Monday, June 28, 2010

Decide what to be and go be it

What gets you up in the morning? A few days ago somebody asked me this and I thought long and hard about it. Things I live for are family, friends, travel, good music and the Sunday New York Times. I know this sounds sappy, but everyday I want to make my family proud and be the best possible version of myself, whatever this may be.

Throughout my life things that have influenced me have changed. When I was in middle school I wanted to be just like Rory from Gilmore Girls because she was so smart and driven to succeed. In high school my older cousin, Meghan, showed me how important it is to work hard for what I want. Now that I am in college I am constantly surrounded by people, friends and professors alike, who challenge and encourage me.

With this, five days a week I get up and go to work even though it is not something I really want to do (although I am lucky to be employed). One of my friends said that working at the campground motivates him to do well in school because he does not want to make weed wacking his life's vocation. Somebody has to do this type of work, but he is right, I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life. Maybe that sounds arrogant, but last week I scraped yellow paint of 500 yards of curb and repainted it for the entire day. While I did derive some sense of accomplishment when I was finished, I wasn't really loving what I was doing.

It is so important to know what who you are and what you want to be, but deciding this is no small feat. My post-grad plans may change and I will have obstacles to overcome, but I am determined and excited about the future. I'm almost twenty years old, but I feel like my life is just beginning.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do you realize?

This week I have had one of the biggest reality checks of my young life. I like to think that I am well informed, I read and watch the news and even occasionally listen to NPR (usually only in the car with my dad). I tune in to the devastating stories about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast and the amusing one man mission to find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. I guess it's safe to say that I am removed from these stories, understanding them at best from a distance.

I live in New York, a big and diverse state that is currently dealing with some serious financial problems. Many state institutions are closing and the ones that remain opened are running off of a series of emergency bills. As I have mentioned in my previous post, I work at a state campground. Like most of my peers, I enjoy complaining about work. However, this was jeopardized when last week my coworkers and I were informed that we would lose our jobs because the campground was closing. For me this is just a summer job, but for others that I work with, this is their way of paying the bills.

At first I couldn't believe that this was happening, but then I remembered an article warning of this possibility. I already knew about the shut-down and I found myself explaining the situation to my boss. If the budget did not pass state parks and recreation facilities along with some unemployment offices would close. This would leave more than 200,000 people jobless, myself included.

I've grown up in a small town in Upstate New York and I go to college in Vermont, which sometimes makes the news that I read in The New York Times difficult to apply to my own life. I had a revelation and it is this- news stories are everyday things that happen to people like you and me. The news is real life and even if we are not directly affected it should not be so unusual to imagine that someday, something will impact us.

Fortunately New York passed another temporary bill to fund state operations, and I am still employed this week. But next week is a new week, and no one knows what could happen. I am lucky to still have a job and I couldn't help but remember a conversation that I had with a unemployed homeless man during my service trip to Boston. He said that he would love more than anything to be able complain about work and would consider himself blessed to be a disgruntled employee. He is right and I am going to try harder to not take my job for granted.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't know what's down this road, I'm just walking

Hello hello, i know it's been a while. Does anyone else ever feel like they are busier during the summer? I don't know why but lately I have been so swamped. So it's a good think then that I got to go visit my good friend and fellow SMC blogger, Michaela, at her home on the lovely Cape Cod. I had a fantastic time laying on the beach, discovering my love for the Real Housewives of NYC, and sampling seafood and ice cream. I saw our friends who returned from studying abroad in South Africa and I was so happy to see them. It's crazy how the semester flew by, I feel like I was just saying goodbye to them yesterday. Along with these treats, the Taylor Swift concert that Michaela and I went to was just the icing on the cake. Everything was so much fun and I was sad to leave on Sunday.

My trip was so wonderful, so it was probably time for Boston to develop 70 mph wind and torrential downpours that would cancel my flight to prevent me from leaving. Traveling complications are not foreign to anybody but my trip to the Cape was my first time flying solo, so I had never experienced them before. After waiting at Logan airport for two hours the airport staff said my flight was cancelled. And let me tell you something, people went wild. Perfectly normal and calm looking adults were yelling and fighting over seats on the next possible flight. The employee looked like he was going to cry and then it started thundering. Glancing out the window I was more that okay with not flying in the definitely dangerous weather. This is how I ended up taking a ten hour Greyhound home and discovering that Plattsburgh even had a bus station. While on the bus I discovered via text message from my mom that the plane I was supposed to be on magically became uncancelled and took off two hours after i left the airport. Fantastic.

After all of this happened I couldn't help but think about my next airborne journey to Peru. Again I will be flying alone with the added obstacle of a foreign language. I won't know what it's really going to be like until I get there. The uncertainty of my trip adds to the apprehension I have about a nine hour plane ride by myself. I realized though, that I can do this. Staying calm is the key, which is why I can say with confidence that I will not be screaming at any airline workers anytime soon.