(That photo is a picture of a whiteboard drawing one of my campers made of me. I would wear rainbow socks with my rainboots every time there was even a thought of rain.)
So I work at this neato little camp called Aspen Outdoor Adventure Program, where, depending on the age group, we do day trips kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing etc., and then do overnight sessions around New England that are centered around different outdoor activities. I had the pleasure of working with some of our older kids this summer, which meant I would be away for a week at a time camping in locations such as Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Western Mass, etc. I spent a majority of my time in Maine and a lot of time with my favorite camp husband, JIMOTHY! (well his real name is just Jim. Maybe James, I'm not sure actually ahah, I'm also going to dinner at his place tomorrow night with Sara to catch up. Whoop whoop!). I also spent plenty of time with my one and only Fraulein Sara.
So Jimothy and I were in charge of 13 campers and we would hang out with them in Maine doing things like white water rafting, rock climbing, and an awesome attempt at hiking a mountain nearby to Jackman, ME (although this plan was foiled by an obvious attempt by one camper to get "sick" in the beginning stages of our hike. playa please). It was a lot of time outdoors, with kids, making food breakfast noon and night, barely showering (Jim considered any time spent swimming as showering) and sleeping in ginormous puddles because of rain storms with 30 degree temps at night (because it was Maine and Canada, what do you want from them?). I also had the pleasure of going on a trip to Camden with Sara, in which we took a bunch of 13-year-olds into the woods, going to Iylesboro, ME by ferry, biking all day, and waking the kids up at 4 a.m. to do a sunrise hike on Mt. Battie (um, where we started at the bottom and were SCREAMED out by some creep sleeping in their van? and when we got to the top, our kids discovered a couple camping there, with their dogs. ooops.)
If you know where I came from and who I was just a few years ago, I started out only doing Day Trekkers (4th into 5th grade) trips because I was such a camp fail. But now that I'm a master in my craft of camping (and no longer cry because I have to sleep in the woods in the dark in a tent by myself), I know how to do everything except light a campfire. YOU CAN'T BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING! Get off my back! I at least tried...apparently lighting an entire roll of paper towels with lighter fluid isn't how you start a camp fire.
So I was pushed to my limit this summer, both in terms of how I can handle myself without the luxuries of my life (although I still woke up earlier than everyone else so I could put on makeup), as well as challenging myself to accept who I was, as a 27 year old in my champagne year of life.
The song "I've gotta figure this out" by Erin McCarley explained exactly how I felt. Listen to it, its an incredible song. "The Reeling" by Passion Pit is also a good description of life then (Look at me, oh look at me, is this the way I’ve always been. Oh no, oh no. Now I’m dreaming somebody would simply come and kidnap me. Oh no, oh no. Everyday I lie awake and pray to God today’s the day. oh no, oh no. Here I am, oh, here I am, and when will someone understand
Oh no, oh no.) With all of these struggles on my mind, I spent a lot of that summer journaling and reading The Secret, which I consider to be one of the most influential books in my life (besides The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran). I don'tnecessarily believe in all of its mumbo jumbo, but I 100% support its message, which is based on the power of positive thought. Some important ideas coming out of the book included: "Do what you love. If you don't know what brings you joy, ask "What is my joy?" As you commit to your joy, you will attract an avalanche of joyful things because you are radiating joy." and that "Your job is you. Unless you fill yourself up first, you have nothing to give anybody."
All summer I had felt like I was struggling with knowing who I was and what I wanted; what made me special, and what made my life fulfilling. I went off of facebook to get away from projecting what I wanted people to think I was, instead of figuring out who I actually was.
(During that time, I uploaded pictures to my Flickr account and you can see all of my adventures in Maine, both Jackman and Camden here. It gives you an idea the beauty I surrounded myself in. I couldn't really take any pictures of the kids because of privacy laws, but there are a ton of scenery pictures among a mishmash of other activities I participated in that summer.)
In that time, I really got to know myself. I took a break from dating, I stopped going out as much, and I lived my entire summer outdoors. I will say that I started the school year a little exhausted, because every single day was spent in the sun doing something really active. Seriously, I went all Thoreau on you. In the woods, no electricity, no facebook (!) no boys(!!!) and if you know me really well, you know that I am boy crazy. However, I came out of that experience with a really strong sense of who I was, and what I could accomplish. I don't think I'll ever be able to eloquently portray my experience through words, so instead you should just know that I celebrate that time of my life every day after, with every memory I've created since then. I bought a feather necklace, that you may notice I wear everyday and have never taken off since August, which symbolizes spiritual and emotional freedom. (I got it from www.dogeared.com, p.s.)
You might think that I just unloaded a ton of cheese on you, but I know that my experiences this summer left me with a sense of independence, confidence in who I was as a friend, a sister, a daughter, and what I could offer anyone new coming into my life. I also decided in that time to take up running, because although I have always been active, I hadn't been pushing myself in recent years. In order to keep on goal, I signed up for the Chilly Half Marathon in Newton, MA. I trained for that run, although probably not to the best of my ability, but with a refreshed energy, one that I consider to be very unique and one of my best qualities. My energy makes others feel good, and I can get the energy of a room to change with the way I interact with it.
Although I was sidetracked during my training by one of the most important experiences in recent years, I was able to complete the half marathon in 1 hour and 57 minutes; not bad for a newbie with not much of a running background (albeit I am super athletic. Also a big shout out to my besties, Sara and Olivia, for helping motivate me during my race and in my life). That race left me with a thirst and a desire to accomplish so much more, and with a chain of recent events that have left me ready for more wonderful things to walk into my life, I decided to sign up for the marathon this June. I hope to make you all proud. Thanks for listening!
"Once you begin to understand and truly master your thoughts and feelings, that's when you see how you create your own reality. That's where your freedom is, that is where all your power is" -Marci Shimoff
"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step"
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Download the song "Something about angels" by Justin King. Awesome.
Download the song "Something about angels" by Justin King. Awesome.