It’s that time of year as they say. The time for kindness and giving. Time to forget old wrongs, look forward to the dawning of a new year, time to rekindle relationships that may need nurturing. It has always interested me how people only do those acts during the holidays. As fragile and short as life is, I say we embrace all these things and practice them year round. As a healthcare worker, death is constantly around me. In fact, as I write this, I just found out a patient that I had several interactions with last week passed away today. To be honest, some affect me more than others. It’s not fair that I say that because each life I touch matters to me, but it’s the truth. However, back to my original point. I think it’s important to remember that kindness should be practiced on a constant basis. It’s wonderful for people to donate time and money to charities during the holidays-please don’t stop! But please remember that people are still hungry in April, animals still need food at the shelter where they live in May. The person behind you in line at the store may be using their last $10 on their groceries. I try very hard to be mindful of this. I know that people (including myself) can and do get wrapped up in their own lives and certainly everyone has stress, but I just feel like kindness is so much easier and better to give. I was told this week that I was a generous person and my response was that I have more than some people do and I should do what I can to help others. It doesn’t have to translate to money related things-give someone a genuine smile, ask how they are and truly listen to them, make someone feel special-it might have surprising results.
One of my early and most fun assignments was in 2011 when I worked at the Cleveland HeartLab. I get strange looks all the time when I tell people that I really enjoyed my time in Cleveland. I had several reasons to like it there; baseball, food and museums. I also met some wonderful people during my time there. But, what did I do to pass my free time? Quite a bit. One of the first things I did was go to the Great Lakes Science Center, which is located right on the banks of Lake Erie, next to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. (called simply the Rock Hall by the natives) The Science Center was a fantastic place for me to let my inner nerd run free, then to wander over to the Rock Hall and see that. It was pretty spectacular. I saw so many things including the red jacket that Michael Jackson wore in the Thriller video, outfits that Stevie Nicks had worn, things written by Jimi Hendrix and the list could just go on and on. It is a place that really needs to be seen over the course of several visits. I also visited the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Museum of Art, both wonderful and full of an amazing variety of exhibits.
For food, you can find anything you want in that city. Case in point, I spent St. Patrick’s Day celebrating at the House of Blues and then went to eat Vietnamese food. I had Indian, Italian, downhome cooking all while I was there. I met Chef Michael Symon at the opening of one his restaurants, B Spot, which turned into one of my favorite places. I also visited his Lola and Lolita restaurants. One other place that I thought was incredible was Melt Bar and Grilled. If you ever find yourself in Cleveland, please don’t leave without trying that and B Spot. You will thank yourself for that favor! During my time there, I also made a side trip to Pittsburgh and had Primanti Brothers and to be honest, they didn’t have much on the Cleveland food scene. But, I was able to try and it and see a new ballpark while on that trip!
As I have said on many occasions, baseball calls to me. So, naturally, when the Red Sox came to town, I went to a couple of the games at Progressive Field. The most incredible thing for me was getting an autograph from Jason Varitek-my all-time favorite Red Sox player. I was beside myself with glee. This was back in the days of him, Ortiz, Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Lester…those were the days! I did also see a game when the Tigers came to town later into my time there.
I could easily spend more time in Cleveland because there was plenty that I ran out of time to see. So, I just want to say to give Cleveland a chance and go if the opportunity arises.