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Month: December 2016

Thinking Adventure, Near and Far

Thinking Adventure, Near and Far

One element of blogs that I particularly appreciate is their ability to inspire. I read blogs for new ideas–ideas on being more thoughtful and aware, about building healthy habits, and for adventures I might down the road. But looking at blogs from the other side, as the author, I’ve found that blogging helps to inspire my own thoughts, actions, and dreams.

So, I’m using this blog to fuel my sense of adventure. Small, big, near, far. There is just as much to be said about taking an extra half-hour to drive around Middlebury, eyes open to finding some new detail about a place I know so well, as there is about planning a vacation to a foreign country, eager to discover new sites and culture while simultaneously reinvigorating an appreciate for “home.” And if I know that I have a space to share my findings, I will be more likely to seek the adventure in the first place.

There are secondary benefits, too. A side effect of being more open to adventures is a general increase in one’s propensity to say “yes.” Though one of my goals with this project is to better appreciate the best elements of my Middlebury experience, I am also more willing than ever to try new things. All it takes is a simple “yes” to find a new interest, make a new friend, or impact someone else in a positive way.

With all that said, I would like to highlight a few future adventures about which I’m particularly excited.

  • Following J-Term, Maddie and I are traveling to Oslo, Norway for a week of cross country skiing and world-class coffee. We will find plenty of other parts of Oslo to appreciate, but those two are shared passions of ours. Neither of us have been before, nor have we left the country together.
  • At the end of February (contingent on snow conditions), I am going to race in the Stowe Derby, a cross country ski extravaganza that takes participants from the top of Mt. Mansfield down into the town of Stowe, 20 km in all. I have never raced on skis before, but this feels like an aptly goofy way to begin.
  • I am still brainstorming and considering options, but I know I will be doing a significant amount of traveling following graduation (Memorial Day weekend) before I move to New York and begin my job in August. I was able to travel for two weeks at the beginning of last summer, and it was the perfect buffer between challenging academics and a working environment. I think the same will apply this year.

I look forward to my adventures, near and far. I look forward to sharing big ideas and small details. And I look forward to saying “yes” at every opportunity.

Home for the Holidays (Official Launch)

Home for the Holidays (Official Launch)

The fall semester is over and I can finally breathe a little easier. Every semester has tested me in a variety of ways, and this one was no different. But it felt unique. Perhaps it was just a matter of being a senior; perhaps it was the extra attention I gave to my senior soccer season; perhaps it was the new types of classes that I took; perhaps it was the feeling that I needed to devote every spare moment to networking and job applications.

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, this semester felt like more of a journey than others. It was a journey worth taking, that’s for certain. I experienced my most fulfilling soccer season yet, I found a deep appreciation for healthcare–a career path I would like to pursue longterm, I became an “expert” on Alistair MacLeod and got a head start on my critical thesis in the process, and I landed a job – distilling the daunting task of establishing myself in the “real world” down to succeeding in my junior analyst role at Landmark Management beginning August 2017. These new discoveries and cherished experiences make me proud of all that I accomplished this semester.

And yet, as I reflect in this post, I realize that I am only beginning. I imagined this blog in October, and now I am ready to officially launch it. Despite the perceived success of this past semester, I have so many questions and mixed feelings swirling around me as I enter “the home stretch” of my Middlebury career. The opportunities to explore and to meditate on those adventures through this blog excite me, but I fear taking my days for granted as I move towards graduation and a new life outside of Vermont.

With J-Term approaching and a spring semester that primarily involves independent thesis work, plus the fact that I will not be spending time focused on soccer or on the job search, I know I have an opportunity to make the most of my final months in Vermont. It will be a blast, if I am up for it. Whatever the outcome, I want to capture and savor as many moments as possible in this blog.

I will also continue to add to other elements of this site. The Mapping, Portfolio, Featured Items, and Gallery sections are repositories for my thoughts and creations that do not fit cleanly into a blog format, but they are as meaningful to me as these posts.

As I officially launch this blog, I will end with this thought. I WOULD BE TRUE is a nod to a longstanding aspiration of mine – to always be true to myself. There have been few times in my when I have found achieving this goal possible, but I truly believe that the next six months will be one of them. If I can utilize this blog to be mindful in my thoughts and actions, then I will be true.

An Evening With Billy Collins

An Evening With Billy Collins

I was fortunate to spend an evening with Billy Collins during the fall semester’s  last week of classes. His reading filled Mead Chapel, and some of the most interested of us were able to attend a dinner with him afterwards.

I appreciated his unabashed admittance that poetry is an art form for the privileged. Yet, this understanding allows his poetry to feel so natural – simply because he does not attempts to subvert or disregard its limitations. Collins works within the form so naturally that his voice comes through in every line.

The cadence and pacing of his reading was wonderful, and his humility was apparent throughout. And yet, I could tell there is a fierce passion behind the self-deprecating humor. It is a desire to tell a story in a few simple lines – and to have that story stick.

This one in particular stuck with me. It is a gentle reminder to be humble and to accept love.

A DOG ON HIS MASTER

As young as I look,

I am growing older faster than he,

seven to one

is the ratio they tend to say.

Whatever the number,

I will pass him one day

and take the lead

the way I do on our walks in the woods.

And if this ever manages

to cross his mind,

it would be the sweetest

shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.

(from Ballistics: Poems, Random House, 2010)

Early Winter Vibes

Early Winter Vibes

Finals week usually offers only endless hours in the library, but this morning I made my first visit of the winter to Sugarbush for some fresh tracks. Six inches of power up top and the thrill of un-skied glades off of Paradise. This winter is already topping last year, but I’m happy that my skiing adventures are just beginning. Mt. Van Hoevenberg twice this past weekend for Nordic, Sugarbush today, and a planned Craftsbury trip for Wednesdsay.

The next adventure, that glimmer of hope in bleakness, inspires me to continue moving forward.

 

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