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Thank you NHS Class of 2004 for an amazing reunion weekend

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:42 p.m. CDT

During the Newton Senior High School Alumni Weekend, Moo’s BBQ owner Jeremy Biondi introduced a new “sammich” to celebrate the alums coming home. The “sammich” was called the “Cardinal Clucker.”

The “sammich” was amazing, with a combination of flavors that sent a simple message to your taste buds: Take a minute to enjoy me.

Biondi’s creations haven’t just been a one-hit wonder either. Many of his “sammiches” have been nothing short of amazing, from the “California Clucker” to his latest creation, the “Barnyard.”

These “sammiches” showed me that Biondi was more than just a barbecue guy. He has taken the opportunity with Moo’s BBQ to give people the opportunity to sit down and enjoy life for a minute. I still find it funny that, when talking about these “sammiches,” many people still say, “It’s just another barbecue sandwich.”

Last week was filled with emotions coming from all angles. I found myself fearful that I was losing control of myself. It took three lessons for me to battle these fears and insecurities and maintain my control.

My first lesson was about fear. I learned that some decisions that are made out of fear are disguised as making decisions out of practicality. Initially, this lesson brought me down, and I thought about the many decisions I thought I had made due to practicality but honestly had made out of fear. Friday came, and I realized the lesson I learned about fear and practicality was simply one lesson in a series of lessons.

My second lesson was to live in the present and flirt with the future.

One of my favorite entrepreneurs, Jonathan Christian Hudson, gave these words of wisdom during a Podcast. I know to most, this lesson seems outlandish because essentially its a two-part lesson. The first part of the lesson is simple, but it’s the combination of the first part with the second that makes this lesson outlandish to most.

The second part leaves many points of discussion. In my mind, to flirt with the future means to take the opportunity to play with your future and hope to succeed. I used to love to flirt because it gave an opportunity to create a scenario that wasn’t about that moment but rather the future. It worked sometimes, but I realized it wasn’t creating a future for me.

It would ultimately lead me to the third lesson, which I discovered on Saturday afternoon while searching for music, as I was DJing for my 10-year class reunion later. It came from recent commencement address presented by actor and comedian Jim Carrey:

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

This quote was mind blowing to me because it made all the emotions that I have been withholding come out. It made my week more than “sammiches” did. It made me realize, as I drove down old Highway 6 to head to Sugar Grove, the only way my reunion was going to be a failure was if I allowed it to be.

I found myself going through the playlist thinking about how it was truly inspired by what has evolved in the last 10 years and celebrates the past. It made me appreciate the work of DJ’s Ray Johansen and Todd Stein even more. It’s through learning about their passion, not just for the business, but also of the culture that comes with their careers.

I walked into the class reunion thinking about how, for one night, I was going to take an opportunity to do what I love and nothing more. I have found, to be honest, that nothing much has changed with me in five years, while many of my classmates in attendance were married, in significant relationships or even expecting their first or second baby.

It’s true not many of the people changed physically, but that’s to be expected because although we’re getting old, age has yet to take its affect on us. The biggest change for this reunion was the introduction of the new additions to our class in the form of spouses and significant others. Many of them truly set a good vibe for the party.

The highlight for me was when one of my life long friends, Joe Bartello, and I had a chance to have a conversation that has still stuck with me even now. It made me realize that in these decisions it’s great to know that I do have some true fans.

In the end, I want to thank those who attended the class reunion and those who were unable to attend. You guys have had a major part in the man that I am today.

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