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2016 Resolution:

By Michelle Dawn Mooney


hat do you want to be when you grow up? I’m guessing it’s been awhile since you’ve heard that question. At the age of 7, you don’t realize just what a loaded question that is. At 17 however, settling on an answer could suddenly make you feel like you’re in an interrogation room with a two-way mirror and a blinding light shooting straight between the eyes. How can you possibly know as a teenager what you resign yourself to doing day in and day out for the rest of your preretirement life? Sometimes you can’t. Now I know there are a few of you out there who probably knew what your life-long occupation would be as soon as you could start forming complete sentences. After all, I simply KNEW I was supposed to be a nurse at age 3 ... or a missionary at age 5 ... or a physical therapist at age 14 ... or a chiropractor at age 16, yet I am writing this having never taken someone’s blood, never visited a mission field, never helped someone recover from a sports injury, or adjusted a spine. So what happened? The deeper I delved into pre-med classes, the more I realized that line of work just wasn’t in my heart. I switched my major to communications in my fourth year of college and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted, but I consider myself very fortunate. In college, I was well aware that some of my friends had started to second guess their majors, but the pressure of not following through with their original commitment proved to be too much. Despite the uncertainty, they continued their crawl along a path they knew they never would have gone down if given the chance to start again. Today, most of them are very happy to be working great jobs, even if they didn’t top the list of their ideal career choices. Still, there are some who will forever wonder what would have happened if they dropped economics for astronomy, started their own company, or followed through with that invention they really thought could be a game changer. What changed the game for Mason Wartman was the idea of one dollar pizza slices. At 27, he opted to leave his Wall Street job behind to follow his dream of having his own restaurant. He returned home to the city of brotherly love and “Rosa’s Fresh Pizza” was born. Not only did he follow his passion, but through a pre-purchase slice program

Mason’s business venture has been providing physical and emotional nourishment to Philadelphia’s homeless population by the thousands. When I interviewed Mason last year as one of my “Middays” Make A Difference Monday guests, the number of “pay it forward” pizza slices was somewhere around 30,000. To date, customers have purchased more than 45,000 slices that have in turn been handed out to anyone in need of a hot meal. Mason’s decision to follow his heart, not only led to a successful business, but an opportunity to touch thousands of people who needed a little encouragement to get themselves back on their feet so they too could chase their dreams. For Stephanie Frazier Grimm, it wasn’t necessarily a change in occupation, but how she used it that helped her fulfill her dream of wanting to make a difference. When her best friend’s son was born 8 months premature, and the family was forced to spend a great deal of time in the neonatal intensive care unit, Stephanie was reminded that many hospitalized children miss out on celebrating what should be one of the happiest days of the year, their birthday. A wedding and event planner by trade, Stephanie knew how to throw a party and now she had one of the best reasons ever to do it. Since its inception five years ago, The Confetti Foundation has provided more than 885 birthday party kits to help hospitalized children across the country celebrate these milestones and forget about being sick, even for a little while. Not only have the parties provided a sense of normalcy for the children, but in cases where it was a child’s last birthday, the memories made have become invaluable to families forced to say goodbye. Saying goodbye is never easy when it comes to loved ones, or things that we cherish, or even something that doesn’t necessarily hold a great deal of value, except for the fact that we’ve given it a lot of our time. Each and every one of us is only given 24 hours a day. How we use these hours can help define who we are. This year I challenge you to spend them wisely, not on things that just fill your time, but rather on things that give meaning to you, your family, your friends, and the people around you. Here’s hoping that your 2016 is filled with 8,760 hours that enable you to truly follow your heart. n

LIFESTYLE | Winter 2016


NJ Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2016