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For “The Person Who Changed My Life”

As I alluded to in an earlier blog, this week I have been thinking about “The Person Who Changed My Life” after watching this special report from CNN. After watching the program and seeing how and who the anchors mentioned as the people who changed their lives for the better, I have been thinking about how I would answer that question. Initially I had two thoughts. One, I wonder who I would identify. Second, I think the answer is me. Neither of those interviewed gave themselves as answer.

I feel like this is a kind of question where the answer should fly right out of your mouth. I don’t know for sure but it seemed like the anchors I watched didn’t have to think about this at all. I wish I could know what their process was like. But in lieu of that information all I know is how I processed the information.

For instance there are many changes we experience, both bad and good, that turn us into the people we were meant to be. I am assuming they mean this question to be connected to the positive changes in our lives. Even so I don’t have just one answer. I mean how could I? I don’t have one person who could have changed all of the aspects of my life that led me to this particular moment.

Instead I believe my journey since birth has been filled with teachers, mentors, even inspirational strangers that have all done something to change who I was into who I was becoming. I now believe I was right to include myself. After all I do a lot of soul searching and work to get where I want to be and if I wasn’t open enough for change no one around me would get through.

I feel like I can attribute the most significant changes in my life to a series of very specific times in my life. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. Nor are these the only people who are important in my life. But this are the ones I have for sure have led me to this place in my life and the ones that popped right into my head.

First of all there is my college professor, Dr. Sal. College was such a huge change within its self that I could never probably account for how those four years developed within my soul. It was one of the most imperative learning experiences there could ever be. My education, friends, and self-awareness were all simultaneously heightened there. It was also where I met Dr. Sal my own personal “Morrie”. His encouragement never faltered. I took literally every one of his classes always enthralled by his humor mixed into the lesson, the best of which was that we shouldn’t look back only forward. I remain in touch with him to this day.

Next up there is Samantha Brown ( host of the many popular shows on the Travel Channel. She was the first person to show me what traveling around the world could do for you. She opened the whole world up for me while teaching me how to prepare, visit, and conquer it all. Without her guidance I am not sure I would have ever be aware of how much passion I have for travel. She made it all seem possible. It was my great privilege to have met her several times.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert ( has changed many lives through her famous self-journey “Eat, Pray, Love”. While that story definitely resonated with me it was her publication of “Big Magic” last year that provided me with the validation of my life’s work. There will never be a way I can put into words how important those lessons were for me. Ever since I finished the book and went to hear her speak, I have never looked back only forwards to my life as a writer.

Anderson Cooper ( is one of the hosts featured in the CNN special. He is also someone I adore. I have read his memoir and watched him provide me with the news of the day on a regular basis. He is a no nonsense reporter always “keeping them honest”. He has past along one of the greatest pieces of information his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt ever gave him: “Follow Your Bliss”. I have kept that close to my vest ever since. That phrase is pretty much all I ever need to remind me to keep going striving towards the life I imagine.

One of the most important lessons of my life came out of a terrifying time when my loved ones were for fighting for their lives ( Thankfully they are now healthy but that time will always remain imprinted on my heart. Of the many life lessons bestowed by that tough time I vowed to never take anything or anyone for granted. I know how blessed I am and my miracles will always know I celebrate their lives for enriching mine and that their struggles were not in vain.

Last but certainly not least, there is my mother ( Without her there is nothing. No me, no soul. She is the heartbeat of my family and of many members of her expansive family. I may be overly tough on her sometimes but that is because I always want her to be happy at her best. She is the person who showed me how having compassion is a gift within itself. It is not a lesson that can be taught. Giving of myself to those when they are down is second nature to her, and I like to think now of me too.

Though this list is short it is comprehensive. Looking it over I see each of these influential stories within myself as well as in my day-to-day activities. I also see how lucky I am to have more than one person who wanted to shape my life. In order to become the Queen of F-cking Everything I need a steady flow of people in and out of my life showing me the way. EVERYTHING spans the globe so I need a lot of backup.

Perhaps the anchors had more than one person in their lives as well but sharing of all them would have led that program to drone on for days. The point of the show served as an example of how the connections we make every day inspire people in ways we are not aware of. They may not realize how special they are to us. Letting them in on that secret is another one of life’s greatest gifts.

All of these reasons mentioned above are the reasons why I have written blogs about practically all of my “people” and will continue to do so on my journey. I am now eager to see who I will add to this list in the future.

I would also consider it an honor to one day to be featured as a person who changed someone else’s life for the better.

So it appears my initial instinct was right. I do have to count myself among the people who have changed my life. I took the lessons I was showed and incorporated them into who I want to be on any given day.

I had a feeling I would be right, I usually am.

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