A Search for Meaning

 Memento Mori’s origin dates back thousands of years, yet its sentiment rings as true now as it did then. Memento Mori asks us to look at life and then live it as if each day was our last...with passion, purpose and presence in each moment. I do believe that we all inherently search for meaning in the life we lead. Typically, it’s in the moments of great challenge, sadness, or struggle that the question surfaces...Why? Why me? Why now?


   I first asked WHY ME when I was only 14. Being an only child and losing my mom was devastating. My parents (both school teachers) and I were driving from Florida to our vacation home in North Carolina. My mom had recently been prescribed medication for her debilitating headaches, and took the 1st dose ...

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A Game Changer

Despite the fact that both of my parents were elementary school teachers, I never really developed a tremendous love for reading.  As I began what I’d call the 2nd part of my life after my mom passed away, though, there was one book that did have a tremendous impact on my life. I’d like to share it with you here, in hopes that it may provide you, too, with a sense of self discovery, direction, and even enthusiasm for life. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is the part ...

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Charting Your Course

A Roadmap For Life


Throughout my childhood, I remember going on road trips every summer with my parents.  The 3 of us sat in that seatbelt-less bench seat of my dad’s Cadillac Eldorado as we traveled from Miami Beach to our home in North Carolina.  Because both of my parents were teachers, we had the same summer-long vacation. In order to escape the sweltering summer heat of Miami Beach, we would get in the car and drive to Beech Mountain, N.C.  Listening to Helen Reddy or Barry Manilow on the 8-track tape player are memories I will always cherish.

One of the best things about these road trips were the games that I would play in the car with my mom.  In the 1970’s and 1980’s, we were solely dependent on AAA to plan our trip.  Sometimes I’d play a game where I was the travel agent, and my mom pretended to be the customer coming into the office needing help planning ...

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We're Here...Now What?

As the year 2020 comes to a close, my interest and need to look back is somehow stronger than it’s ever been. Maybe because of the sheer surreal nature of the past many months, I have felt unprepared and overwhelmed, to be honest.  Thankfully, I’ve had a knack for the ability to compartmentalize in my life; that is, giving things a place, of sorts, and then leaving them there to exist on their own. If I’ve looked back at all, it’s been from a bystander’s view, as if it wasn’t my own story on which to reflect. Not sure if that makes any sense, but it has served me well over the years, in terms of my self-preservation and survival.


THIS year, though, has been incredibly difficult and challenging (and I’m NO stranger to challenging). A virus began to make its way through our world, seeking to slow us down, if not beat ...

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I don’t know about you, but I often catch myself getting completely wrapped up in between what happened YESTERDAY or, even more so, what my plans are for TOMORROW.  It takes an enormous amount of awareness and thought on my part to focus on RIGHT NOW.  The speed at which my mind races from one thought or memory or feeling to another is lightening speed at times.  In reality, though, NOW is the only certainty we possess. After all, yesterday has already passed (and will never come again) and tomorrow is not guaranteed (by any means).

Ancient Roman tradition brings this thinking of THE NOW to light better than any other analogy I’ve found to date. The methodology can be categorized as STOICISM, a philosophy of personal ethics informed by logic and views of the natural world. It is a specific category of this ...

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Growing up with a mom and dad who were elementary school teachers has had a lasting impact on me. Their persistent emphasis on education, respect for teachers, having a schedule (for homework and the like), as well as the importance of being a good friend, was not lost on me. I’ve followed the rules and led a life, primarily, on a path both straight and narrow.  In my 51 years I’ve rarely gone “astray,” even with the unexpected tumult of losing my mom at the age of 14.


Over the course of my life to date, I’ve come to associate following the “rules” with being a good person.  The value I’ve assigned to this adherence ...

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Road trips from Miami Beach to our house in North Carolina with my parents each summer until I was 13 are forever ingrained in my memory. The bond I had with my mother as an only child was solidified on these journeys. We endlessly listened to 8 track tapes of Barry Manilow, Helen Reddy and Kenny Rogers.  I was lucky ...

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I don’t know about you, but I am (and have always been since I can remember) the epitome of a Type A personality. At about the age of 6 or 7, I remember picking out my outfit the night before school and laying my clothes neatly on the chair next to my bed. My lunch was always prepped and waiting for me the next morning in the fridge as well.  There was something very comforting to me in the planning and organizing of just about everything.


This continued throughout my high school and college years as well, never missing a class or a meeting, either on campus or off. Lists, and lists of my lists, were on hand 24/7. Believe it or not, even after entering the “real world” after

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While sitting at dinner with friends the other night, we discussed our most dominant childhood memories.  Some stories made me laugh to the point of tears and others…not so much. What struck me most in the telling of these tales was the idea that one thing (an object, location, etc) could be viewed so differently by two different people. If this is true, then does it follow that all objects are subject to individual interpretation? Are we simply attaching our own meaning to these objects and places? After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes.

Let me explain….

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After my mom died when I was 14, I remember a friend of mine recommended that I start writing in a journal. To this day, there’s one entry I wrote that I look back on with curiosity. I wrote about wanting to define my life by the relationships I made. Maybe losing my mom and not being close with my dad; as well as my nearest family living thousands of miles away, all made for the perfect prescription to see my friends as my chosen family. I've definitely been envious in the past of others who have massive families and both parents still living. And I often wonder if ...

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I often wonder where exactly I’d be without my mom, Lori Kitaygorodsky…and let me tell you, nowhere good, that is for sure! Many people casually claim that they have the ‘best’ mom in the world, but when I say it I could not be more sincere if I tried. All throughout my childhood, I have always craved knowledge. I need answers to function, and I find that with these answers comes power and confidence. However, it is hard to be a young girl craving answers when we live in a world full of so much uncertainty. For some, living with uncertainty is normal. ‘Going with the flow’ is an easy feat and does not require much effort. For me, though, this aspect of life has always been challenging to comprehend and adapt to.

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Hi, my name is Alexa Kitaygorodsky and the saying Memento Mori hits very close to home for me. February of 2018 I was a freshman in high school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas when a gunman opened fire in my building right outside of my classroom. In that moment, I thought my short 14 years of life were coming to an end and I would never see my family again. Somehow, I got out of that building alive and was able to continue living my life, but now I was living it in a much different way. Before the shooting, I kept to myself and didn’t make an effort to live everyday like it was my last, but all of that changed. 

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