Category: Other (Page 1 of 4)

katie

nasty women daring greatly.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself on a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

– Theodore Roosevelt

 

I read a book this summer that changed my life. It taught me that the courage to be vulnerable is everything, and how to tell myself that I am enough.

I know, it sounds silly and sappy. But, I promise you, Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, is anything but silly. It’s 100% no-bullshit. And if you’re willing and ready to listen, it’s not easy to read.

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I’m a tortoise, not a hare.

Best training run ever!

Best training run ever!

I sped causally down the valley, warm wind in my face, David close behind me. It felt good to bike for once without my commuter saddle-bags weighing me down. It was Sunday and we were enjoying an easy 20-mile ride.

An easy 20-mile ride. I pondered the odd novelty of the phrase, the ease with which I now categorized such a workout. Easy.

Five years ago I wouldn’t go to the gym for more than twenty minutes. Four miles was my personal running limit. I was too terrified to ride a bike.

And yet, last month I ran my first marathon.What changed?

As I switched gears to pump up hill, the Tortoise and the Hare children’s story popped into my head.

It’s seems the classic “found my potential” story, but it’s not.

I didn’t run the marathon because I found my potential. I ran it because I stopped putting limits on my potential. I stopped thinking I had to be a hare, and started being a tortoise.

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resolutions for a better future.

resolution

Another year. That went fast!

Last year I wrote resolutions. I resolved to (1) restart my blog, (2) pay off one of my loans, (3) run a marathon, and (4) go on a road trip. At a point in my life where nothing was certain and adulthood was imminent, I set resolutions to give myself direction – a map to keep my values on course in the face of massive uncertainty. I can proudly say I achieved all but one of my goals*.

Facing 2016, I consider possible new goals: Call my friends more often? Complete my marathon? Kick-start this blog again? Nothing inspiring has occurred to me. Unlike like last year, 2016 is mostly certain. I’m not worried about straying from my values, or feeling lost. I’ve got a fantastic job, steady income, and solid network of family and friends. This year I don’t need a map to stay true to myself.

I had nearly resolved to skip resolutions all together when I watched Mission Blue.

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a little bowie history.

IMG_4703No, I’m not related to David Bowie, as awesome as that would be. But I am related to an infinitely cooler Bowie – James Bowie, the hero from the Alamo. Also the inventor of the famous Bowie Knife. As such, I made it a point to go to the Alamo historic site despite everyone I know saying it was lame. It was lame. But I can say I went. We also checked out San Jose on the missions trail, which was beautiful.

 

the vibrant big easy.

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New Orleans is a city poised on a thick foundation of blazing character, clashing culture, and defiant uniqueness. I was only there for a day – but that much was apparent. But I also perceived, from my brief time in the French Quarter, a city frozen in the time-warp of tourism. No city ever stays the same, but when we make it a landmark in history, we threaten it’s authenticity. I admit – I was guilty as a tourist. I also recognize that I wasn’t there nearly long enough to comfortably make this assertion, but I felt it none-the-less. Maybe those of you who know the city more can counter me – I hope you can.

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embracing the unexpected.

Things don’t always work out the way you plan. Especially when you’re on a road trip. I’ll probably struggle with this most of the time on the road, but it’s what I asked for, and what I wanted. The first two stops of the road trip were wonderful, even if a bit nerve wracking.

We spent a night at Shenandoah National Park and stayed with David’s Aunt and Uncle in Virginia Beach for several days to celebrate Passover (a second (?) for me). I have so much to write about! Yet, our laptop charger broke… resulting in limited blogging access. It’s been frustrating, as all I want to do is write, but in exchange I’ve had more time and energy to devote to visiting.

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on being 23.

We have so much to do. I can’t even express what our apartment looks like right now, considering we drive out in a few hours. I’ll write more about the trip later, but I can’t get these words out of my head, so here it is:

Exactly two years ago I wrote this post about turning 21 in Tanzania. My birthday involved a lot of sacrifice (of goats), Easter, soda, and friends. It did not include alcohol. I remember feeling like I truly became an adult that day, surrounded by new friends, in a new country I had come to love. It was my biggest adventure. And now, exactly two years later, I’m headed out on a new one – this time, destination unknown. (The birthday in between involved a stomache flu and my first ever star wars marathon… not a lot to report there).

It’s been very emotional. If you followed me in Tanzania you know I realized how I truly loved being American and how greatly I loved my family. Yet, again, yesterday I said goodbye to them Sunday for an undetermined amount of time. It was 8x more emotional than when I went to Africa. But I’m again looking forward to what I can learn about myself when I de-root and leave home.

Yesterday was chaotic, emotional, and wonderful. David took me to dinner at the new locally sourced restaurant in Harrisburg, The Millworks. It was beyond amazing. One of my favorite farmers, Judi, took me out for lunch – also delicious! Thank you to both of them.

All day I received text after text, message after message, call after call, wishing me a happy birthday. I’m writing this as a thank you to every single person who reached out. I haven’t yet had the heart to respond to everyone (basically anyone), but I will. Right now this move is taking over my life. 

If you’ve stuck around since Africa, thank you so, so much for all the love you’ve shown over the years. But also, infinite thank yous to all my new followers. I hope you like the new website! (Myeco20s.com). If you aren’t yet following me there’s a lot of options on the right sidebar!

Off we go.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading.

emily

My first five nails.

 

“carol of the imbeciles” – fishtailing my way to work.

On my way to work this morning I fishtailed on the highway for the third time this winter. That’s more times than I’ve ever fishtailed in one winter before, ever. I’m in Pennsylvania… I grew up in Maine. Since I brought my car down to PA I’ve only grown increasingly more frustrated with the PA road clearing process. That’s the first problem: the state needs to get on top of it’s sh**. But also, the further away from Maine I get, the worse the driver’s are.

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Why are we always in a hurry? We’re so intent on getting where we need to go we even skimp on cleaning our cars off. Do people not understand that cars are deadly, that by driving like a maniac you’re endangering yourself and everyone else? I hate driving in the snow. Even though I’m good at it (did I mention I grew up in ME?). I take every precaution I can to avoid driving when there has been a storm – but often I’ve found myself in the “don’t have a choice” situation. I keep wondering why that situation exists – what is more important then the safety of you and those around you, not to mention the state of your vehicle?

CARTOON-Snow-driving

Especially today. Sure, there are jobs that people need to go to – doctors, for instance, emergency responders, etc.; but for the rest of us, much of the work we do can be done from home, yet we still head out in dicey conditions. Many (most) people who drive in snow storms don’t need to, making it even more dangerous for those who have to. I’m lucky to have a wonderful work place relationship with my boss, so we talk realistically about conditions and she trusts me enough to work from home when it’s bad out. I know that’s not the case for a lot of people. I encourage people who are bosses to have that conversation with your employees, let them know their safety is more important, and when they do ask to stay home – realize it’s not about being lazy. And employees, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourselves – it’s your life, be careful with it.

Stay home. Or pull out your skis, snow shoes, or… snowmobiles…

0d07dbbf20363120048fc666247c51c3I’m lucky I’ve escaped this winter so far without a single scratch on me or my car. Unfortunately, every time I fishtail I instantly get ‘Jesus Take the Wheel” in my head, which is a recipe for instant tears…. but if that’s the worst that happens, I can settle with it.

 

conflicted thoughts on boredom & television.

Americans spend an average of 35 hours per week watching television. 35. That’s almost a 40 hour work week, completed after work. On an average work day that is 8 hours working, 5 hours watching tv, 8 hours for sleeping, and then a measly 3 hours to do everything else (talk to people, cook food, commute, take a shower…).

Let me just reiterate: 35 hours PER WEEK. On average. For all of America. NOTE: That doesn’t include the time we spend trolling the internet. And yet, we claim to be “so busy,” so stressed.

Now I could be one of those people trying to convince you not to watch tv, or at least watch less, or live entirely without one because you’re wasting your life and brainwashing yourself – but other people have done that, and I can’t preach what I don’t practice.

David and I don’t own a tv. First of all, tv’s are large. Second, they’re expensive. But third, they’re unnecessary… because we have a computer with Internet. So we really aren’t off the hook, at all. But for a month we were.

In the month of January, for various unimportant reasons, we were without internet. At first we embraced the concept – we had to go to coffee shops to check email, we didn’t have Facebook, we would have more time to do other things.

We’ve read many, many simple living blogs and articles that attempt to convince you that living without a tv will give you so much time to do other things (101 other things, oh my! – notice that #1-#4 still involve a screen…).

And we did, and do, a lot of other things. We’ve checked of most of that 101 list. We exercise (a lot), read, write, cook everything we eat, do lots of crafts, do yoga, visit with friends, etc. We call family members frequently and have cleaned, sorted, and flushed out pretty much everything from our possession we possibly can – there’s simply nothing left to simplify.

And guess what… we’re still really freaking bored.

When we got internet back (mostly because I telework and paying for cafe food got expensive really fast) we found ourselves, subconsciously, reverting to our old Netflix, Hulu, CBS.com habits (still under 10 hours per week – and we’ve gotten into documentaries lately, that helps, right?). I think that most of America feels the same way – we get bored, so we watch tv.

This fact has bothered me, pretty much every day, since December. I hate being bored. And I don’t want to succumb to the habit of turning to screens in boredom. But after two hats, a dog sweater, a huge scarf, two hand-sewed tank tops, and 8 pairs of earrings – I just don’t have the craftiness in me right now.

I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why we, people who truly embrace hands-on living, are falling into this “tv trap.” The reality is, we live in a tiny town, in a tiny apartment, with very few things. We have friends around and we see them often but we don’t like to spend money on going out, eating out, or other entertainment that costs money, and our friends aren’t available every single night. So, in order to make excuses for myself, and to try and get somewhere with this post… here are some of my theories as to why I’m feeling this way:

1. Living is too easy. We have outsourced much of our usefulness to technology. We have electric heating so we don’t need to cut firewood, haul water, heat water, or light lamps. Our clothes are ready made. We can type, we don’t have to write. We text so we don’t need letters. All of this might seem a little radical but it’s true. Technology has made our lives better, in a lot of ways, but things like washing machines, dishwashers, processed foods, iTunes, electricity, and oil heating have given American’s a ton of free time. So much so that even though David and I do a lot that the average American doesn’t: like cook all our meals from scratch, preserve most of our food, and create our own music (sometimes) we still end up bored.

2. Winter sucks. It just does; and with easy heating, snowblowers, and electricity we don’t have a lot of extra life stuff to do. You can’t grow food in the winter, exercise sucks unless you have the money to buy the equipment, and every two days it’s a snowstorm so you can’t make it out to see your friends (or maybe that’s just how it feels right now…). There’s a lot more free stuff to do for fun when you can get outside.

3. I don’t have responsibilities. I don’t have a pet, or a child. Those things take up time. So while I’m complaining now, I probably will look back and hate myself for it when dependents take over my life.

4. We’re moving. When you know you’re moving and you can’t take “stuff” with you it’s hard to start projects. We don’t have tools or crafting materials or other stuff that might make being creative easier. I like to make stuff, to build stuff, I’m not a big draw/paint kind of person. I sort of wish I was because that would be more transportable.

What I really want to know is: Are other people feeling this way? Am I alone on this one? Please – I would love some input on this, because it’s driving me insane.

fearing “the future.”

Last year, around this time, the air was thick with the buzzing tension of a class of seniors stressing about their futures. Everyone claimed they didn’t want to talk about it, yet everyone still did. To a certain extent, I escaped the tension within myself (though I was still affected by everyone else’s stress). I knew where I was going to be. My farm job was secured.

Last night, I went to campus to see some girl friends in the current senior class – beautiful, talented, smart, and driven women who will all be perfectly fine. The tension was there, prevalent as ever, and this time (a year later) I’m actually a part of it. But as a graduate, I have a different perspective. I don’t have the stress of classes, extracurriculars, impending culture shock, theses and research hanging over my head – so things seem a little less bleak. I’m already in “the future,” so there’s a lot less to be afraid of.

I think that college students (including my former self) have the wrong outlook on what the “future” is. It’s scary because, unless you’re going to grad school, it’s the first time in your life that your life isn’t scripted. For most people, there’s no template for how your life should be laid out – you don’t need to be somewhere specific, or be at any one job for a certain amount of time, you get to choose what kinds of jobs to look for. You get to call the shots. You get to fully shape your life. That’s what’s so exciting, and so terrifying, about being in your 20s.

But under all the stress of being a senior, college students have trouble seeing the exciting – they only see the terrifying. They put too much pressure on themselves to find the perfect job and to have a detailed plan before May. What they don’t realize is that life won’t end if you don’t have a job by June 1st. You’ll just end up with more time to look for the perfect job, to move somewhere random, to travel, to do things you haven’t had time for, see people you haven’t seen – live a little, find yourself. You don’t need to find your career immediately, in fact, I’d argue you shouldn’t.

I can’t say that I’ve perfected this mind set. I still freak out, regularly, about my own future. But I am learning to put a lot less pressure on myself to know exactly what I want to do, where I want to be, and when I want to get there (let’s be honest, even if I had answers, they’d probably change before 2016).

If I have any advice for current seniors it would be to relax, to believe in yourself and what you’re worth. Don’t fear June, it’s just another June like every other June before it – it will come and everything will be fine.

best,e.

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