Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Paper Cranes

On Friday afternoon I found myself 30 minutes away from getting off work and sitting at my desk making a paper crane. Really?!?! I had a very productive, albeit a slow day on Friday, but nonetheless productive. I crossed several things off of my list. I organized my desk. I completed a few personal “art projects,” I gave a campus tour, and I helped to solve a few office paperwork mysteries. Yep, it was a productive day but as 4:15 approached, I could feel myself counting the seconds to when I could officially leave early to run an errand for the office and then head down to Renton to meet a friend for dinner. So there I sat at my desk folding yellow paper into a beautiful crane.

I wonder how much time I spend in a day just wasting away.

In high school my mom gave me a keychain that read, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” I have used this keychain ever since and surprisingly it has held up well. (I‘m not very gentle with my keys and many of my fun keychains have not even lasted a week.) I love this quote – and the keychain. I love the personality that it represents. My mom gave it to me I am a huge procrastinator. Well, I used to be – I have gotten a lot better as I’ve “grown up,” but I still put things off as much as I can. I’ve always been responsible and things get done, they just get done at the last minute. This can be stressful for some people, but I thrive in that type of atmosphere. It gives me the push I need to complete a task.

While the keychain may have started out as a joke between me and my mom, it has developed into a sort of subconscious mission statement as I reflect on my upcoming plans. (Yes, I know I talk about my new adventure a lot, but it’s what is on my mind, so there!)

When I tell people about my plans I am greeted with one of two general ideas of thought, even if they don’t say it, I can see it in their eyes. The initial reaction is either a “Wow, that sounds like an incredible and exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to hear more about it” type of response or I’m met with a deer in the headlights look and the equal reply of “Can you afford that? What will you do when you get back to the US? You shouldn’t go alone, that’s unsafe – you’d better take someone with you.” I’d say it’s about 50/50 which response I will get but I usually know going into the conversation what is going to come out of it. (People are so predictable J)

I guess what it all comes down to is that some people may think that taking a year off of “real life” to travel is a waste of time and dangerous. But there are just as many people who would say that experiencing something like this is what real life is all about.

About a year ago, my dad told me that he was excited because he was finally living out his “somedays.” He had worked hard his whole life (and still does work very hard) and was now able to reap the reward by experiencing the things he had always said he would do someday. I think that is fantastic and wonderful and something great to look forward to, but I also want to enjoy my life while it is happening. I don’t want to always be waiting for the next thing to come down the line. I don’t want to have everything put in the “someday” category. It’s good to have goals and something to look forward to, but I think it’s also good to have experiences when you are young to propel you through life.

I don’t want to sit at a job making paper cranes day after day after day just waiting for the seconds to melt away until I can go out and live my real life. I want to enjoy and experience life as it happens. I want todays and somedays, but I want a healthy mix of both.

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