Megann Becker


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Where did that month go?

Where the hell have I been for the past month?!

It’s quite a paradox actually—the times when I’m out having the most adventures, is exactly when I don’t have time to sit down and write about them. But I’ve found a moment, so here’s a little teaser of stories to come.

There’s been a birthday celebration for my mama, I was given the gift of time—to stop and welcome new life into this world, I was asked to be a godmother, I danced my ass off at a rockabilly 50’s night, I dressed to the nine’s for said event, I’ve kept some exciting projects moving forward, met oodles of new friends and interesting souls, became a certified yoga instructor for children, signed up for swing dance lessons, I rode a motorcycle (and didn’t burn my leg this time), found some new scenes with live music, attempted to climb to the rooftop of a building and freaked out halfway up–guess maybe I am afraid of heights, began a children’s book with a dear friend, started classes at Second City Theater (a true dream of mine), had a photoshoot, drank the best michelada of my entire life, and was personally serenaded by a mariachi band.

I vow to keep the adventures rolling AND the posts coming.

I saw the following quote and it really resonated with me. I hope some of you are inspired by it—I’ve find it to be incredibly true over the past year. (That story is coming too!)

 

 

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Do you own this path, sir?

To the cyclist at the Chicago lakefront,

While bicycling the other day you rode up behind two 4 yr. olds learning how to ride scooters. They, like you, were enjoying what was the first nice weather in months. You could have done what any number of people had done already– smile, encourage, reminisce, walk around. Instead you chose to yell at them and myself, “Get your fucking kids off the pathway.”

I want to thank you for creating such a perfect teaching moment.
We did not, in fact, get off the pathway as you had suggested.
We instead stayed an extra hour, becauuuuuuse
…the FOUR YEAR OLDS decided, “he needs more practice sharing”.

Signed,
The Sassiest Nanny You Ever Did Meet

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Don’t Mind if I Do

Last summer I spent three months in the Carribbean—ahhh the island of Puerto Rico.

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While there I:

Sipped champagne in a penthouse hot tub

Played dominoes in an alley, and cheers’d with Dominican beers

Kayaked in pitch black darkness through a bioluminescent bay

Ran through a fire hydrant with the neighbor kids

Danced salsa, bachata and merengue to my heart’s content

Enjoyed many a blockbuster film in Spanish

Broke bread with some incredible families

Swam at an exclusive beach resort

Learned to cook rice and beans, like a boss

Swam in a waterfall in the Yunque Rainforest

Celebrated life and youthfulness at an estate in the mountains—set with race horses, a pool, a full bar, an incredible view, and a dinner table full of beautiful souls

Sailed to the island where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed

Was a rowdy fan during a pick-up basketball game and a late night baseball game

& rode on a motorcycle for the first time (with an island boy, worthy of the cover of a romance novel).

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I left the island, feeling as though I had really lived to the fullest during my time there. As travelers, I think we all want to leave a place feeling as though we have really experienced all it has to offer. We are explorers. We want to leave no stone unturned. We crave authenticity.

The key to having authentic experiences is — be open. Be open to this beautiful thing we call the human experience.

The fastest way to authenticity is to make friends with the “locals”. You want to see how they live? Then enjoy life with them! Remember this: When people invite you to be a part of their life (however brief) it IS a big deal. They want to show you their world and they hope you will enjoy it. They are trusting you. So be appreciative of them and (for Pete’s sake!) be a sponge—soaking it all up.

I laugh when I look back to the start of my friend-making in Puerto Rico. The best journeys begin when you ask, “Why not?”… so one day at work, a co-worker offered to do my nails with shellac. (Why not?) As she did my nails, another intern and I started talking. She invited me to hang out with her and her friends that night. (Why not?)

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At her friend’s house, a few people were gathered. There were wine-drinking parrots and the biggest dog I’ve ever seen.

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They talked about an epic weekend retreat they take up to the mountains every year. I’d been there a whole three minutes and my then new friend turns her head and goes, “Do you want to come this year?”

(Why not?!)

And the rest is history. I compare that weekend and the months that followed to that of a classy party at a speak-easy, back in the 20s.  Music always, dancing constantly, uninhibited laughter, free flowing drinks and endless toasts. An appreciation for youth, freedom and sharing moments with intriguing people.

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My friends in Puerto Rico loved my “Why not?!” attitude. They knew I would be comfortable in a variety of social situations, and because of that I had some once in a lifetime opportunities.

We’ve all hosted “those people”, where you worry the whole time they aren’t having fun, you aren’t catering enough to them or they are bored. Don’t be that person! If you are appreciative and in awe of someone’s culture, doors will open up that you never imagined. (Like when you ask your grandparents about their lives and the richest stories unfold.)

The next time you are in a new place, I challenge you to: exhaust yourself in the pursuit of life.

 


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The Gift of an Experience

This past Christmas, I hit the jackpot. Almost all of my gifts weren’t material, they were experiential.

My loved ones know me so damn well.

An incredible family trip to Maui, Hawaii… (You better believe I’m crafting THAT blog post.)

My sister and brother-in-law gifted me a night out on the town with them, including dinner and Blue Man Group. (One of those good-for-the-soul nights.)

My brother and I decided ahead of time, since we hate shopping for gifts, that we would go to a movie together instead. We would circumvent the shopping and wrapping—and instead just pay for each other’s tickets. I laughed when Michael took it an extra step further. As we walked to the theater, he essentially said, “Your birthday is coming up soon, I’ll just buy your ticket and we’re good on that then too.” Can’t argue with that logic. And we spent the next two hours laughing at the most inappropriate jokes I’ve heard in a while. We then quoted those lines (from Anchorman 2) for weeks following. You’re welcome.

My grandma and Papa gifted me tickets to Riverdance: Heartbeat of Home. They gave me two tickets, so I could take whomever I wanted.

My grandma must not be familiar with the mantra, “Sisters, before misters.”

So, it was cute when she thought I’d take anyone but her, HA! Crazy lady. In fact, we grew the party and it ended up being my mom, my grandma, and lucky me—celebrating one hell of a hump day in downtown Chicago.

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I got off work early, and within an hour had parked myself on a barstool, sandwiched in between two of the most graceful, strategic, loving women I know. Oh, and there was a steaming Irish coffee in front of me.

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We strolled a few blocks to Rosebud, where we promptly found a nice lil’ bottle of red wine, an amusing waiter, and hours of genuine conversation. Do you see where I get this? It’s their fault. I blame them.

After a little dessert to celebrate my Mama,

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we headed to the Oriental Theater. Incredible, incredible architecture.

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While we waited for the show to start we asked the guy next to us to take our picture.

He did. Again, and again… and again.

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The show started, and no exaggeration— I forgot to breath multiple times, because I was so enthralled. Honestly, after the first number I could have left and it STILL would have been worth it. Luckily that was not the case and we were spoiled with two more hours of talented performers. It was an incredible experience to share across three generations. After all, it was my grandma who first took my mom to shows, and my mom who first took me to them.

At 10pm, my mother proposed we head up to the rooftop bar of our hotel. I looked at my grandma, “I’m game. Why not?” Oh how I love those women.

No food this time, but genuine conversation, people watching (of course) and drinks. We couldn’t have ordered a bigger hodgepodge of drinks either—Bailey’s for mom, white wine for grandma, and a mojito for me.

I went to bed that night, my mind running through all the memories we had made in merely a few hours. I highly recommend gifting someone an experience instead of something material. The effect is lasting.

I might grow out of a sweater I got for Christmas, but I’ll never grow out of wanting to make new memories with my loved ones.

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Beat the “Sunday Night Blues”

My dad and I always joke about a thing called the Sunday Night Blues. You’ve had a great weekend— you’ve indulged in your passions, were in control of your own time, and surrounded yourself with those you love.

Right about now it hits you that you are headed into Monday morning and a long week.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I no longer dread my oncoming week, I embrace it with joy and anticipation. Here’s some short and sweet inspiration–may it give you perspective and help you find the strength and energy to follow your passions. Sooner, rather than later.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –H. Jackson Brown

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Greek on a Plane

There are those flights where you want to sleep. There are those where you pretend to sleep. And there are those where you give up on sleep, because the person next to you insists on making conversation.

My flight last weekend to Dallas was the latter.

My friend Scott and I were headed to Texas to reunite with our best friends from college.

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We flew Spirit airlines, my newest little secret. They keep the costs low by providing the bare minimum and you pay for the “extras”.

Print boarding pass for $10 at airport? …or print it at the public library.

Buy beverages in flight…or carry on plenty of drank in the approved 3oz. size?

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Pay extra to choose your seat? …or not.

Which is exactly how I ended up rows away from Scott, and smack in the middle of an older Greek man and a girl from the Chicago burbs.

The Greek man was a fountain of wisdom. We talked— or rather he talked to me, about his marriages, his son, his work ethic, his homeland, his business ventures, his dreams, his cars, his in-laws, his regrets.

I wasn’t particularly in the mood to share about myself on all those topics. So, I did what the Mizzou journalism school taught me to do and I asked a shit ton of questions. And then just sat back and listened. Free entertainment and I learned some things.

Towards the end, I made him teach me some words in Greek—since I’ve always had a passion for languages. The lesson started. On new word #3, the Chicago girl to my right chirps up, “Are you learning Greek?!” The man acted startled. (To be fair, it had felt like he and I were in a coffee shop, talking like old friends for the past two hours.)

He nodded, that in fact he was teaching me some Greek. The girl then looked at him, big eyes blinking like a character out of a Pixar movie and goes, “I was Greek in college.”

I.was.Greek.in.college.

It took every ounce of grace I had to not bust out laughing–from the awkwardness, the hilarity of it, his reaction, and her sincerity.

To fill the gapping silence she continued, “Yeah, we had a pledge that my sorority always said.” Yes, you guessed it. She then spoke Greek to this man, as his jaw stayed dropped.

Keep in mind, this whole time (since I’m in the middle seat) their faces are about four inches from my face. I’m trapped. I can’t look out the window OR make a dash to the bathroom.

The poor thing finished her pledge in “Greek” and the older man just goes, “NO.”

They spent the next five minutes trying to decipher what the pledge was trying to say, in English and Greek. I just went to my happy place.

When we touched down, my new Greek friend told me if I should ever find myself in Greece, I MUST go to his hometown of Sohos and tell them Tony in Phoenix sent me. He promised doors would be opened and plates would be served up. I would see first hand the hospitality he had told me about.

Wisdom, laughs, human connection—what more could I ask for on a two hour flight?


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“So nice of you to make it”: A Tale of Wedding Crashing

The Bloody Mary I sipped was on point. The combination of good conversation, delicious food and a cold drink—had done it again. My left arm was successfully burned from the Arizona sun, but there was no way in hell I would be moving to the shade. I might switch arms though.

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My best friend and I were soon headed to crash a wedding, but we were in no particular hurry. Who wants to rush away from poolside drinks with a mountain view? Not this chica.

We finally got back to the house to change for the wedding. My friend’s roommate’s dad was getting married and we had been “included” last minute. They said it would be small but we were more than welcome to come. Of course I’m going to go. No brainer.

I’ll admit, our main priority wasn’t to be on time, per say. We figured worst-case scenario we would just slip in the back of the church. Well here’s how it actually played out, folks.

My friend and I, bachata music blaring, sassy, little red Mazda—whip into the parking lot. Now I don’t want to embellish here, but it felt a lot like Tokyo drift as we slid into our parking spot (my brother would be proud).

Quick lipstick application and we hop out of the car. We see the curtains in the back of the building open and close again quick. Uh-oh. Are people actually waiting on us?

Now as I walked up to this building, from the outside, I could see that it was about the size of my tiny Chicago apartment. The overly optimistic side of me thought, “Maybe it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? And will be bigger on the inside. Thus allowing us to blend in.” Cute Megan, cute.

Door to the chapel opens and less than fifteen friendly faces stare back at us. Ohhhhh, so this wasn’t a small wedding, this was pretty intimate. Got it. The groom in his I’m-about-to-be-married-and-I’m-nervous-as-hell voice says, “So nice of you to make it.” Deer in headlights look. We scoot quickly to our seats.

It turns out the peeking curtain a few minutes earlier…that was the bride. Waiting to walk down the aisle.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds had pictures taken around the grounds. The fifteen of us watched them, shuffled our feet, talked to statues, and attempted awkward conversation. I loved every minute of it—you know me.

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The bride said she wanted a picture with everybody. Okay well I’m so far removed from this couple that I didn’t include myself in this “everybody”. The bride wasn’t having that, so the picture was taken, and I’m in it. I imagine one of two things happened: The photographer either took the picture and then immediately deleted it—it was for show. OR that couple is going to have a hard time remembering who the hell that girl in the black dress was.

The venue was adorable—a balmy night, lights in the trees, beautiful centerpieces, and ummm, free wine.

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Then the toasts happened. Ah ha ha the toasts, always my favorite part of the wedding. It’s important for you to remember, I am seated at the table with the groom’s two children. Their parents were married up until three years ago.

Glasses raised, the bride’s friend from work starts her speech. “I was in the car at the stoplight…waiting, we wait in life….waiting is hard, we wait for so many things… wait wait wait waiting wait.” I look at my friend. What the hell is this waiting theme? I’m nervous. Who waited for what?! Ah. Crickets chirp. No, literally they chirp. We are outside. But it’s ironic and wonderful nonetheless.

The work friend nervously smiles, “I’ll never forget when she first came into my office five years ago. She shut the door and said, ‘So he and I are dating, but you have to keep it on the dowwwwn low.’” She giggles; thinking her use of a pop culture phrase is cute. The rest of us just sit there, with bug eyes. We all forgot to breathe.

Five years? But I thought three years? At that moment I want to turn into a damn cricket myself and hop the eff away… but I brought this on myself and I realize, “Duh, this’ll be a great story later.”

I dare to glance at the groom’s son; he winks at me and raises his glass with a smirk. He knew. He was just there to support his father, knowing we all make mistakes (and will probably keep making them).

As my friend, her roommate and I left the reception, he told me he’s never seen his sister laugh so much as she did when she was at our table. She even hugged me goodbye–a rare occurrence I’m told. At the reception I acted out a ridiculous amount of stories in order to fill the silence gap. I was actually drained by the time we left, from keeping up the conversation—but damnit, the groom’s kids were going to enjoy themselves if it was the last thing I did.

I can only hope that when the groom’s kids look back at that awkward picture of “everybody”, they see the girl in the black dress and remember, “She helped us make the best of an awkward situation.” 

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