rewind and recap

Alright, alright, so I haven't exactly held up my end of the "blogger deal" here...I may have been a bit overzealous when I declared daily updates, but hell, a little more than once every couple of months won't kill me!

So much has happened since my last update on Christmas Eve--my perspective on life has been rejuvenated in so many ways since the holiday season ended, but I also feel like I may have taken a few steps back...let's do a quick rewind and recap:

2010 hit me over the head like a frying pan. The discontent with my professional life in Charleston was immediately brought to the forefront as I pondered my resolutions for the fresh year. My goodness, with a new decade upon us, I felt like the typical "I will lose weight" resolution cop-out needed a serious revamp. While by no means am I giving up on shedding a few pounds, there are certainly so many more deeply veined issues and goals that need to be evaluated in Emma's 2010 life...

2010 New Years Resolutions:

1) Emma must seek happiness and fulfillment in her career.

Check! So far, so good--I have made the exciting [and painful] decision to accept a long-term substitute teaching position back in Montgomery County this coming April. Though saddened to alert my employers of my resignation, I could not be happier to have a fresh start in the elementary school classroom.
On top of this wonderful opportunity, I have also developed a business plan with one of my best friends, which will set me lose in the wonderful world of baking. Opening a bakery at 22 years old is a little bold, and a lot expensive, while opening a once-weekly farmer's market stand is bold, yet affordable for us twenty-somethings! Sweets on Earth is projected to open on May 2 at the Main Street Pavillion Market in the Kentlands. It's game on: we are in the midst of obtaining a farmer's market license and membership, while working tirelessly on ironing out our unique menu of classic American desserts with international pizazz!

2) Read and Run, Will Smith style.

The man is right: the key to a healthy lifestyle lies in the ability to accomplish both of these activities frequently throughout the week...once each per day, to be exact. A break here or there isn't detrimental to the focus of this resolution, but achieving a daily routine that reflects both of these actions has provided a healthy structure and enrichment to my day. Happy body, happy mind.

3) Stay positive, stay energetic, laugh about it.

In my line of work, you will find it impossible to survive a day's work without these qualities. As a teacher, this is certain: you lose your optimism, you will lose you energy; you lose your energy, you will lose your laughter. Can you imagine a classroom without those three things? You see, a classroom without any one of these three characteristics is a classroom worth nothing at all. As I strive to follow this resolution at work, it spills over into the rest of my world and leaves me refreshed. With this in mind, I fall asleep with a sense of peace and happiness at night, instead of a mind full of anxiety and negativity.

Speaking of sleep, my eyelids are beginning to slump over these tired eyes. It has been a long day, despite a restful weekend.

More to follow, goodnight goodnight.


settle it now, don't wait until later...

In my most recent "coming of age"--that is, my transition into bonafide adulthood in the big, bad, real world--it has really hit me (pretty hard, actually) how much of the knowledge, advice, and forewarning my parents used to pump into my childhood brain are actually (and conveniently!) true. As kids, we claim to know it all, or, at the very least, claim that we know better than our parents about many of the conflicts, questions, and situations we find ourselves in as youngsters. Especially in those teenage years: I know how to get my homework done on time, I know how to drive a car, I know how to be on my own at beach week...All of this so-called knowledge we posses in these pivotal years of adolescence are stepping stones on the path to adulthood. Each "knowing" is challenged; some survive the tests of the real world, while others fail, and we hopefully spend our precious teenage years ironing out these differences, making adjustments to our failed "knowings" so they may point us toward success. Oddly, many "knowings"--or, intermittently, opinions--that travel with us out of adolescence and into our young adult (collegiate) lives, oftentimes end up on the chopping block as we slip into the shoes that the real world has to offer.

Of late, one "knowing" that shimmied its way through my college career, unaffected by the waves of my studies, is the complexity of time. Do not be mistaken--I know how to tell time, to manage my time, to take my time, to use my time wisely; however, I realize that the true meaning of time is elusive.

time (n): the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past present, or future (courtesy of dictionary.com)

So there it is. In a nutshell, there is past time--the then, present time--the now, and future time--the later. All three share fairly equal importance in my life, as I presume they do in many of my peers. I think of the past to plan for my present and future. I think of my future to plan for my present. And, I think of my present to decide where I would like my future to evolve...

Is your head spinning? Good! Mine is too...

In the frenzy of post-collegiate life--I loved my life in college, I am unsure of my satisfaction at work, I would love to becoming a food writer--I use all three tenses of time to describe the way I am feeling NOW. I ask: Which description should have the most bearing on my overall state-of-being? I am who I am because of my past, I am myself now in my present, but I will also become something different in the future. So many times to choose from, and so little of it to go around!

The answer to this dispute can be answered (or at least mulled over) by listening to the words of my father, who, many times, has insisted on my exposure to Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher who contemplates the consequences that accrue as one neglects his or her focus on the present, the now. Dad's recommendation, once I took the bate, has been an influential tool in recognizing the truth and raw essence of endless situations. Tolle's advice, though terribly challenging to adopt, is the key to understanding our [time] on this earth, and how we can make the most of each day. Though I only recently agreed to test Dad's advice (to challenge my own "knowing"), I am astonished with the truth of Tolle's words: we should practice the power of now because it is the only tense of time that brings us to full consciousness and awareness of our own mind and body. It is the only tense of time that is essential to living. Without consciousness of now, past and future have no basis.

With this thought, I depart: settle it now, don't wait until later. Time is too precious, and the only way to ensure that we live life to the fullest is to take care of it now, to be satisfied now, to be kind and giving now...


always use your blinker...

The career path that I find myself following is perhaps the most profound source of growth for me this year. As the lead teacher of a school program that caters to underprivileged, at-risk middle school students, my eyes have been pried open to an abundance of sobering enlightenment. The fifty-or-so students that swallow my time, energy, and knowledge each afternoon have sent me spiraling through waves of "ups" and "downs," all the while seemingly unaware of the impact they have on my life. I suppose we call these self-indulgent, self-absorbed beings adolescents? To bear witness to the tribulations of "normal" adolescence, paired with the crippling forces that these kids are up against--broken families, drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual abuse, gang violence--has been both heartbreaking (enter: downs...) and moving (enter: ups...). It makes me want to pound my fist when I hear (or, overhear) of the dire situations that my students face; it makes me want to pump my fist when I partake in the progress they make each day. I realize: some may make it to their high school graduation, and others may not. The least I can say is that I tried, that I was a force that challenged their paths...

Needless to say, my thirty-some mile commute back downtown, after work, is a time of reflection (and, of course, filled with the soothing sounds of NPR's All Things Considered and APM's Marketplace)...Today, aside from the knowledge gained from a day's work, I was lucky enough to learn a new, and very valuable piece of information...Deep in thought about today's struggles and successes, I pulled into a small intersection downtown, yielding to oncoming traffic before turning left. Following the break in vehicles, I made my move. Slick. Smooth. Swiftly. Enter: flashing blue lights, a brick of anxiety in my gut, and the ever-dreaded po-po-pull-over. Ughhhhhhh. "Well," says the cop, a thin, pale gentleman, perhaps a few years my senior. "Do you know why I pulled you over?" he asks, dawning a suave, matter-of-fact voice. "No, I'm sorry, sir, but I don't," I respond, trying to flash a charming grin his way. "You turned left onto Calhoun, but didn't use your blinker. I'm going to have to ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance, ma'am." Handing him these items, I shoot him one more smile as he recedes to his car.

Oy vey! Twenty-five minutes later, we depart the scene of my traffic crime, an officially drawn-up warning in my hand (those smiles must have helped!), and some sense of power in his. Twenty-five minutes, right down the drain! To this, I end this evening with today's lesson learned: always use your blinker--just in case. This way, you will be guaranteed to save a precious twenty-five minutes of life, which is a most rewarding gift...


to continue (or rather, to begin...)

The time is 12:55am. The past hour of my life has been spent tinkering with all of the bells and whistles that come with the joy of starting my own "blog." I guess now that I have accrued a "blog," I can renounce the enclosure of " " around the word blog. There is nothing to " " anymore; I am officially a blogger, a comrade of this mysterious, yet paradoxically connected, world of blogs. Let me clarify: the concept of blogging has provided me a source of perpetual curiosity--the idea of mystery, of secrecy behind a blogger's true identity is quite contradictory to the abundance of connectedness, and oftentimes empathy, many people feel as they read into the thoughts and lives of complete and total strangers. But, alas, I have decided that my time has come: I am officially a blogger.

The purpose of this blog is so specific, and yet so complex and vague. Let me try to explain myself...

My life as a young adult has begun. At twenty-two, I have broken away from my comfortable life as a college student, and have set off onto my own path to realize my own potential. At this moment, all of the things I claim to know about myself, my dreams, and the essence of life surrounding me, are being challenged. In all of this fury--a mix of constructive and ill-natured madness--I find myself thinking one thing: I am discovering an incredible amount of fact at an incredibly swift pace. Each day, a new moral or realization shows itself. I form an opinion, a feeling, about something. And each day, I ponder the eminence of recording this rapidly developing awareness of "the real world," for one day, my brain shall become cluttered with an abundance of such information, and I will forget the thoughts that I felt on these pivotal days of my youth. Someday, I will have my own family, my own children, to whom many of these thoughts will be of value. I am no champion of the world, and do not strive to be; but the more I live, the more I think, the more I learn, the more I inescapably seem to know.

To continue the aura of my blog's title, "victuscurious," I hope to do just that: to live with curiosity. To ask questions and gather answers, and to chronicle such happenings.

With this, at 1:41 am, I bid adieu--good night, good night.