It’s been a busy two weeks of study, mountain biking, hiking, and trying to stay ahead of the edge I fear but have yet to meet. Thanksgiving Day is almost here and I am happy. I’ve taken huge risks and gambled everything. Life is good. It’s not fair and I know it. There are much better people than I who have had their lives cruelly interrupted by health issues or other misfortune beyond their control. Many others are more thankful than me. And it’s not just college that I’m thankful for—I’ve been given north of $50,000 in scholarships and grants, the majority of this amount from individual donors. Many small events have influenced my life in profound ways.
I remember being “forced” to do the things I loathed as a young person, the things others didn’t have to do: taking out trash, making my bed every single morning, washing dishes almost every day, stacking firewood, pulling weeds for long hours in the hot sun, shoveling pig pens, machining wood parts within thousandths of inch tolerances, biking to school on bitter winter days… the list could go on and on. Later, it was carrying six two-by-sixes when I only wanted to carry three at a time, staying on a 14:12 pitch roof forty feet off the ground in sub-freezing weather, laying pipe in the bottom of a muddy ditch, rewiring a burned-out truck engine, unplugging public sewer pipes with my bare hands, working 16-hour days between two jobs… I am thankful for each of those experiences, but that’s not all.
Something made me curious, curious enough to spend weekends and winters traveling between cities, taking in scenery, crowds, and individuals. Mopeds in San Francisco and the Caribbean, rollerblades in New York and Washington, skateboards in San Diego and New Orleans, mountain bikes in Utah and hiking shoes in Arizona provided a vantage from which to formulate my own view of the world while providing a reprieve from the otherworldly tedium of home life. Why was I exploring the campuses of Harvard, GWU, Columbia, and Princeton when my peers were having children and building nice houses for them? Why was I more comfortable at a Greenwich Village bar than at a youth rally—a mega-church than a stranger’s wedding? That curiosity is what I am thankful for.
Flagstaff has taught me a lot about life, priorities, tolerance, and perseverance. The hippy atmosphere may have been an attraction at one point in my life, but I willingly traded my bike messenger dreams for C-suite aspirations when I started life in the business college. College courses have been challenging and career exploration has been a blast. Nearly everyone has been supportive and helpful, and my needs of food, clothing, and shelter have been well met. I’ve developed some extraordinary relationships during these few years and it will be difficult to leave here when that time comes.
It’s been a big week. I squeezed in a mountain bike ride yesterday afternoon, then attended our annual Beta Alpha Psi banquet. It was great talking with professionals from Phoenix firms and catching up with last year’s alumni. Today I hiked half way up Mt. Humphrey. I was hoping to hike all the way to the summit before the real snow gets here, but I turned around at 11,000’ where the snow was already over two feet deep beside the trail. It was a trial run for when I snowshoe it later this winter. I went home and split and stacked firewood for a while, then worked on homework and jotted down this post…now I’m getting sleepy. Good night, all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.