Fishing for myself

(Let the nautical metaphors continue.)

I found myself sitting crosslegged inside the folds of my hammock, staring out into the mystic-blue waters of Lake Michigan, practicing the art of ‘not-doing-anything’ for an hour or so. It was magical.

After turning off-and-on the overheated circuits in my wired brain, like a jolting bolt of lightning, the words below became illuminated across the pages of my notebook:

I’m passionate about connecting people to their environment.

Illuminating links
actions and reactions
causes and effects
stakes and consequences

We are not alone.
No one action or person stands solo.
Everything is interconnected.

Through all time and space
rich or and poor
here and there
We matter.
In both the good and the gruesome.

To have people see this
(and respond?)
in the same sense
is what I attempt to do in my life’s work.

Call it another manifesto, if you will — or simply a declaration of passion and intended action. I’m doing a lot of soul-searching here, at the National Student Leadership Conference, where I’m a social media coordinator for the second summer in a row.

You see, I’ve been casting my net wide for years, searching for the one-true, catch-all catch that will assuage my anxious heart; convince my unconvinced nervousness that there is some work of purpose for me, that there is something I will do that will fill my world with hope.

I sure hope so.

I’ve looked in valleys and tree-topped hills. I’ve searched in sweltering suns and torrential downpours. I’ve kept my ears open and my eyes peeled, waiting for the tug of the net to prove my hunting isn’t all in vain.

Some would say this approach to life — the waiting to see what happens and when I finally make it — is incredibly driven. A little insane, perhaps. I’m a futuristic thinker with a knack for looking ahead; I’m the captain of my own ship, strung out on her sails and straining my neck towards the horizon line.

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But I don’t always remember to stop and look around me.

At the people who are riding the ship beside me, at the colors and the contours of the water, at the shape of the clouds. I don’t always remember to stop and hear the waves crashing, the sound of my own breath in and out. I don’t always remember to not be productive for just one hour, or so.

This summer, I’m taking more time to step away from the starboard side and look inward, at the people and the memories I’m already carrying with me on this journey.

And what I see makes me smile.

There are dear friends and coffeeshops and classes to take, waiting for me back in Athens — truly, my hOUme away from home. There are far-flung friends from all over the world, sending smiles and good vibes to me; there are some even here with me this summer. There are loving family members in mailboxes, there are brothers and mothers (and fathers) to hold in hugs, and there are wonderful memories of laughter and good times, right here right now.

I haven’t made it where I want to go, yet; but the ride to the unknown there has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Soul-filling, too.

Today I look around my castaway net and don’t see it empty. Not really.

Instead, I see it bursting full of love and support and memories laced into all these lines and knots and nautical allusions.

I’m going to keep on going, but I’ve got an incredible crew that’s keeping this ship afloat — who’s believing in this boat to make it to her final destination.

And, you know, I think she will, too.