“Being true to myself – my conscience, my strengths, my passions – is what’s most important. That’s what I hope to get right over these next four years: end with something that makes me proud of myself – not what my classmates thought was right, not what my logical left brain thought was safe.“
I think it’s fascinating, comical, and even a little awe-inspiring how accurate these monthly blog reflections of my life have become.
Last year, I made this pronouncement about “getting it right” in my undergraduate education before the thought of enrolling in the Bachelor of Specialized Studies program at Ohio University had even occurred to me, deep in the depths of fall semester 2015. Now, as of July 2016, I am officially accepted into a degree program that truly allows for me to have a customized learning experience at the collegiate level. If that doesn’t make any college kid proud of him or her self, I honestly don’t know what would.
In the meantime, I have continued to challenge myself and mature in new ways in the ever-exhilarating atmosphere of Berkeley, California.
When I boarded the plane on June 17 from my comfy suburban retreat, I honestly doubted that the NSLC experience could overshadow my already adventurous summer in Cambodia and Orlando. But I was humbled once more.
It is July 19. I have known these individuals, these staff-mates, these friends, for approximately one month of my life – and yet the connections and bonds I have formed I know will already last me a lifetime.
I have cried. I have laughed. I have biked across the Golden Gate Bridge and tried new foods and tasted interesting drinks and snapped photos of wonderful wilderness places with these people. I cannot honestly imagine my life without these people, a group who has warmed my heart and soul more so than I could have ever thought possible.
I wake up in the morning comfortable, smiling, and ready to seize the day. I run for sheer pleasure, I laugh long and loud, I sing in the mornings, and I am not so worried about my future. Because I know that my future self will one day end up right back here in the Bay.
It’s like coming home to a place I never knew I needed. It’s that feeling of ease and comfort that comes after shutting off the voices and the negative energy in our heads that blinds us, binds us from happiness.
I know the world is struggling; I am not immune to the sufferings of our world. I know that my world still needs figuring out, as well. But when I gaze out at this mist and mountains and shimmering water I don’t feel so obligated anymore. I feel at peace.
For those who know me well, I have struggled. For those who don’t know me well enough, I’m glad, for your sake, you have eclipsed that portion of my life. I am amazed at the resiliency, the transcendence of life and the power of positivity every single day – because I am living proof that our lives can be anything we want them to be.
I once thought the ocean was my calling, in poor-ole, land-locked Ohio – but I was humbled, once again. It’s the mountains that whisper my name, encourage me to summit any obstacle or rock in my path. If I can climb, I can survive, and if I can survive, I can thrive.
“The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” -John Muir
Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence I journeyed to Muir Woods National Monument this past weekend. Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that I’ve decided to become hugely invested in our country’s National Parks and National Park Service in the past two months – despite the fact that I wanted nothing to do with this country six months ago. Perhaps I’m coming one step closer to finding my path along the road of least resistance and perhaps that road has led me to Berkeley for two (or a few) reasons.
Perhaps I’ll just end this post here, full of wonder and eager anticipation at what’s to come next.
Until next month,
This post also appears on la bella memoir