Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Never Know What the Tide May Bring

Two months into the Fellowship year. My days feel like 4-in-1, but also feel as though they fly by at the same time.

Overall, I've been really happy and pleasantly surprised by the experiences I've had so far. That said, there are times when I'm frustrated with how tiny Estes Park can become when I need a little space. Sometimes, I just need someone to talk to or some place to go that has no connection to where I live and work.

Sitting in one of my few local escapes, a coffee shop (of course) in which I've already spent countless hours, I actually met someone who isn't a tourist, can't be mistaken as a part of the retirement community, travels a ton, and has a lot of interesting hobbies and stories. It was a short conversation, but that was all I really needed to help bring me out of the weird head space I've been in the last several days. It was a good reminder that just when you're least expecting it, the unexpected can happen.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I ask my students to set goals. I help them form measurable, realistic, and timely goals for themselves.

One would think it would be easy to set some for myself; however, upon being asked to give 2 for the year, I came up blank... and have continued to do so for the last week. Why is the simplistic sounding question, "What do you want to learn and/or accomplish this year?" as difficult for me to answer as "What do you want?"

Initially, I thought perhaps it was because I hadn't figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, but then I eventually came to the conclusion it's partially because I've invested so much of my time focusing on helping others, I've forgotten to give myself a little attention. The other, possibly bigger, part of the story is that a lot of my life has been spent just trying to get through the day I'm in; I'm not used to stepping back and thinking in terms of the long(ish) distance future.

But here I am at 28 years old learning that maybe, just maybe, my life will extend beyond the day, week, month, and even year I'm in. It's time to learn it's ok to dream and plan for the future- even if those dreams and plans change a billion times as my life progresses.

Goals are important. They give milestones to reach for, and a framework for future endeavors. They make the abstract more tangible, and assist in propelling momentum towards accomplishment of even bigger goals.

So in these quiet hours, I'm asking myself, "What do you want to learn and accomplish this year?"

  1. I will continue writing in a way that is productive, integrative, and introspective (possibly even published outside of my own blog)- at least 4 journal/blog entries a month until the fellowship year ends.
  2. I will learn to communicate more effectively through daily interactions with staff and students, weekly check-ins with my supervisors, and weekly meetings with  my housemates. 

Nothing particularly profound, but baby steps towards answering the broader more difficult question of, "What do you want?"

For now, I don't quite have an answer to that question, but perhaps I will by the end of the year.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Balancing Act

not a bad place to do my work and decompress

Today is my day off.

Sort of.

When you live where you work, "days off" are a hazy line.

I love what I do, but I'm finding my brain still seems to need a break from it all- several hours to not have to troubleshoot, problem solve, mediate, wrangle schedules, maintain a calm composure, try to pretend I know what I'm doing, and do my best to make sure is setting a positive example.

So what do I do to actually give myself time off on a not-so-day-off?

I take my laptop to a beautiful spot that has wifi access, work for awhile, and then do something that restores me. Like what I'm doing right now- writing. Sometimes I escape to a nearby city to hang out with friends, or I hide away from everyone for awhile to check in with myself, decompress, and let my mind wander freely to whatever draws its attention.

I'm just over a month into my new 'job', and I'm learning what it means to balance work and play, being accessible and taking time for myself, when to intervene and when to let situations play out, and being content in the moment and realizing there may be some future moments that require prior planning.

I still have times when I'm incredibly nervous about the end of the year as I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I'm also learning to 'trust the process' as the staff so often said during our first 2 weeks of orientation. For now, I need to focus my energy and attention on where I am, and plan for the end of the year when the end of the year approaches.

I'm learning to balance planning out my life and then letting go.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fourteen Years Later

"To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you..."

In about 12 hours, 14 years ago will have passed.

Fourteen years.

In 12 hours, my mother will have been gone more years than she was with me.

It's a hard concept to process- and one that's not easily (or at all) understood by many others. In spite of all of the silver linings I've found, the strength I've gained, and insights I've accumulated... there's an echoing loneliness every year at this time. And now, it's amplified by being so far from familiar people and places.

Don't get me wrong, I've never been as happy with my life and what I'm doing as I am now. It's just that I still have these fragile moments of bittersweet melancholy that remind me of the vulnerable bits of my heart.

I guess I don't really have a positive twist, inspirational line, or any sort of wisdom to this entry. In the midst of my beautiful surroundings, amazing internship, and incredible people- I miss my mother because she's not here to listen to my stories.

But as I've reminded myself on so many other occasions: "How lucky am I to have something to miss so much?"