Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Real People Feature: Talon Seitzinger

View from the top of Berthoud Pass, Colorado
Who are you?

My name is Talon Seitzinger. I am 20 years old, and I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. I am currently a junior attending Penn State University, main campus. I am on track to graduate in May of 2014 with a degree in Information Sciences and Technology and a minor in Security Risk Analysis.

What is the best advice you've ever given or received and why?
What has been the greatest challenge in your life and why?

The next two questions go together in my case, because during the greatest challenge of my life, I received the best advice to help me through it. 

The biggest challenge in my life so far has been dealing with the death of my sister, Taylor. 

When I was a junior in high school my older sister was killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Without getting into great detail, I had to endure one of the hardest things someone my age could have to deal with. To put it into a brutal perspective, I went from a “perfect American family,” with my mom, dad, and my sister, who was one year older than I was, to having nothing. 
At age 11, my parents’ marriage fell apart and my sister and I moved in with my aunt, so it was basically just us together being brother and sister, best friends, and just looking out for each other. 

We eventually moved into a house with my mom, and things started looking better- until the accident happened. 

Taylor was hospitalized for 1 week before she passed away, and that is when it set in that I lost my sister, my best friend, and I felt like I was all alone. The horrible, most challenging part about this whole story was burying my own sister in her prom dress, for the senior prom that she never had the chance to attend. 
Besides all the negativity in this story, the end result brought my family closer. It brought me closer to each of my parents, all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. As time passes, my family still remains closer than we ever were before the incident, and life just keeps going. 

I began receiving advice and sympathy from literally everyone, including people I didn’t even know. All of this was great, but then people wanted to talk way too much, and they all tried to “keep my mind off things” which isn’t really the best thing for a situation like that. I keep to myself a lot and I just bottle up emotions, I know-not the best thing, but it's true. Everyone acted like they were walking on egg shells around me. Upon returning to high school to finish out the year, my friends and even teachers, wouldn’t look me in the eye or ask me how I was doing. They would just try to politely ignore the fact that I just went through something drastically life changing. 
The best advice through the whole situation came to me from someone I don’t even know. I was on a trip with my dad that summer, in Florida, visiting my aunt. We went to a picnic, and Taylor came up. Everyone was asking the typical, “How are you doing?” and saying “If you need anything let me know,” just the things that I was sick of hearing. One of my aunt's friends pulled me aside and began telling me the story about how he had lost his daughter 3 years back. This is when he said, “You will never get over it. You just get used to it.” 

Still today this is the best piece of advice I was ever given. It summed up how the rest of my life will continue, and regardless if I like it or not, I will get used to the life I am given. If I can change the outcome of a situation and want it to change, then I have to go out and do it- but if something happens that I cannot change, I just have to accept it and continue with my life. 
Skimboarding in Myrtle Beach, SC
I pass this advice on whenever dealing with a situation like this and I hope it helps others as much as it has helped me. I could go on and on, but I tried to keep this as short and meaningful as possible.

What has been the greatest joy in your life and why?

The greatest joy in my life has been my skiboarding career. If you don’t know what skiboarding is, you can check out videos, pictures and other information on my sponsor’s website
You can check out Revel8’s website to view products, videos, and even my bio under the “Team” section.
I started riding about 5 seasons ago, and since then I have been progressing A LOT. Three seasons ago, I was picked up by my sponsor Revel8 skiboards (RVL*8 for short) and I was placed on their “flow team.” The following season I progressed enough to be put on their amateur team. This is when I started receiving free skis, bindings, and trips with my team. As this current season was approaching, I received news that I was being promoted to the Pro Team, and would be representing RVL*8 skiboards as a professional rider. 

Riding for my sponsor has taken me all over the country from Maine, all the way to California, and to almost every state with good mountains in between there. I have met great people and now have an endless amount of stories, pictures, and videos of what I have experienced. I am very thankful for everyone I have met, everything I have had the chance to experience and everything I will continue to experience in my career. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Here are some personal videos from my travels over the years.
What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do and why?

The one thing I want to do, and I WILL do before I die, is more traveling. 

I am hoping that with the career I start after college, I will be able to travel to places all over the world like, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, etc.. 

Favorite mode of transportation- my 07' CBR1000RR
I want to travel because you only have one chance to explore the world, and this is it. What good is life if you just stay in Pennsylvania your whole life? I want to get out and explore everything and anything that I haven’t yet. I want to enrich myself with different cultures and experiences that I can carry with me until the day I die. 
So there you have it. This is real people, friends.

It's easy for some to foolishly disregard the value of those with less years of experience, but Talon proves that the true wisdom of spirit is ageless. He has so much to teach. So very much.

I think I've learned about a hundred things since I first read Talon's piece. What he says resonates with me, sticks. Pieces of it carry into everything. Again, real people. Real life.

To me, this story is about celebrating the true spirit of life, living in the moment, and looking forward.

Thank you, Talon- for teaching me and my readers that growing is a process, that it's healthy to feel, and that life is for living- really living, with the wind blowing our hair back, living.

Have you travelled anywhere amazing and felt incredibly inspired and alive? Drop us a line. Talon needs to start setting up an itinerary! We all do, don't we?

I think Talon would really dig Austria- with its breathtaking mountains and verdant hills. Get there, dude...and send me a postcard. 

(And for the record, Talon, one of my favorite former students, is getting an imaginary A+ for this feature. Ha!)

P.S. If you'd like to participate in a Real People Feature, send me a message at cally@frommyhearthtoyours.com or comment below. We'd love to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

me gusta talon

good read, I never knew about your sister, sorry bro


Mark Carraro said...

a great guy to have known and know.

Anonymous said...

it's been this long and I've never heard you tell this story like that. proud of you for finally getting it out there.