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Precious Life

As most of you know, I have taken a job in New York City as an School Designer, working for NYC Outward Bound Schools.  Which basically means that I will be supporting schools in NYC that are implementing the Expeditionary Learning Schools model.  Does it sound like the dream job for me?  Yep, pretty much.

But, 4 months ago — if you had asked me if I was gong to move to NYC – I would have told you a resounding ‘hell no‘ and told you about opportunities in India.  Or even 3 months ago, I would have told you about how I needed to be in Peru.

In fact, those who have known me longest have laughed – OUT LOUD (usually followed by a ‘no fucking way!?’) – when I tell them I am moving to NYC.

So – what happened and how did I end up here?

sunset in Southern India

During my last month of travel, in Peru, I kept coming back to the Mary Oliver quote:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?

So much had happened during my travels — so much in my thoughts and outlook on life.  I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Renaissance, but what was the next step?  Where to go next?

During my travels, I sat and thought a lot.  I mean, to the point of it being a little ridiculous.  What did you do while traveling?  Um, I thought.  I wrote.  I thought some more.  And of course, I went out and lived.  I climbed, I trekked, I sat in plazas, I tried new food.  I practiced my spanish, I got stared at a lot.  I met some amazing people.  I rode trains and buses and rickshaws.  I was scared and lonely.  I smiled at strangers.  I gradually let down my walls and opened up to the world.

And as time went on, I could feel myself change.  I could sense the openness and courage – when I wasn’t so scared to try new things.  When I became comfortable in my own skin and started to love traveling by myself.  When I loved sharing a laugh with a stranger.  When I was so authentically and truly myself with other people.  And it was beautiful and wonderful and made me laugh and smile at the world.

As I sensed this change, I cherished it.  And became terrified to loose it.  So, I started to name the kind of life I wanted to live.  Like a sculptor working with clay, I took the amorphous blob of stuff and started to give it form and shape, dimensions and depth.  And slowly, out of the jumble of ideas, I started to give shape to the exact life I wanted to live.  And on of the biggest ideas that I kept coming back to was this:  I do not want to live a mediocre life.  I do not want to sacrifice my happiness.

In this one ‘wild and precious life’, I want greatness and beauty and adventure and love.

Adventure.  It kept coming back to that – how alive I felt staring out to the train as I traveled down the Indian coast.  How alive I felt trekking through Patagonia.  How alive I felt sitting in the plaza at sunset in Cusco.  And so I knew, there was no other way for me to live my life from now on – adventure had to be part of it.

So, when the opportunity for New York City came up – though it not the wilderness I crave – it is certainly the wildnessI crave.  As I started to think about it, I realized that this, too, would be an adventure.

Ho Chi Minh City at night

And so, having a new-found courage in my ability to take on adventures and figure out how to navigate the world — I am ready to try this new adventure.  So, here I am – figuring it out, learning how to get around.

My travels will be limited from now on — getting from Brooklyn to Staten Island.  Manhattan to Queens.  But, I think that the adventures will be just as rich and just as important in my journey.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. I hope that your cravings for adventure will be satisfied!

    August 5, 2012
  2. Lisa Schwarz #

    Aurora,
    Life is full of wonderful surprises and I wish you a wonderful journey in NY! My daughter Casey lives in Brooklyn and loves it. . . hope to see you this fall.

    August 5, 2012
    • yay lisa! cannot wait to see you when you come down to visit Casey! 🙂

      August 5, 2012
  3. Mary Lou Reid #

    You sound happy. You’ve created your own luck. Congratulations and best wishes…We never did get that lunch…but someday…

    August 6, 2012
  4. You are such an inspiration. I am cheering for you in this next adventure.

    August 6, 2012
  5. A #

    It is great that you found your dream job 🙂 I always feel the same way, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to do that, and then somehow I fall into something else that really is a better fit anyway. I will have to read more of your site and see how your adventure in NYC played out of the year…

    September 5, 2013
    • Yes – it’s totally a great job! though of course the winds of change blow strong and I want to go out and play…. 🙂

      September 6, 2013

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