Hello wide and gorgeous world!  You remember me, don’t you?  Hmm, maybe not, it’s been a while.  But that’s the sign of a busy lifestyle, right? This time, it’s actually true.

Here’s the thing.  Let me put something into context for all of you, something that will better explain why this summer has been so amazing.  I am an over achiever.  Okay, so not that big a revelation to those who really know me, but here’s something else.  I started taking college courses when I was fourteen.  Now, ambitious you might say, but I’m glad I did it and it worked out.  After all, I was able to graduate from college at the age of nineteen.  However, it’s had it’s consequences.  Starting so early, it consumed me.  I realize now that because of certain things happening at the time, I found school work to be theraputic and my professors and schoolmates were like family that I could escape to whenever I felt like I was drowning in the “real world.”  I found it a scary challenge, one where I was daunted not only by the age gap at first, but also by my own moral standards that begged me to grow up faster than most.  I asked a lot of myself and although mostely gratifying, it also meant I put off a lot of things that otherwise might have come first.  Think about it – you’re fifteen and instead of hanging out with friends on a Friday night, getting involved in sports, or crushing on boys, you’re biggest concern is centered on a mid term research paper that’s twenty pages long and on a presentation you have to give in front of faculty and staff memebers.

No, I’m not trying to brag – my point is that this summer has been like a wake up call.  For the first time in over four years, I am enjoying life’s journey and actually doing things that I normally would be putting off “until later.”  Today has been my clarity day.  I looked back, watched my past race up to meet me, and realized it was trying to tell me something.  It was saying, “hey, you turned twenty, remember”?  And, “stop looking at me, face forward, relax, breathe, and take back your summers!”  I have to say….I’m enclined to listen.  What have I got to lose?  That is the beauty and the fear of having an open play book on life…..there’s nothing in your day planner to guide you, but it leaves room for penciling in the good stuff with plenty of room for more stuff.  So I say, hey, why not?

And you know what else I did today?  I patted myself on the back.  Yup, I’ll admit it, because frankly it doesn’t happen very often and every once in a while it truly is good for the soul.  Now and again, your mind tells you to stop beating yourself up and be proud of who you are.  It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I need to start listening more when it does.

So let’s recap.  This summer, I have:

Gone to Alaska.  By myself. Wow!  I went on a glacier landing tour, rode on airplanes by myself for the first time, saw grizzly bears, moose, a wolf and fox, elk, and met amazing people.  I went on a jeep safari, saw Denali National Park, and ate the most amazing food.

Driven to New Jersey and spent time with my Nana and best friend at the beach.  No easy feat, driving through NJ….. @_@

Went to Rhode Island for the first time and had a blast!

Been certified in open water scuba diving…..I never thought I would say that, or at least not until I retire (hhahahahaha, that is becoming increasingly more funny as the economy dies.)

gotten my boating license, which I have been meaning to do for over a year now.

Started learning how to properly train with handguns….I have always wanted to do this, and it’s so much fun!!

Had another job interview, which will hopefully lead somewhere, but even if it doesn’t, I’m proud that I did it.

Spent way more time hanging out with friends than I have in years.

Made it through another birthday.

Read at least 12 books, none of which has anything to do with boring, real life stuff 🙂

Found I have more room in my heart than I thought and that stretching it’s limits feels good.

 

So, here’s my advice:  sit down and make a list, either by yourself, or have some friends help you remember, but take a pen and paper or a computer and write down everything you have done this summer that has made you happy, that you have succeeded in, that is memorable.

Don’t worry if it’s small, happy, sad, or you think that others might think it’s stupid.  This is your list.  The point is to make you realize that so often we do things that we don’t credit ourselves for or that we think is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, when in reality, we should be proud of it.  It’s time to stop focusing on the insults and injuries and count the moments that have made us strong, that give us a reason to say, yeah, I did that, I am seriously that cool.

You’ll be surprised at just how much that list can grow when you really start thinking about it, and how little you do credit yourself on daily achievements.

My list is still growing. I hope yours does to.  ‘Til next time,

From VT with love.