So a few months ago, I was going through a midyear crisis and freaking out about my future. It was a grueling process where I basically thought about every opportunity there is out there for me to do. When I say every, I basically mean every! I looked into international volunteer programs, working on a cruise ship, grad school, AmeriCorps, LVC again, jobs in the Bay Area, jobs in the LA area, other volunteer programs in all parts of the country, and last but not least, doing nothing at all.
Somehow I got so caught up in the planning of my plans that I forgot to sit and be in Baltimore. My roommate sent me this amazing quote, which really got me thinking…
Most of us spend so much time thinking about where we have been or where we are supposed to be going that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are. When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives, the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say, "Here, I guess, since this is where I am."
Barbara Brown Taylor
An Altar in the World
But no matter what I want, life has to have some sort of plan, even if its who’s couch am I sleeping on next. So for all of those who read this… which would be me, my plan is to move in with my grandmother is Southern California and start pursuing a job in the non-profit world, hopefully a Girl Scout Council is hiring or a donor relations type thingy job is available in the LA area, but really who knows…
I did apply to LVC and I got in for a second year- so please enjoy my ravishing letter of intent as to why I thought I wanted to do LVC again…
Letter of Intent:
I would like to do LVC for a second year in a different placement because I think there is still more I can get out of the experience.
The LVC lifestyle is completely different from where I was a year ago. I lived in my own apartment, ate out at restaurants every night, and took for granted my surroundings. This year has been completely different for me in just about every aspect of my life. I’m in a new place where for once I’m the outsider. There are no rules on how you’re supposed to let the bus driver when you need to get off, there’s not map of where you’re going next, and there’s definitely no one to tell you the proper way to cross a busy intersection. I’ve had to learn the ups and the downs of living in a new city, and even though sometimes it seems scary, it has been a great learning experience thus far.
Living in community has also been challenging, but for the best. It wasn’t easy for five people to adjust to not only new lives in the city but new routines in the home. I have often heard myself tell my coworkers that, “things at my house are great, we have our problems but things could be worse.” The general responses are, “you live with 4 women and 1 bathroom, that’s doing amazing!” But I have found beauty in this day to day madness. It’s a part of the experience that really keeps me going; from the happy greetings when I return home or someone’s willingness to help with chores because they are having a good day are really what have made my LVC experience most worthwhile. I have really come to appreciate the meals we share together after work where we discuss the hot topics of Baltimore.
I could write for hours the benefits of living in community from the emotional support to the way we can actually afford to feed ourselves on what seems like not enough money. But I have to be realistic, if I were to do a second year of LVC, would I be expecting the same things out of my community? Would I be willing to change the way I think this year and how I’m comfortable doing things? The answer, which I have thought through time and again, has been yes. I’ve had the opportunity to live with a second year volunteer and I saw the first couple days of orientation what she was going through and when we arrived at our new home. She came out the other side appreciating the changes that were made in her day to day routine.
If I were to living in a new community I would be ready for the challenges it faces. I would be excited to change things up and do things differently. There is no right way to do community and I would be excited to attempt it again. During my city coordinator interview I was asked if I would be tired after a year of service when it was time to do orientation again, and yes I probably will be tired from moving my life cross country and saying my last good byes in Baltimore, but the idea of something new is exciting and that would be enough for me to have energy to do it all over again.
I hope I have the opportunity to learn the ways of a new city. I hope to be scared like I was the first few weeks in Baltimore. I’m excited for the opportunity to do something new and different while still living this lifestyle that I have grown to appreciate and want to experience more of.
But here’s the thing, I won’t be in Baltimore next year, which really makes me sad. But that really means I have to live in the now and appreciate what I have going on here. I’ve made amazing friends, I love my job and have a few great events going on, and the weather is about to be beautiful! I’m pretty sure the next 5 months are going to fly by, but I’m okay with that, because I will be doing my best to appreciate them.
In the next few months, I will be really practicing how I can take what I’ve learned from LVC such as composting and making my own cleaning supplies and really start being intentional about bringing this over into the next steps in my life.
Okay, the next blog I promise will be about something I’ve actually done, not a philosophical life freak out.