17 June 2008

Me, Only Better

Since I finished grad school, I've been feeling a bit, well, stuck. I'm a dreamer. I always have these big goals and ambitions and dreams to chase. But I was so focused on getting through grad school in one piece - taking a full course load, working, being young and fabulous in the city, and surviving a semester of mono took all my attention - that I forgot to make dreams and plans for after grad school. So now I'm six months out of grad school, watching my friends all take off and start grand adventures of their own, and I'm stuck. Totally a typical twenty-something. No clue what I want to do now or where I want to go, just this screaming awareness that this isn't what I want.

So, I started thinking. There's no way I'm going to magically come up with an answer for what I want to do or where I want to go overnight. I know a few basic truths - I love international affairs, I am not a diplomat, I love asking the question "why," I want to travel and see the world for myself, and I want to make a difference somehow, someway.

I have a notebook tucked away in my closet that I've had since high school. Every now and again, I pull it out and either re-read it or add to it. It is a collection of quotes and sayings and random insights I've overheard that have had an impact on me. I was re-reading the notebook a few weeks back and came across the following:
"We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become."
It struck a chord.

I've been looking for a way to make a difference in the world. Perhaps, the best way to do that is to make a difference in myself.

My birthday is coming up. I'll officially be entering that point where I'm no longer a young adult, but an actual adult. So, instead of looking back in amazement at how much my life has and has not changed in the past year, and instead of looking forward with grandiose, fleeting dreams for how my life could change in the next year, I'm going to work on changing myself.

I like myself. But I think I could be me, only better. So, every day, for the next year, starting on my birthday, I am going to make it a point of challenging myself in some way, every day. Some of the challenges may be minor, such as finding that perfect shade of lipstick or talking to someone new; some of the challenges may be things I need to do anyway, like finding an apartment once my current lease is up; some challenges may be on-going challenges, like reducing my carbon footprint; and others may be wild, one-time-only, just for the hell of it challenges, which WILL include something like skydiving. The hope is, this time next year, I'll look back at all the ways I've challenged and improved myself and realize that I've also made a difference somewhere, somehow.

Or, at the very least, perhaps it will light the fire I need in order to figure out just what the hell I want to do and where I want to go with the rest of my life.

For the rest of you, I've no doubt that some of these challenges will provide you with hours of comedic amusement. Especially any challenges that require my use of hand-eye coordination or athletic ability.