Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Life Well Lived

Well here I am, inspired by Rachel Naslund again. Her blogpost was inspired by another blogger named Kelsey (I've never been to her site until now) who has hoped this idea will take off. Kelsey explained that her inspiration came from the theory of "bucket lists." Lists of hopes and aspirations. But what if I die tomorrow? Will all of my unfulfilled wishes mean anything to anybody? What have I already done that has made MY life, a

When I first read this post by my friend, Rachel, I felt super intimidated. I didn't even think I would write the post! I didn't want to try to even compete with the life she's lived, or measure up the things I've done with the things she's done...or anybody else for that matter...and I couldn't think of anything, quite honestly, worth sharing. 

But the idea of A LIFE WELL LIVED resonated with me. I kept thinking about what I've done that I'm proud of...and I decided this would be more therapeutic for ME than anything else. If my total blogpost hits is "0," I'm going to be just as proud of myself as if they were infinite. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to share some reasons on this day why I believe my life, even at the ripe age of 24, to have been well lived.

(1.) I have taken money I've made from my job as a plastic surgery nurse, and given it back to medical organizations that need it, thanks to the inspiration and selflessness my grandparents and parents have modeled.

I love nursing and the entire realm it entails, and fortunately I have family members who would rather see gifts go toward improving the world than material items. For Christmas, I gave a donation in my parents' honor to SmileTrain to help a child with cleft palate in a third world country get the $250 surgery necessary to live a normal life ($250?! That's crazy cheap for a surgery. Medicine is so inflated! Also, donations range from $25 for medications to the $250 for the full surgery. I didn't give the full amount! Just give what you can afford, it still makes a difference!). I also give a monthly donation to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization my grandparents support. I hate to turn this "Life Well Lived" list into a bucket list, but I do have every intention of eventually traveling with nursing, and giving back with my time in addition to my money. I already have something in the works, but these take an immense amount of time to plan. 

My sweet grandparents this past weekend, for my Mimi's birthday! They have been philanthropic and selfless in so many ways. They give so much of their time and money to people who really need it, and it inspires me to no end. They are the classic example of people who live by example. While they would never tell anybody what to do/not to do, their actions speak so clearly, I can't help but want to follow in their footsteps. 

(2.) I have planted thousands of trees, while living in New Zealand for a conservation project. 

And again, thanks to my parents for making this possible. Wow, this "therapy" is making me more GRATEFUL for the opportunities my family has given me than PROUD of what I've done with them. Who wouldn't take an all-expenses PAID trip to New Zealand as a sophomore in college?! THANK YOU, MOMMY AND DADDY. I never cared much about environmentalism or conservation until I learned, and I learned in the best possible way. The year prior to my trip, I was living in a sorority house with 92 girls. That summer, I stayed on an island with ONE inhabitant, NO electricity (they had solar panels, but it was their winter, and the times we had the solar-paneled electricity were few and far between), NO hot water, NO phone, NO internet. That's right, I literally made (2) pay phone calls to Papa Georgio that cost about $7/minute. I knew nobody until I got there, and this experience completely impacted my life forever. It took resources, which I owe entirely to my parents, but it also took courage and independence. I am proud that I cast my worries to the wind when I boarded that 17-hour flight, knowing  wouldn't be able to even communicate with anybody I knew or loved for weeks. I could re-invent myself, and nobody would be the wiser. And I did. For the better. I left a little bit of myself there, and came back with a far more global perspective on how precious this planet is. GRATEFUL, GRATEFUL, GRATEFUL, I am forever grateful for this experience.

(3.) I have maintained my friendship with Jen, my best friend from Oklahoma.

And might I say, THANK GOD?! This girl knows my brain and heart. I'm convinced that we have invisible heartstrings that are still tied. Despite days that go by without touching base, when we see eachother (ONCE A MONTH FOR THE PAST YEAR!), it's like no time has passed at all. We pick right back up where we left off. I love her so much, and am so grateful we both have remained friends despite me moving back to TX. 
Well...I think three is good for now. I'll think of more for the next "Life Well Lived" post. 

If you blog, I really hope you do this exercise. It feels so GOOD, and I'd love to read about yours.

If you don't blog, maybe you should. Start with this, and let me know-I'd definitely read all about it. 

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