Friday, March 12, 2010

Responsibility is Overrated

I keep telling myself that my Friday afternoons in the library are productive. Who spends Friday afternoon in a library? I must be an exemplary student. At least that's the little white lie I've ingrained into my head. In reality, though, I'm getting absolutely nothing done. Instead I'm staring at the lake; the smooth, beautiful, frozen land perfection that I've yet to explore this year.

This past week I've been overtaken with an intense need to "figure things out". As a general rule, arriving and going is my preferred method of living, but I guess that's not how the real world works. At least that's not how the worlds of my trusted adult advisers work. Although, I also feel like said advisers have a severe case of bipolarism. One day they're encouraging me to "follow your dreams" and "do what you think is right". The next it's all about "being responsible" and "securing your place in the working world". I like option 'A' better.

This summer I want to travel to the Dominican Republic for a month long volunteer project through Orphanage Outreach. This summer I will also officially have run out of money. The program has three sessions, May-June, June-July, and July-August. Ideally I'd like the May-June session for multiple reasons, the most socially accepted being that job hunting should be easier if "Oh hey, by the way, I'll be leaving for a month in the middle of the summer along with quitting once school starts back up again in the fall. That's not inconvenient for you, is it?" isn't part of my interview process. I'd also be giving up a net total of 2.5 months summer income, and missing my sister's high school graduation (the latter I'm not too concerned with, although apparently I should be. She's a big girl, she'll survive.).

The whole money thing doesn't actually concern me. I already owe the government copious amounts of money, and if you consider the spectacular amount of debt I'll be one once I finish grad school, what's a couple extra thousand dollars? I'm financially responsible for myself and my why does the parental guilt still get into my head? I know I won't regret going, that is the one thing I am sure of. Gah...I don't want to have to fight to achieve this. I want it to be figured out for me and to have someone tell me where to go and when and have a nice trip don't forget to drink bottled water.

Then I need a job. I real job. A grown up job. Actually, now that I think about it, this is the only thing that I really want to have figured out. I've given up all hope of making a profit this summer and my only goal is to come close to breaking even with the total cost of the volunteer trip (trip cost + money I could have been earning). Sometimes I wish that I could coast through life and simply call up Mommy and Daddy whenever I needed more money for my frivolous entertainment. That’s a complete lie, I don’t wish that at all; but still, on occasion I can see its benefits.

That can be my new Lenten promise: no spending money apart from laundry and necessary groceries. (I started with giving up candy, but that was an epic fail if I’ve ever seen one.) We’ll see how this one goes.

A friend recently emailed me asking for a few sentences in response to a question to help her with an Anthropology project. Q: What do you want from life? A: To live in the moment, have a peaceful mind, and be seriously injured doing something thrilling. To have no fear, no grudges, and no regrets. To smile every day and have stories to tell when I'm old. But, for the sake of only a few sentences, most importantly, to have a positive impact on someone's life, so that my time here will have been truly worthwhile.

I can’t let myself down, can I?

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