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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hobby of the Week (part 1/2)

In the Peace Corps you have a lot of time to think. You may find yourself stuck on long bus rides without a charged iPod, no cell phone service, no data plan or smart phone, or just lying in a hammock for extended periods of time staring at the coconut trees above. This time away from distractions allows you to spend plenty of time thinking and it is fascinating where your mind travels when given hours to just think.

My latest adventure into my mind led me to a facebook post on my wall from an old roommate, Adam Hammer, about my ‘hobby of the week.’ I’ve always received flak for bouncing around between hobbies and interests. Few times do hobbies actually stick and when they do, I move to Nicaragua and separate myself from any potential of continued pursuit (rock climbing).

So, why have I tasted everything from firefighting and EMS to traveling around the world to MMA to DJ’ing to rock climbing…? Well, I figured it out and it brought me back full circle to one of my first blog posts about experiencing new things.

Many people see someone do something and think how lucky is that person or I could never do that. I don’t. I see that person jumping off a cliff in New Zealand, backpacking through Thailand, spinning in front of a sold out club, and think “I’m going to do that.” The thought of not doing it, or not being able to doesn’t pass through my mind. My drive for new experiences has led me to be exactly where I am with all the incredible memories and experiences I have under my belt. I firmly support the notion that you are where you are because of the decisions you've made up to this moment.

Occasionally, I’ll look around and wonder how I ended up in the Peace Corps speaking Spanish to a class of high school seniors on a volcanic island in Nicaragua. Think, what the hell am I doing. Laugh to myself. Shake my head. And continue. I actually realize that I find myself doing this smile/headshake/laughter/continue ritual rather often. It makes for incredible facebook profile photos for sure.

I look around at other Peace Corps volunteers I’ve met and realize we all have that “just do it” attitude. A friend commented on how whenever she tells someone that she is in the Peace Corps, the response is very often either “Oh, I’d considered joining the Peace Corps” or “Oh, I started the application but didn’t finish it.” The urge to hold back “Well why didn’t you just f’ing do it” usually triumphs and we settle with a polite smile or a “yeah, I know it’s a difficult choice.”

Through a strange turn of events, this ‘just do it’ attitude, has led me to my most recent (and most fulfilling) hobby – Running – a sport I actually hated, thoroughly couldn’t comprehend anyone receiving enjoyment from, and dreaded until just months ago. That leads me to Part 2 – Running.

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