Saturday, July 24, 2010

25 Reasons Why Summer Makes Me Happy

Well Summer has officially started in Seattle. We have been enjoying amazing weather: Cooler mornings with some fog and then ending the day @ 80 degrees. I work at a Summer Camp and I get to play pretty much 75% of everyday. With that, I have rediscovered my passion for summer.

Growing up in Maine, summers were pretty much the most amazing time ever. I remember going to the beach 4-5 days a week sometimes, even if it was just to cool off because of the heat. The seafood and strawberry-rhubarb pies always did a good job of filling up my tummy. Camping with my family and grilling after doing yard work all day made it so magical. Since leaving home, I have had to make summer my own in whatever time zone I was living in. Below are my top 25 reasons why summer is so awesome for me personally. I encourage you to get your own list together and post it on your fridge because in the summer, everybody should be smiling. :)

Jen's Top 25 Reasons Why Summer Rocks

1. The way the sun feels on skin that has been bundled up under fleece and wool and Goretex all winter.
2. Chacos & Chaco Tans.
3. Summer wardrobes are way more easy to put together.
4. Putting on your sunglasses @ 8am and not taking them off until you climb into bed.
5. Reading, yoga, running, (fill in the blank) OUTSIDE!
6. Walking barefoot on the grass and sand.
7. Otter Pops.
8. Water Balloons.
9. Farmers Markets and fresh food.
10. Summer reading programs at the local library.
11. Summer Camp.
12. The smell of BBQ, Bug Spray, Sunscreen, and Campfire.
13. Road Trips
14. Simply going to see a movie because of Air Conditioning
15. Funky Beach Towels & Beach Umbrellas.
16. Sitting outside on a deck to eat.
17. Cold drinks including Slurpees after work.
18. Outdoor Concerts & Festivals.
19. Sunsets.
20. Late Nights with friends & lovers.
21. Happy Hour.
22. Dancing.
23. Getting tan.
24. Stargazing.
25. Baseball games & Crackerjacks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Nutshell Story & Girls Who Climb in Dresses

Let me start by saying that in a matter of a month and a half or so, I have not only transitioned in my career, but I have reignited a deep passion within me. As some of you know, I received my undergrad degree in Outdoor Recreation/Education with a minor in Business Administration. I attended college in Colorado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. I lived at 8,000' elev. for 4 years and loved every minute of it. The story of how I got there is another post in itself and I will save it for later. While living in Colorado, not only did I meet amazing people that I will keep in contact with until the day I die, but my experience in Colorado opened my eyes up to the world like no other experience had done.

I moved to Seattle to work in Corporate Recreation, leading team building and team development with corporate groups from Microsoft, Boeing, AT&T, and the like. I traveled to all of these amazing and exotic places and was living the life...living the life of a workaholic. I burned out fast and after 2.5 years with the same company, I moved on.  I was planning to move back to Colorado and circumstances changed quickly. My partner at the time who I was living with was hospitalized and we extended our lease in Seattle. I took two part time jobs: Working as an Office Manager for an Electrical Contractor and as a Front Desk Rep at my YMCA. It worked and I pieced it together. Working 6-7 days each week, stressed, frazzled, hurried, lots of unknowns. That was a year ago.

You know that feeling of being stuck in a rut? I would have to say that it is one of the worst feelings a person can have. That feeling of being trapped, of knowing that you should be contributing to the world in a much different way. I started feeling that feeling in a very strong way about 4 months ago. I started to dread going to work, longing for something else. I felt like I was struggling and surviving, not thriving like the person I know myself to be.

About a month or so ago, I took the YMCA Rock Climbing Facilitator Training to spice things up. I needed some hours to supplement my hours being cut at my Office job. Little did I know that the training would reignite my personal passion and drive of Experiential Education. A spark was lit and I had a fire under me to get back into my field. I started asking around at the YMCA if they needed help with summer camp stuff. I worked camp in the mornings, climbing on some afternoons, and Office Manager the rest of the time.

Climbing for me is a love/hate relationship. Pretty much like the rest of my life. Some days I am on my game. Others, I freak out and go into that panic zone place. One thing that I never stop loving though is the magical integration of the experiential education process, especially on indoor rock walls.

I have witnessed profound transformation on the rock wall. My latest is the girl who climbed like spider woman in her dress. Huh? Yes, she comes every Saturday and every Saturday she dresses up to come to the Y and climb. I am amazed at how she does not hold back. How she just puts on her harness (wearing bike shorts underneath the dress), clasps her helmet, and climbs. I smile as I belay her below. Huh. I used to be like that. No inhibitions. Nothing holding me back from anything. I took this lesson as a reminder to dive in, follow my bliss, enjoy every moment, and don't look back, especially on following my personal passion.

Well back to the whole career thing. One thing led to another, and I was offered an Assistant Summer Camp Director position for the rest of the summer which worked out perfectly. I am enjoying my Chaco tan and loving Popsicle Fridays, wearing shorts everyday, and smelling of sunscreen when I come home. Oh yeah, and I go to bed with a smile on my face for a job well done. Maybe I will show up to camp one day in a dress.