Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Self-Reflection via Vacation

The kiddos are safely testing and the room is perfectly quiet. In fact, I'm wondering if my typing is disturbing them. Oh well. They'll get over it. Anyway, I'm in a classroom that actually has the internet (the price you pay for working in an "urban" school district) and I have some downtime, so I thought I'd blog a bit.

Our 2008 vacation was great. We go lots of places all the time, but I like to go at least one place out of the ordinary every year for vacation. In 2008 we spent lots of time in Vernon (where Poncho's from) because the kids and his family are there, and we spent a little bit of time in OKC where most of our friends are, and we also spent a little bit of time in Kansas City and Arkansas where my mom and mimi are. But by far, our best trip was to DC and NYC over Christmas break. A relaxing vacation lounging poolside it was not. But man, we packed in some great stuff over that week.

I've been to DC before but it was a long time ago. So going back and seeing all the buildings was really nice. It's crazy that we sit at home and watch the news about everything going on in the world, but a lot of times I think we feel like we're just observers. Going to DC reaffirmed to me that each of us has an active role in where our country goes and the decisions it makes. And it also reaffirmed to me that each of us, given the right opportunities, can be anything we desire to be. We just have to take proactive roles in our lives. Settling down and being comfortable with the status quo can be okay. But we could literally be anything we wanted to be if we were willing to put the effort and motivation required behind the desire. I think things like, "Man, could I ever really get published?" Well, write a manuscript, beat down some doors, see what happens. So many people in this world think but never really do.

Take for example my BFF, Maroline. For as long as she had thought about going to college she always dreamed about going to OCU. The Arts department at OCU is a tough cookie to get into. It's extremely competitive, very selective, and crazy expensive because it's a private school. So come college time, thinking that OCU was out of reach, she ended up attending another university, graduating, and working jobs that paid the bills but jobs that didn't make her happy. THANKFULLY, her BFF (me) had a single guy friend who just so happened to see Maroline out with me one night and pretty much instantly fell head over heals in love with her. He proposed. They married. He ended up getting a graphic design job at... OCU. With the nice benefits OCU offers its employees, Maroline ended up being able to get a masters degree in photography pretty much for free from OCU. Dream out of reach? Watch. Wait. TAKE the opportunities when they arise. So not only was she able to get a degree from a university she thought she'd never be able to get into, she made such an impression on her professors during her time there that she got a phone call last week asking her to TEACH a section of a photography class at OCU. Are you KIDDING me? So Caroline serves as an example to me of someone who dreams. Someone who knows what they want. And someone who's not afraid to go get it when the time is right. I love these kinds of people. They inspire me.

What I've never been able to do in my life is just settle for what was handed to me. Or what people expected me to be. Sure, when you're a teenager and young adult, that comes out as rebellion. It's human nature. But when you've matured a little, it turns into good self-reflection and introspection, and a determination to do more. I loved working with all the clients I had in my seven years with a couple of different non-profits. Helping people is awesome. I have loved working with all my kiddos in the three or so years I've spent in the classroom. I've been able to touch people's lives in different ways. Hooking people up with food. With houses. With clothes. With skills. With hope. And sometimes just helping them tweak their self-perception a bit-- that goes a long way. But I still feel like there's more. I don't know what exactly, but I'll find it.

I know the memoir is a part of that. It's not pretty. It's raw. It's dirty. It will be very hard for some people close to me to read. But it's life. And several people who have read it so far have said they related to aspects of it, and it caused them to think about their lives. And that's all I need. I keep putting off finishing it, because it's going to be a little tricky and I want the ending to be as honest as the beginning. And that means facing some hard things about myself. But I'm going to do it. And then I'm sending it to Oprah. j/k :)

So I guess the theme is keep thinking. And if you haven't started yet, start thinking. About how you live your life. About your life affects others. And what you want out of it. You've only got years, months, weeks, days, minutes left. What are you going to do with it?


The Panhandleman said...

I'm proud of my babe! I'm proud of you too... you are kickin ace!