Wednesday, October 20, 2010

do you realize? (syracuse, ny)

When I was a freshman in college, I shared a room with a stranger. She was from New Jersey, a TRF and English double major, and, she would soon become one of my best friends. Down the hall from our room 209, was another soon-to-be best friend. We spent almost our entire year together--the three of us studying in C & I's bedroom, having dinner in the upstairs dining hall, braving the cold in hopes of getting into an open party--and the following summer I went to visit K in her home state of Oklahoma for the first time. K, like many of my friends, was far more knowledgeable about music than I. She introduced me to the Flaming Lips, a band of which we were lucky enough to meet and see in concert during my stay. I've been thinking about one of their songs a lot more lately.
In our English language, "Do you realize?" is simply asking whether or not you understand the given concept or statement. In Spanish, French, and other romantic languages however, the terms "realize" or realizar or réaliser signify not just a mental grasp, but a physical one.

A physical grasp on a concept or statement, what could I ever mean by that

Oh, well, you know, something like: I'm going to take a solo road trip around the United States.
When I had my one and only "oh my gosh, I'm half-way across the country, in an strange city, and all by myself... WTF" breakdown, I touched on how I made the lofty statement above possible. The idea sprung from a GPS Christmas gift and came to be because my original driving companion couldn't join me and because I had spent the past six months (graduation party included) saving up for a post-graduation adventure. I made sure to plan the places I wanted to stop in and seek out people with whom I could stay with. I already knew of friends or family in a few of the destinations; during the summer, I met even more people who were moving back home or to jobs and willing to offer me a couch and/or company. In the end, there were only six cities left, and so I joined CouchSurfing to put myself into contact with wonderful globetrotting strangers who were happy to host me.
Then I had the most incredible experience familiarizing myself with our great country. And even more so meeting at least three new people on a daily basis. By the time I made it Syracuse for homecoming weekend, I couldn't even believe half the things that I'd done nor that had happened to me. And yet, I was thrilled to be in a familiar place, surrounded by some of my favorite people, with the knowledge that I had done it. I did it! With hard work, perseverance, and a fun-loving, easygoing, friendly disposition, I had carried out an aspirational statement and made it my six-week reality. Would it be so bold of me to admit that I'm proud of myself?

I sure hope not, because I am :). Not because I thought I would fail, (oh no, I try my absolute best not to harbor such negative thoughts), but because I had faith in the childhood belief that anything and everything is possible, especially at a time in my life when most people have given up on their ability to choose and do.
With each birthday, we're faced with more responsibilities that bind us to a predictable day-to-day life. Though we're not no longer able to realize our goals, it most definitely becomes more difficult to do so. Still, after 44 days, and nearly 9,000 miles, I have met enough real-life examples that haven proven to me how much we can change and improve our lives at any time. We can take control of how we choose to live. And for those elements that we cannot control, we can surround ourselves with people that matter, be grateful for all that we have, take note of the little thing that make us happy each and every day, and hope for the best.
Now that I'm home and the job search has really begun, these words by The Alchemist, one of my many books on tape, holds a lot more meaning. I hope they can inspire you to realize whatever it is that desire to achieve as well.
"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." / "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."

P.S. Today was both National Love Your Body Day and the Wear Purple, Show Support, Have Spirit event. I sincerely hope you were able to participate! Each one of us deserves a happy, healthy, and full life.


  1. love this and love you. p.s. I loved that song so much a few years ago (still do of course).

    I'm so happy you made it to syracuse! I wore my only purple shirt today...

    oh, and p.p.s. I love that you quoted the Alchemist, still remember loving that book in high school.

  2. Haven't commented much but I greatly enjoyed following along on your cross-country adventures! What a fantastic trip. This is the kind of thing everyone talks about doing but few people actually do. Congrats to your for actually making it happen.

  3. Yay! You should most certainly be proud of taking this trip for yourself. Not only did you get to experience things that very few people get to in their lives, you probably grew up even more and discovered so much about yourself! I'm still in awe of it all.

    Now that you know you had the courage, tenacity, and wisdom to make this happen for yourself I hope that you feel confident going into your job search - because you can do anything : )

  4. wise words that i, unsurprisingly, could not agree with more. i've thought about that concept of "realize" in english versus other languages, and i love how other languages deem realizing to be doing - kind of like if you dream it, you can do it, you know?

    i was literally just talking about something similar with a friend last night - we were saying how so many people try to please others (parents, friends, whomever) or do what's expected of them, and it keeps them from actually realizing (as in both figuring out and achieving) their dreams. whereas we've always just gone after what we want, no matter how miserable or difficult the process of getting it might have been, it's made us a lot happier in the end.

    here's to realizing your dreams for the next stage of life. :)

    ps: i didn't even know it was love your body day, which i'm kind of glad about, because it means some things just aren't at the forefront of my mind anymore - and i am loving that realization. i did, however, rock some purple tights yesterday. :)

  5. Although I haven't commented much, I have truly loved following you on your road trip adventures! I think you are so awesome for doing this; you should be really proud of yourself. Good luck on the job search, I'm sure you will find something great. :)

  6. danielle...i am so proud of you! not only did you do what you said out to do, but you did with a huge smile on your face. the lessons and inspiration i take from this post is profound...especially that alchemist quote. it truly is one of my favorites too.

    madison loves you and misses you - come back anytime! :)

    love ya,

  7. claire: So much love in that comment I don't even know what to say :) thank you. I'm sure you rocked your only purple shirt!

    Anna: Aw, thanks so much, dear! I really appreciate it!

    Susan: You're amazing, thank you :).

    leslie: Yayayay. We're still ridiculously similar. I'm so happy to hear that hasn't changed. And kudos to you for celebrating this day, especially if that meant not remembering it's significance :).

    Jessie (Bites and Pieces): Thank you, darling! I was glad to have you along.

    Holly: Darling, thanks so much. Btw, if I come back next week that wouldn't be too soon... would it? ;)


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