Monday, May 23, 2011

The Oregon Trail

I can remember vividly the first time I was introduced to the East Elementary computer lab. We walked in alphabetically to rows of what looked like TVs with keyboards attached. It was in this room I was introduced to not only the latest technology of the time, a technology that would be ever present in my adult life, but also a little game called "The Oregon Trail." Now as a first grader I was enamored by the capabilities of the computer as it educated me by playing a game based on the trail of Lewis and Clark.

Yet, unfortunately, I rarely was a winner at the game. You see my little family on the computer would always die from famine or drown crossing the river. Much of this was to my own expense since I refused to shoot the buffalo because as I learned earlier in the year they were an endangered species. PETA would have been so proud of the young activist in me. Yet, if you would have told me in first grade that I would someday be making my own trek to Oregon, I would have giggled and called you silly. Yet, in approximately 2 weeks I will be moving to Portland. While it comes with mixed emotion, I am truly jazzed about this new chapter in my life.

Yet, I can't help but be a little nervous as I leave everything I have ever known and move to a foreign place. I am leaving my loving family and friends to start my career. It is like starting from scratch. Yet, after visiting the hospital, walking the city, and meeting the people I believe that this is a place I could be truly happy. Yet, does my stomach do a somersault every time I think about packing up my quiet, comfortable life and moving- Absolutely.

I took a leap of faith, a chance, when I decided to move to Oregon, but I believe life is worth a chance. I don't want to be one of those people who is afraid to sail away from the shore. I want to meet life where it takes me. Now granted you don't have to go halfway across the country, but it applies to small aspects of your life. It is about the guy you asked out because you never thought he would go, the house you decided to buy, or the job you never thought you would get. It is about putting yourself out there, getting hurt, having successes, and experiencing life.

I am sure the Oregon Trail was as daunting to our ancestors as it is to me now. Yet, while they were faced with death daily, terrified of tomorrow, and endured pain, sweat, and tears for nothing more than a dream of a better life. I only hope that my road to Oregon will be less bumpy and dysentery free .

Thus, my hope for you is that you will embrace life and take a chance this week. Don't be afraid to start a new chapter in your life because "It is not the years in your life that matter, but the life in your years."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunny- side up

As a child one of my favorite breakfast delicacies my mother made me was 2 eggs with toast and strawberry jam. I can remember vividly sitting at our old kitchen table as my mother would say (as if she didn't know) "How would you like your eggs?" I would giggle and shriek with joy, "Sunny-side up!" I have no idea why I loved my eggs this way, but I think it had to do with my fascination with the runny, gooey yolk invading my toast and everything else on my plate. I loved the yellow hue that reverberated back at me making things a little brighter on my plate. Yet, I also enjoyed the fact that I could design all sorts of animals and other creatures in the yellow lake that had accumulated on my plate. Lastly, it just made me happy because when you are 5 about anything including egg yolk makes you happy.

So why is it so hard for me some 20 years later to find the joy in the littlest of things? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the weight of the world on your shoulders has gotten a little bit heavier, or perhaps you have suffered to many low blows, but the optimist in me believes that we still can find joy. It just might take a good game of hide and seek.

I have been blessed with an uncanny and at times obnoxious sunny disposition. Thus, I am rarely seen without a smile on my face. Yet, storms and torrential downpours have not excluded me from their agenda, and thus I am quite a weathered veteran. I love that life doesn't care about your time table or your plans. It is just stinkin' unpredictable. And when you feel like you cannot handle anymore, you feel like your whole being might implode from the inside out; you realize, oh yes you can. On the scale of my horrible weeks, this past week wins by a landslide. So how do we deal with the world when our sunny -side eggs have turned into nothing but a scrambled mess?

I find joy in the beauty of other people and the snapshots of life. You capture moments. If you think about most photos you take they are glimpses of moments where you are innately happy-moments you want to remember. This week, though rough, has had some glowing moments. I will never forget watching movies with my dad on the couch while we shared oatmeal cookies. I will always remember the quiet distraction of others the way they can make you forget about everything else that is going on except the present. I will never forget the jam session in my car with a friend as we sang at the top of our lungs while passerby's just looked and stared. These are the moments that I treasure. The moments you least expect to find joy, yet it somehow reveals itself. While my life this week has at time felt suffocating and dark, I am pleased to report that despite my sadness sunshine has crept in and left me with nothing but the hope for another day- sunny of course.