March 2012 – May 2012: My home and community of the past 4 years gave me final preparation for the “real world”. I experienced life as an entrepreneur, forcing me to set my own priorities, schedule, and workload. Simultaneously, I enjoyed freedom from homework and classes that fought to consume my time. In the midst of these changes, I realized the joy of working for a purpose (or two) you’re deeply passionate about, and how that joy surpasses all other desires. I guess that’s why they say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. For me, these months provided a vision of what the ideal life could/should look like—some may refer to this as retirement, others just a different lifestyle design.
May 2012 – July 2012: A beautiful country in the Caribbean beckoned me. I learned that many people want to support individuals pursuing their passions, especially when it’s meant to create positive change in the world (the goal was reached and the car is still used regularly in the community). In a brief 6 weeks, I realized first-hand that the greatest changemakers in the world aren’t always the ones getting covered by the press. I met people who struggle daily due to variables outside of their control, and others that have committed their lives to creating opportunities for those disadvantaged. Furthermore, a dear friend taught me (by evidence of my own tears) the harmony of living in a community that loves and appreciates you deeply.
July 2012 – March 2013: Change taught me that it’s not always an easy partner. Alumni status began to embrace meaning for me. I experienced life in a suitcase as I traveled for work nearly weekly, and encountered the perks and drawbacks of such a lifestyle. My idea(s) of Corporate America started to rest on experiences rather than hypotheses, including the pros, the cons, and everything in-between. The effort required to keep meaningful relationships, the challenges in maintaining long-distance relationships (not romantic), and the importance of family/community became increasingly apparent. In all of this, I’ve been learning how to balance patience with passion, while exploring ways to satisfy the longings of my heart and the advice of my mind in unison.
Out of the pond and into the ocean, age 23 should be a year of continued growth and development, along with adaptation. I’m excited to continue exploring this mostly unchartered territory.
A question to my readers: in what ways have you changed this past year and what lessons have you learned?