May 3, 2013

The last time I wrote here I was finishing up the fall semester and here I am finishing spring 2013. I will finish class in 2 weeks and in another week I will take my National Registry exam and earn my certification as an EMT. The following day, I will board a one-way flight to Norway where I will take a class at the American College of Norway, work as an “travel insider” for Stuff2.do and cook delicious meals every day for my hubby.

It has been a crazy semester and I can’t believe I am saying this but my career path is still up in the air. I have a few options that I will have to make a decision about in the next few weeks.

 If I had my choice, I would probably not ever “work” at all and volunteer all the time at different places all around the world while people just gave me money for being awesome. I would work on an organic farm for 6 months then bike around South America while learning Spanish for a few months then volunteer at hospitals and schools for a few months and then move to India and shave off all my hair and become a Buddhist monk for a few years. All of my real dreams involve me not actually working but experiencing life.

If I had my choice, the world would be my classroom and experience my teacher. The things I can learn in the classes that I want to take at UWM can all be learned through experience in the wide world. 

Why should I pay $10,000 a year for an education on topics I can learn for cheaper in much cooler places. For example, I could travel through all of South East Asia for a whole year with $10k practicing yoga on beautiful beaches learning more about body awareness and cultural diversity and communication and logic and geography and history than I ever could in a lifetime at a university. I was planning on taking a SCUBA class next semester, but why do that when I can get SCUBA certified in Egypt, doing my practice dives in the Red Sea rather than a chlorinated pool in Wisconsin! I thought about taking “Bicycle Maintenance” at UWM, but I learned everything I need to know about maintaining a bike while preparing for and then biking 1000 miles down the beautiful West coast. I find it so hard to ENGAGE in a classroom. I am so much more interested and can really absorb information when it is presented in a natural setting. I sucked at spanish in high school, but after a few weeks in Costa Rica, I could remember every single word I would look up in my English-Spanish dictionary. I think Liberal Arts educations are for people who are too afraid or think they don’t know how to go out into the world to learn.

That’s where I stand as of now and it’s a good thing summer is just a few (long) weeks ahead. I will go on an incredible adventure in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Holland, Germany and Egypt. It is my intention to write about it all but I am not the best at keeping up a blog. 

 

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December 19

Last night I wrote in the final page of my current journal that I have been keeping since July. This seems appropriate as so many things are ending at the same time. The semester for one is almost over- just one more exam to go! Today is the last day that I am 20 years old. I am moving out of my current, lovely apartment into a new condo. The world is supposed to end in a few days, but I’m willing to bet that 12/21/12 is just a beginning, at least for me!

My winter break will be starting and it is sure to bring many new surprises and plot twists that I have never even imagined. My boyfriend is meeting my entire family (can you say intimidating?). In less than a month I will begin training to become an EMT. I will also be taking 3 journalism classes which surely will offer new inspirations and ideas about what it is I want to do in the future. New condo, new journal, new semester, new year.

I am more than excited to be on the threshold of transition. A lot of people despise change and hope to stay exactly as they are in their comfortable little world. For me, change is what I live for. I have my eyes open, looking out for ways to evolve and transform into a better, more open person.

Semester highlights

As the semester slowly (painstakingly so) comes to an end, I have decided to look back at some of the highlights of Fall 2012:: 

  • Moved into my parent’s cushy lake-side apartment. 
  • Went from vegan to full-blown meat eater
  • Started off strong with 21 credits which I eventually pared down to a more manageable 16. 
  • My summer romance came to visit me from the other side of the country and ended up leaving a few days early… I guess WI is pretty scary! 
  • Went to Madison nearly every-other weekend 
  • Less than a month later I boarded a flight and had a whirlwind 2 week escape in Paris and Germany with my on-again off-again Egyptian boyfriend
  • Was invited to live with said boyfriend in Norway this summer
  • Switched my major to Journalism and then back to Nursing and now it’s all up in the air. 
  • Had more than 10 dreams about “catching” babies as they are born
  • Watched more than enough documentaries and episodes of Mr. Rodgers to last a lifetime

Try as I might, I cannot come up with a solid conclusion about my life based off of this list. In 8 more days I will be exactly 21 years old and in that strange bubble of time known as winter break. My academic life will be put on hiatus (though only shortly due to a damn winter math class that must be taken) and I will resume what I like to call my real life- boyfriend, family, possibilities. But for now, time can’t move any slower. I have an essay due on a topic that I hope will bring about some sort of insight.  “Your paper should be 10 pages in length. Please describe the following theme. Times of transition in our lives where we travel through a period of disorientation, “liminality”, in order to move into a new way of being in the world.” I guess I should stop writing here and start on those 10 pages. 

Reflection

Today as I was making the hour and a half drive from Madison to Milwaukee, I started to think about a question that the wise Mary Oliver once asked; “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 

When any sort of opportunity to travel or try something new presents itself to me, I always jump in headfirst. I feel like I am constantly and aggressively pursuing new adventures and experiences. I seek out knowledge and skills that I think will be useful in life. I feel as though I am endlessly preparing for life’s journey. And just as one journey ends, another begins. I want to go on as many adventures as I can and ride every wave life throws at me. I think that so many people have these life-plans of finishing school, starting a career, getting married, making a family etc. ad nauseam. For me, this straight-forward life path is incredibly boring and undesirable. 

 

When I envision myself at age 50, I see a flash of myself with a shaven head and big smile meditating in a garden in Nepal. I see myself teaching children about sexual education and gender equality in a school in Sub-Saharan Africa. I see myself in a cozy cottage, grandchildren running around. There are a zillion places I may end up, some unconventional and some a bit more normal. I am not exactly sure where I am going, but I know where I want to end up- a happy, honest woman who knows exactly who she is. The destination for me is becoming the woman that I see as whole. Living the lifestyle that I want for myself. The destination is being able to accept, embrace and become love. To be non-judgmental of both others and myself. I want to live a life with integrity in every action. I want to live a life filled with truth, wholeness, right intent, adventure and friendships.