Take the road less traveled

>> 3.24.2010

Today, I spent about 5 hours in the car driving from Philly to "home" in Rochester, NY.  I've taken this trip multiple times- both solo and with partners in crime.  I know the route by heart, and as soon as I get on the Northeast Extension, I go into autopilot until I pull into the driveway at home.  It's a nice drive, but can be pretty monotonous.  How long can you look at trees for?  It was exceptionally beautiful today.  While the trees were still bare, the sun kept poking through behind the clouds.  I saw the fight go on for a while, and then rejoiced when the sun finally won.

On my handy dandy phone, I have a GPS.  Even though I know the route, I love using the GPS to see how much I can beat the estimated time by.  Probably not a good thing, but you know how I am.  From the start, the GPS was finicky.  It had me going a route I have never taken before, and I said I know this better than you- I'll still make it home in less than 5. As I drove on autopilot, the route kept adjusting.  After about the 5th different suggestion, something inside said why the hell not abby- just follow it!  I have always loved adventure, taking the chance and just making that big risk.  I'm not entirely sure what was stopping me from travelling a different route, but today I am so incredibly grateful that I did.  The roads were empty- just me.  The sky was gorgeous and I could see for miles.  I rolled the windows down a bit (not fully because there was still snow on the ground- chilly!) and just followed the directions.  I passed a beautiful waterfall that followed the course of the road.  I was so incredibly tempted to stop and take photos, but then I realized I was by myself and that might not be okay.

One of the roads I took to get home

Confused but in awe, I continued to follow the directions.  Suddenly things began to look familiar as I was driving towards the most clear blue lake I have seen in a very long time. I wasn't entirely sure where I was but I knew for certain I had been there before.  And then I saw the town name- Skaneateles.  If you ever get a chance to go up to the finger lakes, Skaneateles is a must.  It's historical (passed an underground railroad station!), gorgeous, and has a lot to offer especially during the summer season.  Plus, if you're driving down the roads like the ones I found, you'll even enjoy getting there.
View from the top on one of the roads- note the lake is not Skaneateles

Now that I'm done sounding like a cheesy travel guide, I'll get back to the big thing here.  I wondered why I had been so hesitant to explore.  I wondered what kept telling me to stay the way I knew how.  And then I wondered what it was that pushed me to get off the expressway and take a left.  I feel like I've been told a million times "follow your own path" or "take the road less traveled".  Today I realized what great gifts are there for us when we do.  I could have spent the last 2 hours of my journey still on auto-pilot.  Instead I observed, gawked, and loved the rest of it.

Once adventurous, brave and free of care I would have jumped to take the back roads even without a GPS. I'm now jaded and only 21.  That sounds terrible and yet its so true.  But, thanks to my little adventure today that fire was lit back up and is now ready for the next big one- or at least the drive back to Philly. Anyone else have treasure they found on an adventure?


Hi, My name is Abby and I have a curse

>> 3.17.2010

I thought I was past it.  My parents so proudly estimated at least 2 years.  But it looks like the 7 month curse is back and better than ever.  I've discussed this "relationship complex" that I have before, but here's a quick reminder:  I like things until they get real and the wall is broken down.  Then I proudly run away to find another wall to hide behind.  I've always been good at this.  The only things I haven't been able to run away from are my family (mostly because they will never leave me alone) and the things that aren't really real.  I fought to keep things the way they were- just friends.  If we were "just friends", he'd be the one I'd want to talk to right now.  But being angry, a female and in the process of running away means I can't.  And if we were "just friends", this curse wouldn't be back to get me.

I wonder what I'm really afraid of.  I've been hurt before, and pretty badly.  I get called names, I brush it off.  If you want a list of at least 10 people who have something bad to say about me, I'll proudly deliver.  I know that all good things might sooner or later come to an end.  I accept that I can't be obnoxiously optimistic every day, even when the sun is out.  I'm beginning to accept the fact that I can't make everyone happy and that not everyone is going to like me.  I wonder what makes this all so difficult.  I wonder what happened in my past that makes me react this way. If I knew what it was, there isn't a split-second I would waste before trying to go back in time and change it.  I wonder what it is that I have to lose.


Funhouse Mirrors

>> 3.11.2010

Something I have always been jealous of: the people who can freely admit they love their body for what it is.  Every day I admire people who "rock it".  Ever since I can remember, I've always been able to find some sort of flaw even in my most favorite outfits.  While I think part of it comes from the crappy weather that winter brings, I think the other part comes from the over-achiever syndrome I suffer from.  Instead of accepting things as is, I always want to try and make it better.  Two years ago, I put myself on Weight Watchers and successfully went from a size 10 to a size 4.  Today I am still a size 4, but I find myself trying to loose even more weight.  I told myself that I would be happy if I could be fit, and the other day I ran 6 miles in under an hour- reasonably fit if you ask me.  Yet again, still not good enough.  I feel guilty after a day of not going to the gym.  I feel guilty about wearing something that shows my back fat ::shutter::.

Now,  I completely recognize how unhealthy this is for me, and am really convinced that I am going to try and do something to change it.  I think I may just need something I never really had- patience.

I am not sure how well this will work, but I'm thinking about finding one thing that I can say I really admire about myself each day.  And of course, it can't be the same thing every day.  To start, I am going to say I am glad my legs are cellulite free.  Of course I instinctively contradict myself and say well obviously, when you have thunder thighs the size of a third world country.  But I have to stop that part too.  So today, I am grateful that I am cellulite free.  What are you grateful for?


Mama don't you worry 'bout me

>> 3.05.2010

Mama, you taught me to do the right things.
So, now you have to let your baby fly.
You've given me everything that I will need.
To make it through this crazy thing called life.
And I know you watched me grow up,
and only want what's best for me.
And I think I found the answer to your prayers.

And he Is good, so good.
He treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

Mama, there's no way you'll ever lose me.
Giving me away is not goodbye.
As you watch me walk down to my future,
I hope tears of joy are in your eyes.

Cause, he is good, so good.
And, he treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

And when I watch my baby grow up,
I'll only want what's best for her.
And I hope she'll find,
the answer to my prayers.
And that she'll say...

He is good, so good.
And he treats your little girl,
like a real man should.
He is good, so good.
He makes promises he keeps.
No, he's never gonna leave.
So, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me.

Mama, don't you worry about me.
Don't you worry about me. 


Walk with the dreamers

>> 3.03.2010

I keep one particular quote right near my bed (well actually there are three of them), and I wanted to share it with you.  It goes a little something like:

"Walk with the dreamers, 
The believers, the courageous,
The cheerful, the planners,
The doers, the successful people
With their heads in the clouds
And their feet on the ground.  
Let their spirit ignite a fire
Within you to leave this world
Better than you found it."
(Wilfred Peterson)

When I pick my treadmill at the gym, I make sure I can see Drexel's Law School.  It may sound cheesy, but I spend that hour running towards my goal, realizing its unattainable right now, but every day I get closer and closer.  I watch the students go in and out and think "I could be one of them".  Its how I motivate myself to study for the LSAT's- I want to do what they are doing.  It's a big goal for myself, one that some (like my father) don't really understand.  He wanted to know why I would want to go to Law School, and asked if I knew this meant I would need to be a lawyer.  I didn't even know how to respond.  Granted, one of the reasons I want to go to Law School is simply to learn, but I don't think that earns skepticism.  With the amount of ignorance there is today, I think continuing education plays a key role in moving away from that ignorance. Regardless, there is a point when the quote comes in to play. 

When you walk with your head held high, there are so many people who are willing to take a swing at it to bring it back down.  For some reason or another, it appears as though there are people who would rather be pessimistic and discouraging, instead of optimistic, motivated and motivating!  You notice these people when you have great news, and all they can do is acknowledge that you said something.  Their words of congratulations are limited.  But then there are the people who remind you to do your homework, who make choices in their life that motivate you to be a better person.  There are the people who you look at and are encouraged by their actions.  Their words of congratulations can come in the form of a card, a hug, or a discussion over coffee.

Everyday we make the choice to be around certain people.  At work, at school, at home.  It's our circle of influence.  What's your role in your circle of influence?  Are you influencing others, or being influenced?  Is there a nice balance between the two?  For me, I believe we have relationships with people to gain something.  They are here to teach us a lesson.  When the lesson is taught, they might leave our life.  If they have more to share and teach, they'll probably be around for a while.  But I make every effort to make sure those people are the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people.  



>> 3.01.2010

Every day we face choices.  There are the simple choices, like what to wear in the morning, whether I want a caramel skinny latte or vanilla skinny latte from Starbucks, or what I should do at the gym.  Then there are the more difficult choices,  like spending $1000 on a LSAT prep class, or maybe just winging it and ending up at Drexel Law School.  There is also the choices that go behind taking a job.  Do I want to stay in Philadelphia? Would I rather move and go on another adventure?  Where am I going to live? And then there is always the choice behind becoming the person we want to be.  Do I want to be the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, or do I learn how to gain tough skin, and just stop caring so much?  Is there a happy medium between the two choices?  How do we make these choices?

Every day, I question whether or not I made the right choices.  I constantly wonder what would be the outcome if I made a different choice.  All of that wondering makes me think about the thought process that goes behind making a choice.  I must admit, I'm pretty irrational sometimes.  Sometimes there is absolutely no method to my choice- maybe it was just the opposite of what someone told me to do.  Maybe it seems the riskiest, maybe it seems the safest. Maybe its exactly what someone told me to do. If there is any sort of pattern though, I do always try to trust my gut.  Granted this is the same gut that craves Ben and Jerrys so I have to be careful, but I like to think that the choices I make are the ones that make me feel most proud.  They are the ones I feel most comfortable with, even if someone disagrees.  They are the ones I am drawn to, and for some reason or another I just have to make.

Sometimes I wish that other people made choices that way.  I find myself surrounded by people who make choices because it's what others expect from them, or because they are afraid of revealing their priorities.  I am going to be graduating soon (June!) and am planning a dinner for myself in Philadelphia.  Some of my immediate family members don't even know if they are going to make it down.  Or some are going to make it for the dinner, but not the ceremony.  After watching both my older sister and older brother graduate and walk the stage, it breaks my heart that they wouldn't want to be there to see me cross the stage, that its even a question for them.  If I hadn't planned a dinner for myself, they might not even show up at all.  I wonder if they put themselves in my shoes. My older sister Katie has made it to Drexel once.  In 4 years. My brother Kevin? Three times- all of which included the rest of my family visiting. And he only lives two hours away in NYC.  Me? I've made a choice to really work on building relationships with my siblings, understanding that sometimes it will take personal sacrifices.  But I wonder if they've made the same choice.  I wonder if they see the same value.

(Me, Kevin, Katie and Marcie up in front)

It takes time and effort to build and maintain relationships.  I fully recognize that, and acknowledge how while  my relationships with people are a huge priority, it might not be the same for others. I'm in the process of learning how to make choices for myself, independent of predicted reactions of others. It's just incredibly hard to do, and will probably take a life time to figure out.