Monday, August 24, 2015

Looking Back Happily

I have dreams, but I have memories and fears too. 

Driving through the Adirondack Park on an audit route this weekend, I found myself passing through Old Forge. Old Forge, the place of many summer family getaways, canoeing on the rivers and lodging in mini log cabins and bed and breakfasts. 

They all started the same. Mom and Dad would pack frantically, at the last minute as was with everything, while my little brother Kamryn and I would gather our books and DVDs. Mom and Dad would load up her green Mercedes SUV, while Kamryn and I would bicker about which side of the car (Mom's or Dad's) each would sit on. A strange premonition of the split my family would suffer only a few short years later. Finally ready, we launched. Soon we would arrive, greeted by log cabins in miniature. 

Those were happy days. Those were filled with wonder, as sparks floated out of camp fires like red hot fireflies. Those days were filled with stories, memories, learning, experiencing. Many times we would emerge from our cabin to find deer grazing around the clearing. Approaching slowly we were able to feed and pet the desensitized creatures while mom looked on, camera in hand. 

Dad had never been an adventurous person, so naturally Mom would take us in the canoes. I remember paddling with her as Kamryn lazed around as if we were servants, as she told us stories about how wild rice was harvested from rivers just like this one fourteen hundred miles away in her native land of Minnesota. 

I've wanted to go back, relive some memories, see some spots, but I hadn't gotten the chance. Unfortunately for me, I was working past dark so seeing places wasn't a possibility this weekend. But on my way there I was struck by how beautiful it is in that area. I pulled over by a small lake to take in the sunset and I realized how blessed I am to live in this beautiful State in which world renown cities cohabitate with hidden beauty such as this. 

I've been thinking a lot lately, initiated by the changes about to happen. Thoughts and memories, both hopeful and morose, have plagued my conscious. Memories of my mother and the relationship I wish I could have with her, worries about my father and his prospect once I move out, regrets based on my lack of presence in Kamryn's life... I know that it's not that I don't care, but that I am not about to let things that I cannot control ruin my future. I'm moving to a bright new promising city, into an apartment of my own. This alone is enough to make me cry with joy. As I went shopping for decor and household items I found my eyes welling up in TJMaxx, realizing that this was the first time that I was making these decisions and choices and advancements on my own. I realized that I was free. I'm an adult. This is my life and I'm building it. I've finally broken from the prison I lived in for so long, living under other people's expectations and realizing that the only ones that mattered were my own and God's. 

This is my life. Not Mom's, not yours, not anyone else's. And I like it like that. 

Monday, August 17, 2015


A lot has been going on in my life lately, and I apologize for not writing for you. I hope you'll understand.

Ever since I came back from the convent, I had dreams of moving down to Albany, starting over, and making a life for myself. Dreams faded once I got my job in Warren County, doing medical billing and A/R. I settled. I settled because I had to. I had nothing to my name but a car and my laptop. I needed a job, and that one seemed like it would do. I took it. I learned it. I mastered it. I loved it. In only five months I had even broke out of the confines of my job description, becoming the sole translator for our many Spanish-speaking patients. I became a sort of a go-to person on my team, answering questions and assisting my coworkers. Far from the top, I at least had a view from somewhere except the bottom. I was making my way.

But it wasn't my dream.

My dream isn't to live in this area. My dream isn't to live with my dad in an apartment in Glens Falls. My dream isn't to stay here. I need to spread some wings. These wings have been folded for so long. Can they still fly?

Climbing the ladder, her breathing quickened...

Stretching out, ever so slowly, I began to look. Just look. 

I crept to the edge of the diving board, peeking over...

An opportunity. I have learned that passing up an opportunity is never a good idea. Take every chance you get. If you don't you'll never advance. So I took this opportunity. An opportunity to live closer to Albany, my destination. I looked at an apartment, talked specs, and signed the lease in one day. I knew if I passed it up, I wouldn't get it back.

Bending knees, she prepared to leap...

OK. I have a place to live near there. Now to find a place to work, to thrive, to climb, to succeed.

I applied. Again and again. Silence for a few days, then calls came in. Three interviews later and I have an offer for employment, a job that will allow me to assist patients and use my knowledge and love of Spanish.

A moment of hesitation, the board quivers...

I got a phone call today, from a lady I met at the Spanish Mass in Albany. You see, I've been trying to expand my horizons. I want to meet new people, make friends, and thrive. You see, that's part of my dream too. So she called me, and we spoke (in Spanish, por supuesto) for a while. She invited me to a women's group that meets after Mass on some Sundays. A great opportunity to meet new people, grow in a community, and learn some Spanish while doing it. I agreed.

Toes curl around the edge of the board...

When I told a wise coworker of mine that I had put in my 2-week notice and was leaving for Albany, she hugged me and shared with me her advice. All of her advice was amazing. One thing really stuck with me. Always say yes. Say yes to everything. A similarly wise person (although in perhaps a different way) once said, "opportunities come once in a lifetime, yo." I refuse to watch them float by. I will jump at a chance to make my dream happen. I will leap towards any step that is even an inch higher. I refuse to be left behind. I started from zero in December and I refuse to be a sob story in the end.


I recently remembered a song that I fell in love with a few years back that holds some special memories for me. One particular memory above others. Driving from Huletts Landing back south, over mountains and over Lake Champlain... The view was majestic, the scenery smelled of heaven. I'll be honest. Listening to this song, the lyrics can't be made out. Here's a tip. Don't look them up. Just think of this. Driving over these mountains, seeing the lake and view expand as you crest the hills... You don't know where the road is taking you. You're progressing, trusting, taking your opportunities as they twist and turn. Keep moving. Keep climbing, sink down a little, climb some more. Twisting, winding, where?

This song makes me cry.

I don't know where I'm going. I'm just heading there. Sounds stupid. But it's beautiful.