Thanks, Given.

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It happened. In fact, it’s happening right now.

Writer’s block.

No matter how much you love writing, no matter how many opinions you may have… about anything and everything… eventually it strikes you. That’s how I’m feeling right now. I had a topic picked out for this holiday week, an idea of where I wanted this column to go, and some cute ways to tie everything together. Then I sat down at my laptop and… nothing.

I had no idea where to start and the ideas that had been formulating in my mind all week seemed boring. The thoughts jotted down on paper over the past month seemed clichéd. I got up and did everything else I needed to do around my house, except write, in hopes of somehow sparking an epiphany or even just the slightest glimpse of inspiration.

Then it occurred to me… the lack of inspiration to write was in and of itself, my reason to start typing. Sometimes a solid concept isn’t the place to start… in fact, I think it can actually be a hindrance… at least in my own professionally amateur opinion. While I do tend to think of myself as QUITE a planner when it comes to my insanely busy life and travel plans, etc… I realize that the method to my madness doesn’t carry over into the creative aspects of my being. Writing, photography, even drawing… these portals of my persona are far more free-spirited & whimsical than the organized, time-management-minded, efficient to a fault and stubbornly productive individual I am. Somehow it all comes together and I appear to the world a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, optimistic & enthusiastic goofball with a passion for life. At least, I hope so.

It’s kind of crazy how complex we as individuals are – how we can feel such a range of emotions, in a relatively small period of time. How we can find hope in a time of utter despair… or laughter in a time of extreme sadness… or love in a world that seems brimming with destruction and hate. One minute we can feel like we are at the top of our game and the next, feel like we might never be able to obtain the goals we set for ourselves.

All of this oppositional thinking somehow brought me back around to motorsports. Open wheel racing is a sport, a lifestyle really, of extremes. It provides those who partake in it and those who actively observe and support it with a vast range of emotions. I think it’s similar to life in that way… you can’t appreciate the good without the bad. I absolutely have to say, that this year I was very happy and one might even say relieved to ride so many highs throughout an IndyCar season without any tragedies.

One specific moment that really got to me was during this current off-season when the news of Dario Franchitti’s retirement was made public. I found it beautiful (yet not surprising) how so many fans and fellow drivers took to social media, paying tribute to Dario’s career, coining the hashtag #ThankYouDario, and raving about how he truly is and always will be a legend in IndyCar as well as racing in general. What I drew as interesting from all this was the similarity of how we as a fan base react to “losing” a driver – whether it be by choice or by a tragic twist of fate. In either instance, we recall our favorite stories about the driver, their most memorable maneuvers and/or wins, we recap their careers and post personal photos. All of these reactions make up our response mechanisms when we attempt to cope with loss, regardless of the scale or severity. We want to remember the best parts of the past years and the times we had to create memories that involved these individuals… and more importantly, we show the deep desire to share it with others. I kind of love this about us – it shows the depth of our humanity, our need to feel connected and understood by those around us, and our undeniable relationship with racing.

As we approach this Thursday… this National day of giving thanks… I just want to say I am thankful for the fact that our most recent driver loss was one of choice, retirement and intelligence and not one of tragedy. I want to also say that I feel incredibly thankful for all the opportunities that have been granted to me over the past year & these past couple months particularly.

I’m thankful that I get to tap into this creative side of myself once a week – sometimes more, depending on how much I have built up in my crazy head. I’m thankful that I have found a kind of home on this amazing site, run by some pretty incredible folks, who saw something good enough in me and my wild thoughts to allow me to share their space on a regular basis. I’m thankful for all the friendships I’ve built and continue to build because of these opportunities and the mutual love we all share for such an amazing niche in the world of sports. And finally, I’m so blessed and thankful for all of you… whether you’ve never read my work before or you’re an avid supporter of me in general and all the crazy shenanigans I invite into my life… thank you for reading. It means the world to me.