"Aspire not to have more, but to be more"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be still.

I've often thought about the meaning of life. Why are we here? What is our role in society? There are millions of us and it is so easy to blend in. How do we make a name for ourselves and differentiate ourselves from others? Simple. We go to college, get a degree, and get a job doing something we love. Right? Well it's not so easy for a lot of people. First, there is the whole lack of access to higher education for many living right down the street from us. Then there is the whole thing that happens when you graduate and realize you learned more outside of the classroom in college instead of in the classroom and have zero desire to have a job relating to what your major was. 

As many of you probably know, I changed my major 4 times in college. I started out with plans to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and ended up graduating with a degree in Government & Politics with a passion for social justice, fair trade, immigration, and running. I learned pretty early on how I was not cut out for math and science, no matter how hard I pushed myself. As a Pre-Med student, I felt that I was just a number, competing to have the highest GPA no matter what it took. Someone once told me you won't remember the late nights you stayed up studying; you'll remember the late nights you stayed up talking with friends. In my 3.5 years in college, I only remember one night staying up late studying -- it was my second to last semester of college and I pulled my first all nighter to write a paper. I saved the paper until the very last minute because I realized that no matter how much time I put into papers, I wound up actually getting higher grades on papers that I waited until the last minute to write. Other than that one night staying up late writing a paper, all I remember are the nights I stayed up late with friends. One night I was laying on the mall in front of McKeldin with some friends after a Fair Trade UMD meeting and we had some good laughs, other nights I remember are driving Nite Ride, my first night out at a bar with my roommates, a night spent at the College Park fire station, many a nights at Looney's, Cinco de Mayo 2011 in Parkside...So many great memories. Although I have been out of school for the past 8 months, I finally feel like I'm in the real world. I'm so blessed that I was able to live at home for a few months to get things figured out and then accepted a job out here in San Francisco. Do I feel like college prepared me for the real world? Not really. I definitely miss always learning, I don't miss the exams. The stress now isn't about how I'll do on exams... it's if I'll be able to pay my bills or how a huge presentation to potential investors will go... One thing that has remained consistent throughout high school, college, and my recent entry into the real world is running -- I'm so happy that I've been able to stay with it! Although the real world comes with challenges, I'm enjoying it. Sometimes it's easy to feel like everyone is the same, but when I take a look at how I got to where I am, I feel unique and that's awesome.

Last Thursday I was walking through downtown San Francisco and I was amazed at the contrast of the "rich" and the poor. Yes, we all have seen one or two homeless people in our day, but the homeless here are different than anything I've seen before. There was a man who was literally only wearing holly socks scurrying around, looking for food in trash cans as tourists strolled with their bags from Coach and Nordstrom. I wanted to shake these people -- look at this man! Give him some of your money! Food even! Some people just won't understand. Something that also bugs me is the lack of respect some people have for the homeless and even people with special needs. Just because someone is homeless does not mean they are diseased or they are any less than you; they just do not have a permanent home. The other week someone told me that homeless people are actually more wealthy than the average American -- most have 0 debt and look at how much debt the average American is, quite impressive, right?? Right now, I'm technically homeless (but not wealthy!). I'm staying in a house with friends and am not paying rent. I have no permanent address. We all need to be still for a moment and look around us and be thankful for what we have.

Last week I was really homesick and this past weekend I went to LA for a wedding. Although it was not necessarily the most enjoyable trip, I did have some time to escape and go to Rodeo Drive and buy some Georgetown Cupcakes. On the way back to San Francisco, we stopped at In-n-Out Burger (YUM!) and also passed a truck full of tomatoes and garlic or onions! The mountains here in California really need to not have grass - they should look to the state of Utah as a role model and get prettier. We also passed many farms on the way up Route 5 -- the trees and grapevines were almost too perfectly planted -- let them grow/roam free and wild!

Once I returned to San Francisco, I was frustrated and overwhelmed and I called my best friend since middle school and we talked for almost two hours. You really do find out who your true friends are when they will drop everything and talk with you when you are on the other side of the country, homesick, and can barely talk because you're so frustrated. 

Monday I was fortunate enough to get lunch with one of my cousins here in San Francisco - it was nice to get reconnected. This weekend I'm heading down to Anaheim for the Home & Garden show... next week I'm taking a road trip up to Portland/Seattle/Vancouver since they are shutting down the San Francisco Bay Bridge for 5 days to connect the new bridge to the old bridge. 

That's all for now.... thanks for all of your love and support!

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