Conservationist, Researcher, Inventor of new approaches and ideas to work with animals... You can find me:Somewhere in the western United States You will never find me:Without My Dogs Your website or Charity you are passionate about:www.jmdogtraining.com
1.) Who or what Inspires you? My inspiration comes from nature, ecology and animals.
2.) What would you want to change about yourself? the fact that I am such a loner at times.
3.) What is your most prized possession? My Jeep
4.) Who has been the most influential person in your life? My parents. They both grew up very poor and became very successful. My Mom influenced and taught me so much about animals at a young age and my father has taught me many things about business. I have great respect for them and am grateful to have them in my life.
5.) How do you want to be remembered? I hope I will be remembered as someone who made a difference. I do what I do because of my four legged friends- if I can only give to them half of what they have given to me, I will feel successful.
Name: Colleen Age:25 Sign:Capricorn I grew up in: All over Orange County I currently live in: Seal Beach Occupation: Hairstylist You can find me: At home, at the salon, or walking down main st. seal beach with my husband and a coffee in my hand. You will never find me: hunting animals Your website or Charity you are passionate about: my website (myspace)
1.) What is your lifelong dream? To live in a beautiful home on the beach, have a couple of little ones, own successful businesses, and be able to do what we want!!!
2.) What are you passionate about? I'd love to rescue animals in need of good homes, maybe someday when I have the space, time, and money!!
3.) How do you measure success? Achieving all of my goals I set for myself.
4.) What has been your greatest achievement? Marrying not just a great guy but my best friend and being a hairstylist which is a great achievement because I am doing something I enjoy and love!
5.) Is there something you would do differently if you could go back in time? I would have never used credit cards to pay for things, I would have done the sensible thing and payed cash or saved up!!! I should have listened to my parents...
Americans You Will Meet In 2009 - We want to meet YOU!
Share YOUR story today.
American Life Today.com is featuring a profile of an American every day in 2009, asking each indivdual 5 different questions about their life.
We want to know about YOU!
YOUR Life, in YOUR words.
If you would like to participate, please answer the questions below, copy your answers to the body of an email and send it along with a picture of yourself to: AmericanLifeToday@gmail.com
Name: Age: Sign: Occupation: I grew up in: I currently live in: You can find me: You will never find me: Your website or Charity you are passionate about: 1.) What are you passionate about? 2.) What are you most proud of? 3.) Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why? 4.) What is difficult for you? 5.) Who would you like to meet?
I quit my job in corporate America to experience life unleashed. My dog, Max and I are living on the road in a van and wandering the country.
I'm taking portraits of the people I come across as well as photographs of interesting things I see along the way.
Thank you for following us on our adventure.
In May, I embarked on my dream adventure. I went out on the open road to seek answers within myself. I wanted a change. I wanted to learn more about who I am, reflect on where I have been, and figure out where I am going. I saw some amazing places. I met some wonderful people. Throughout this journey, I kept reflecting on what’s really important in this lifetime.
For me, it’s the people that have crossed my path in life and who are in it today. Not only the loved ones I’ve lost, but the ones I’ve set out to meet and the ones I happen to come across by chance. I love the everyday “American Story.” Everyone has dreams, goals, disappointments, and significant moments that have changed the direction of their life. I want to know what they are. I want to know what moves you. How did you get to where you are today? What’s your life story?
The next part of my journey is finding you. One personal story for each day. There is always something to learn from others. Who has touched your life and why? Is there someone you know of that I should feature? How about yourself? What was the most significant moment in your life that brought you to where you are today?
As I continue to travel, I want to introduce you to the men and women of this country. I am looking forward to this next chapter. Stay tuned for more…
Tell Us What You Think...
We would love to hear from you! Let us know what you think about the site, the Americans listed, or what you would like to see on the site that is missing. Email: AmericanLifeToday@gmail.com
Favorite American Profiles
Below are a few Americans that you commented most on. Click on their picture to learn more about them.
"Success Is Contentment"
"Health Is All I Care To Possess"
"Proudly Stating Who I am Everyday"
"My Mother Was the Greatest Teacher In Life"
"You Will Never Find Me On A Reality Show"
"Meeting Life On My Own Terms"
"I Am Inspired By Those Who Do, Rather Than Talk"
"Creating Magic Online"
"The Traveling Surfer"
"Being Free To Breathe"
National Day Of Listening
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Listen to American Lives on StoryCorps
Click on a story to listen.
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AmericanLifeToday.com is not affiliated with the show, but wanted to offer another place where you can meet your fellow Americans.
Americans You Will Meet In 2009
Thank you for visiting AmericanLifeToday.com I hope that you become a follower to the site to meet and learn from other Americans. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at AmericanLifeToday@gmail.com