Tag Archives: jobs

Gratitude. part dos

27 Jan

Last week when I wrote about making a list of what I am grateful for in this past year, a few folks asked about that list.  So — here is a portion of that list, in no particular order (the numbers are there just because I like lists, not because of priority).

38 things I am grateful for:

1.  My mom and dad for encouraging me and supporting me to follow my dreams, accepting that my path is not as straight as others.  Though it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I am ever so thankful for their inspiration, acceptance and support.

2.  Katherine – my buddy in adventures.  We have skied the Chic Chocs, bed down in the whites, climbed some pretty high mountains and have hiked countless number of miles together.  I feel lucky to have a friend who will go on such adventures with me – and cannot wait to plan the next one!

katherine and I on top of mt. whitney

katherine and I on top of mt. whitney

3.  My job.  I do work that I care about, work that I believe makes the world a better place.  Work that makes me think and pushes me to be my best self.

4.  My mentors.  I am lucky to have some pretty great mentors, people who are looking out for me, who have given me guidance along the way and have inspired me in my work.  Thanks Steve, Julie H., Sue, Lily and Meg (among others).

5.  India – for reminding me of the goodness of people and the beauty of humanity and that, ultimately, the world is a good place full of good people.

Couldn't speak any common language, but we could understand enough

Couldn’t speak any common language, but we could understand enough

6.  Hope.  Ultimately, I am full of hope, even when I try to hide that hope.  Hope makes us vulnerable.  It makes us trust.  It opens us up.  Sometimes all that is scary – but as much as it scares me, I cannot deny that is who I am.

7.  Climbing, trekking, skiing, backpacking, hiking, walking – being outside and active (and not hurt – unlike right now…..  which I hate.  I hate being hurt.  oh, wait – wrong list).

8.  Mountains – for keeping me dreaming.

one of the many, many mountains i dream of climbing

one of the many, many mountains i dream of climbing

9.  My brother.  We’re just under two years apart, went to the same school — all the way to college – together.  Now we live on different sides of the country, but every time we get together we laugh and have fun.  But, can’t leave out my other brother who is much younger, but is well on his way to leading an interesting life himself.

10. My bestest girlfriends.  I am beyond lucky that I have an amazing group of girl friends.  Yogatara, Jessica, heather, susan, cynthia, tracy, smak, cara, meggy, jessica.  These women make me laugh, feed my soul, listen to me complain, let me cry on their shoulders and tell me to shut up when I need to hear that.

weekend in the berkshires

weekend in the berkshires – look how much we love hanging out with each other!

11.  Bucket lists.  Biking around the world?  Climbing a mountain over 20,000 feet?  Living in another country?  Becoming fluent in spanish?  Being in Thailand for a sky lantern festival?  Trekking in remote Nepal?  Yes, don’t mind if I do.

12.  Laughter.  The world keeps me endlessly amused.  I like to laugh – often and loud.  In fact, one of my students use to make fun of my laugh because it was so loud.  awesome.  keep it coming.

13.  Books.  Fiction, specifically.  And lots of it.

14.  Patagonia – for make me yearn for wild places.  Patagonia – will you marry me?

i am in love….

15.  Peru – for offering me lessons when I needed them.  For its beautiful people, its passion, its landscape, its rich history.  I might cheat on patagonia for peru.

16.  The universe – what a grand, amazing world this is conspiring each and every day to remind me how great it is.

17.  My journey.  As unpredictable as it has been, as winding, and messy and twisty it is, what a great journey it has been.

18.  Surprises and magic.  Last year when I was traveling – each thing that happened, that seemed wrong and bad — ultimately it would all turn out to be ok, even great.

yahoooooo

19.  Open heart.  See #6.  Open heart and hope and vulnerability — all tied up.  And I am ever thankful that I am on this journey to keep my heart open (with varying success along the way).

20.  Wisdom.  As I get older, the more wisdom I get.  I have a long way to go, but it is one thing about getting older that I love.

There’s more.  Another 18 on the list (whoa, that makes me feel old), but you get the idea…..

Thanks world.

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Precious Life

5 Aug

As most of you know, I have taken a job in New York City as an School Designer, working for NYC Outward Bound Schools.  Which basically means that I will be supporting schools in NYC that are implementing the Expeditionary Learning Schools model.  Does it sound like the dream job for me?  Yep, pretty much.

But, 4 months ago — if you had asked me if I was gong to move to NYC – I would have told you a resounding ‘hell no‘ and told you about opportunities in India.  Or even 3 months ago, I would have told you about how I needed to be in Peru.

In fact, those who have known me longest have laughed – OUT LOUD (usually followed by a ‘no fucking way!?’) – when I tell them I am moving to NYC.

So – what happened and how did I end up here?

sunset in Southern India

During my last month of travel, in Peru, I kept coming back to the Mary Oliver quote:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?

So much had happened during my travels — so much in my thoughts and outlook on life.  I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Renaissance, but what was the next step?  Where to go next?

During my travels, I sat and thought a lot.  I mean, to the point of it being a little ridiculous.  What did you do while traveling?  Um, I thought.  I wrote.  I thought some more.  And of course, I went out and lived.  I climbed, I trekked, I sat in plazas, I tried new food.  I practiced my spanish, I got stared at a lot.  I met some amazing people.  I rode trains and buses and rickshaws.  I was scared and lonely.  I smiled at strangers.  I gradually let down my walls and opened up to the world.

And as time went on, I could feel myself change.  I could sense the openness and courage – when I wasn’t so scared to try new things.  When I became comfortable in my own skin and started to love traveling by myself.  When I loved sharing a laugh with a stranger.  When I was so authentically and truly myself with other people.  And it was beautiful and wonderful and made me laugh and smile at the world.

As I sensed this change, I cherished it.  And became terrified to loose it.  So, I started to name the kind of life I wanted to live.  Like a sculptor working with clay, I took the amorphous blob of stuff and started to give it form and shape, dimensions and depth.  And slowly, out of the jumble of ideas, I started to give shape to the exact life I wanted to live.  And on of the biggest ideas that I kept coming back to was this:  I do not want to live a mediocre life.  I do not want to sacrifice my happiness.

In this one ‘wild and precious life’, I want greatness and beauty and adventure and love.

Adventure.  It kept coming back to that – how alive I felt staring out to the train as I traveled down the Indian coast.  How alive I felt trekking through Patagonia.  How alive I felt sitting in the plaza at sunset in Cusco.  And so I knew, there was no other way for me to live my life from now on – adventure had to be part of it.

So, when the opportunity for New York City came up – though it not the wilderness I crave – it is certainly the wildnessI crave.  As I started to think about it, I realized that this, too, would be an adventure.

Ho Chi Minh City at night

And so, having a new-found courage in my ability to take on adventures and figure out how to navigate the world — I am ready to try this new adventure.  So, here I am – figuring it out, learning how to get around.

My travels will be limited from now on — getting from Brooklyn to Staten Island.  Manhattan to Queens.  But, I think that the adventures will be just as rich and just as important in my journey.

Closing one door, in hopes that another will open

7 Apr

Over the past 7 months, i have had moments that been hard, moments that have been beautiful, moments that I have wanted to cry,  but mostly, I have been amazed by the world.  Amazed at how much beauty is out here, amazed at the kindness of strangers, amazed by how much there is to see and do out here….

My world has been broadened, my senses alerted, my perspective changed.  The world out there….  it is both bigger and smaller for me.  Bigger because I realize I have seen so little of it.  Smaller because through my experiences around the world, I have seen that people everywhere basically just want the same things (besides food, water, safety, shelter) –they want to live free, they want the best future for their kids, they want to laugh, they want to share, they want to love each other.  All around the world, I have seen amazing tenderness of parents with their children.  I have heard great respect being paid to teachers and schools.  I have seen beautiful moments between couples.  i have played soccer on a beach with people I could not communicate with (other than laughter), I have played with children and all I could do was smile at their talking, I have been taking care of by strangers.

This is all to say that the adventure is amazing.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I cannot wait to have really good Mexican food (with black beans and real cheese and sour cream and…. oh, wait, I digress).  And sleep in a quiet, super clean, comfortable bed.  And to have a clean bathroom.  And drink some really good beers (real IPAs with a hoppiness you can smell)..  But, I don’t want this adventure to end.  I feel that there is still so much more for me to see and learn out here.  I have not had moments when i though –‘ no, this isn’t right.  I should be at home’.

Instead, the opposite has happened. The longer I am out here, the more I wonder what home is, where I want my home to be, what I want my home to be.  The longer I travel, the more questions I have.  The longer i am out here, the more I realize that I do not want it to end – that the adventure needs to continue.

When I embarked on this journey, I left my school and my home with the thought that I would come back.  I took a leave of absence from work and sub-let my apartment – all with plans to return.  You see, I loved my job — being at Renaissance (the school I work at) is one of the best professional (and personal in many ways) experiences I have ever had.  I grew in leaps and bounds.  I loved (and still love) my students.  I had amazing colleagues who pushed me and cared for me and taught me and were patient with me.  But as much as I loved it, I always felt something was missing.  There were times when I would catch myself thinking ‘when my real life starts….’.

What?! When my real life starts?  What is this life I am living now, if not my real life?

But, that is a problem I have — I tend to be always searching.  The right job, the right location, the right relationship.  The real life?!

But this year?  I haven’t been waiting to start living my real life — I knew I was living it.  I am living the dream.  Living the life exactly the way I wanted to.  Exactly the way I had dreamed of (well…..  maybe not exactly – as I don’t remember vomit in dorm rooms from partying 20-something year olds in my dreams, but pretty damn close!)

So, all this is to say that I have decided, painstakingly, with a heavy heart, to not go back to Renaissance next year.  I closed that door.  And though I know that it is the right decision, it is still incredibly hard for me to walk away.

But in this economy?  What are the other options?  Where will you go?  What will you do?

Those are the voices in my head, wondering what the next step is.  I try and quiet those voices, trusting that something will work out if I am following my heart, knowing that I am making the right decision for me and my life.  But – the answer is – I don’t know.  I shut that door – but I don’t know what and where the next door will open.

I am just trusting that a door will open for me.