Shortly, I’m going to start my first full-time job. I’m still in disbelief (it’s MADDENING!) that all of this is actually happening but here I am at the end of the summer and the start of the rest of my life. As much as I want to claim that I know what to expect–I don’t. It’s exciting and unnerving (especially for someone who loves predictability in future plans). Life, at this instant, has every possible opportunity available and I’m ready for it.
Because life and plans are funny and often go astray, I’ve somehow spent this summer busy with various unexpected journeys and paths. Now, I have the chance to acknowledge how grateful I am to have had this time to pause, reflect, reset, and look forward to (real) adulthood.
Pause–what have I done this summer?
- A week after graduation, I flew down to Quito, Ecuador for several weeks because I knew I wanted to challenge myself to travel alone for a longer period of time and first-hand experience volunteering abroad right after graduation. After researching, plotting, stressing, and planning I ended up volunteering with an NGO that is stationed in the southern markets of Quito and I lived, worked, and travelled with other international volunteers. I worked in a professional Spanish-speaking environment and effectively worked, translated, led meetings, had one-on-one meetings with the director of the NGO, and discussed plans for the future of UBECI. While volunteering I also managed to travel all over Ecuador and spent a lot of time reflecting on ecotourism, international relations, “wanderlust”, sustainability, the difficulties international NGOs face, and the harms of voluntourism. I wrote about my time there and some reflections here.
- Once I returned home I spent a majority of my time rushing between CT, the Bronx, and NYC.
- Soon afterwards, I visited Asia (for the first time!) and spent a week in Seoul and a long layover in Beijing. Seoul was wild and truly remarkable in so many different ways–I further discuss my time and reflections here.
- I read a bunch of books and got back on Goodreads!
- Practiced Spanish grammar and began review French grammar. I also picked up Harry Potter A L’Ecole des Sorciers to help refresh my years of taking French.
- Moderated my news intake and upped my news in Spanish intake (particularly concerning Venezuela)
- Spent a good amount of mental energy concerned about Venezuela and climate change
- Sat with some of my past (regrettable) decisions and figured out what I’ve learned.
- Read some awesome science reads
- Saw all my friends transition into working life
After plenty of years of slacking on reading, I made it my 2017 mission to get back on track. After a slow start to the year due to attempting to read a father long fantasy novel and graduating, I’m back to focusing on reading this summer. I’ve read 8 books with topics ranging from fiction, self-help, science, technology, history, poetry, Spanish, nonfiction, and philosophy. The books I am currently reading are concerned with science, computer science, and climate change. Hopefully will finish a couple more this month.
My 2017 kickoff to my new habits started out great, as most new years resolutions do. Naturally, a hectic semester like a final semester of college definitely adds an additional challenge to things. Near the end of the semester, I kept up with my habits and monitoring my productivity, noting that giving myself some extra breathing room was essential. Once I graduated, I decided to temporarily forsake the monitoring of my habits and productivity and deleted the apps and spreadsheets that I used while I was in Ecuador. I instead focused on delving into the culture of Quito and reading some reads in Spanish. Within the next week I’m planning on going to a cafe and plan for future habits, productivity measurement, personal development, schedules during a power session–stay tuned.
My 2017 words
At the start of this year, I decided that my three words to guide my choices would be: persistence, go, and breathe. These words have definitely resonated in several ways. I felt as of my whole year (until recently, maybe due to reset mode?) has been driven by persistence. My final semester of college, I persisted despite the struggles and scary reality of graduating and passing, of anxiously moving forward, and my unclear summer plans. Go goes hand-in-hand with persistence, it’s what fueled everything and drove me forward to really successfully and proudly graduate. Additionally, go was what drove me to travel, to stray from the comfort of home, family, and friends. Lastly, breathe, was something that I focused almost entirely on while I was in Ecuador. I spent a lot of my time in awe that I felt so present and calm with my decision to be there and my everyday decisions while I was there. I woke up early and breathed and watched the sunrise and would go to sleep early, physically exhausted but so content. I know that for the remainder of this year, these words will need to re-manifest in appropriate ways as my life changes.
This is mostly for my benefit. I worked out, ate great food, read, reviewed French grammar, my instagram account seems vaguely like a travel account and I’m not sure how I feel about that, figured out my hobbies and plotted for new adult hobbies to take on, reconnected with new and old friends, and travelled and saw a whole lot more of the world and nature.
I speak from such a place of privilege, which is really something that has been heavy on my mind all summer. Especially when I’ve been insta-bragging and posting extravagant pictures from extravagant locations. That has not been lost on me. I’ve never spent this much time traveling and boasting about it–all my life, travel has really been a yearly treat. It seems as if going forward, it will become normal for me. I am grateful for these opportunities but I never want it to be lost on me that this is an enormous privilege that I can never take lightly and I hope to share with others. Additionally, I am looking to offset the climate impact of taking so many flights. Gratitude is something I carry everyday and taking anything that life has given me for granted is a great concern. Life has been kind to me.
Currently, I’m only holiday with my family in Antigua. Spending my last bit of time emotionally, physically, and emotionally relaxing and resetting in preparation for a hectic transition–that will hopefully be accomplished with grace. My reset mostly consists of sun, sunscreen, books, planning, and blogging.
What’s been on my radar?
Movies–Wind River. 10/10 would recommend (and maybe should write a review concerning it, because it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while) (but I also recognize the many ways in which it was problematic and triggering and this is my perspective as a Non-Native Person)
Other–probiotics, cardio kickboxing and skipping rope, Harlem, elastic workout bands, hiking, and mostly plotting future travels
- Finding an apartment (something I’m perfectly dreading)
- Best transitioning to my first full-time position. Looking forward to professional development !
- Figuring out to align my values so that my work is purpose-driven (or at least, complemented by it)
- Adjusting to work/life balance
- Continuous mentorship !
- Joining a new neighborhood and becoming a member of a new community
- Refining, progressing, and developing my passions, ideals, beliefs, and activism and hopefully inspiring others similarly
- Living a life that is fueled by sustainability, activism, direct action, love, fitness, and professional development