Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Thank you and Goodbye, 2011. Welcome, 2012!

Happy New Year!

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for me. My biggest accomplishment was getting a new job. I’ve been in my new position for just over three months and it’s been a huge learning process. I suppose that’s to be expected with any new job though. I don’t know yet that this work will be my life’s passion, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get a lot out of it, which suits me just fine right now.

In retrospect, 2011 was filled with a lot of fun events. It was a great year for diving. I improved significantly and am much more confident in my abilities now. I had a phenomenal trip to NC where I was able to explore WWII ship wrecks and swim with sharks. It was an amazing experience and I’m eagerly anticipating this year’s NC trip. A month later, I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation in SC with my husband, the first since our honeymoon in 2009. I also got to visit friends in Boston, Philly, DC and NH, had a camping trip with friends in June and attended a multi-location wedding celebration in NC and OH for a very good friend. It’s these experiences and the associated memories that come to mind when reflecting on 2011, not all the muck and difficulties that would come up and stress me out throughout the year. I’m pretty pleased with that realization.

I have big hopes for 2012. As per my usual practice, I’m not really focused on making resolutions. But I am trying to be aware of what I can change in my life to make it even better than last year.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2012. May it be filled with happiness, health, love and ice cream.

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1st Anniversary Repost: The Best Laid Plans…

Our View From Here is one year old! In celebration of this occasion, we’re reposting our favorite post from the last year! Enjoy!

I’m a planner. When I graduated high school, I had a plan. I was going to Penn State, where I was going to study kinesiology for a few years. After I got most of my general education credits under my belt, I was planning on transferring to Slippery Rock University (yes, this is an actual college) to become a physical therapist.

I diligently followed my plan…for a semester. I learned all about pronation and supination and realized kinesiology was not the field of study for me. To be honest, I’m really not sure where this interest came from initially. I have never utilized a physical therapist; I wasn’t athletic. In fact, I think my sole experience with physical therapy came from listening to my dad grumble about doing his after his hip replacement surgery. After a mini-crisis of trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, I settled on going back to my volunteering roots. I began volunteering with the Red Cross and decided to major in Business Management, like my supervisor did, so I could go eventually be a manager at a nonprofit. Eleven years later and I’m finally a Program Manager at a nonprofit foundation. This is one of the few aspects of my life plan that seem to have come to pass.

Had someone told me back then that in just a few short years, camping and hiking would be among my favorite pastimes, I would be skeptical, but I could concede that it was possible. Had the same person told me that in a few years after that, I would enjoy skiing so much that I would go out and buy my own equipment I would have probably had a bit of a chuckle. Finally, if someone told me that in 10 years I would have started scuba diving and be well on my way to finishing up several advanced certification courses, I would have nodded and smiled politely, while slowly backing away, for fear I was speaking to a complete nutjob who could go postal on me at any moment. But alas, here I am, looking forlornly at the skis I bought this season but probably won’t have a chance to try out. In my work bag is a course book to teach me how to dive with enriched air, rather than regular 21% oxygen air. And I’ve been working with friends to coordinate our schedules for a camping trip in June. I have one person to blame for all of this, my husband, Darren.

Us, several years ago

Darren first went camping before he was a year old. He is an Eagle Scout (that’s the highest level of Boy Scout) and has been skiing for over half his life. The scuba is new, but an interest he’s had for years. He finally convinced me to take the class too, and I have to admit, it was nice to learn something together, rather than always being two steps behind. The point of this post isn’t to pay homage to Darren, the outdoor Adventure-Boy (though I happen to think he’s pretty swell). No, the point I’m trying to get across is that I think it’s important to have someone in your life that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Someone who can challenge you to do things you might not otherwise do. For me, it happens to be Darren, but I don’t think it needs to be a significant other – a good friend, a relative, even an arch-nemesis can fulfill the role. Whomever it may be, the trick is to find that person, and let them push you, because you might find there’s a whole lot of fun to be had once you do.

As I was writing this post, the song from the below video popped in my head. I have no idea if it makes sense, or is completely antithetical to my point. I read comments from others about the meaning of the song and the comments ran the spectrum from “live life to the fullest” to “you’re going to wake up in 20 years and regret your life.” Since no one else seems to know what it means either, I’m just going to go with it. At least it’s catchy.

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Rest in Peace, 20s

As you sit here reading this (presuming you’re reading this on Thursday), I am a mere one day from turning 30. The end of my twenties has come. Part of me feels like this should be a momentous occasion, like the passing of my twenties is some great rite of passage or signifies the death of my youth. I can’t honestly say that I’m all that fussed though.  It helps that all but a few friends have already turned 30, most by at least a year. Getting older is easy when you’re still the baby of the group.

Turning 30 is a bit surreal I suppose. For one, it sounds much older than 29.  It also seems like when you turn 30, you’re really an adult (though looking again at my friends, I’m not sure where I got that impression from). For me, and for most of my friends, our twenties were a time to go to college, have fun and figure out what we were doing with our lives. At 30, the assumption seems to be that you should at least have a life plan – know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. I can’t honestly state that I’ve achieved that yet. Work is going fine but I can’t really see myself doing this for the rest of my life. But at the same time, I’m not sure what else I would do. It just seems like for all my education and everything I’ve done, I should have that figured out by now. Looking around though, it seems at least that I’m in good company.

It also doesn’t help to compare myself to the previous generation. By the time my mom was 30, she had been married for several years, had my sister and I was already two. She had a nice, two-story, three bedroom house with a big yard and my sister and I didn’t really want for anything. By comparison, I have a small 2 bedroom condo with no yard space, which my husband technically bought, and I can’t keep a plant alive –I don’t even want to think about kids. On the other hand, I’ve been able to travel and do a lot of things she couldn’t because she had the house and kids. Life’s a trade-off I suppose.

As I watch the remaining hours of my twenties drift away, I’ve grown contemplative. I had an absolute blast during my twenties. Sure, there were bumps and hiccups along the way, but in 10 years, I studied abroad in Australia, finished college, moved to a new state, started my career, bought a house, started and finished a masters degree, got married and had found new loves in camping, skiing and scuba diving. All things considered, not too shabby a way to spend 10 years. Here’s hoping the next 10 are just as good, if not better!

Here's lookin' at you, kid

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