Spring has well and truly sprung in DC! With it has come warmer weather, blooming trees, cherry blossoms by the Jefferson Memorial, and festivals.
Unfortunately, with this warm weather, has also come stress about the future, late night résumé edits, and the last leg of this volunteer year. Housemates and coworkers are scrambling to make plans and find jobs, and we find ourselves – yet again – trying to find new ways to define ourselves. For four years I was a college student working toward a degree and some magical future that I hadn’t quite figured out yet. In my search for a plan, LVC seemed like an incredible opportunity to gain some work experience, move somewhere new, and to get out of my comfort zone, with the added benefit that at the end of the year I would be forced to put my elusive plan into action. So now, after 8 months of being able to say that I was a volunteer working at a health clinic in DC, it feels as though I have a brief 3 months to come up with a sparkly new version of myself.
I was talking with a friend recently about how these blocked periods of time in life have always given me the strange feeling that my life hasn’t really started yet, like the real, finalized version of me is always just a few years ahead and always out of reach. This sense that my life is in the future, not in the present, has been with me since I was probably about 5 years old, and now as I look around, I have to realize that I am in the middle of living, that these blocks of time aren’t less real for having deadlines, and that my experiences don’t happen in a vacuum. LVC has been a strange and delightful block of time, and in that time I have learned not just about the type of work that I want to do, but about the work that I’m doing. My housemates and I have worked, each in our own way, to invest in our communities and to work toward the world we want to see and live in, not just for tomorrow but today.
In honor of trying to live my life more in the places and times where I am at, I will leave you with this snapshot of a perfect Saturday just a few weeks ago. The end of March waved goodbye to our freezing temperatures and welcomed in some glorious sunshine. The National Cherry Blossom Festival brought tourists from across the country to the Tidal Basin, but on this Saturday, the Blossom Kite Festival had what seemed like the entire city picnicking on the Mall. Waking up early to 65/70 degree weather had many people in my house ready to head outside and soak up the sun, so picnic basket in hand, stocked full of our leftovers, we marched down to the Mall to join some other volunteer corps friends and LVC alum. For well over 4 hours we lay on blankets smack in the middle of this city with thousands of other people doing the exact same thing, talking about our lives, sharing this kind of peculiar moment with the rest of the city, and with no particular plans other than watching the kites dancing in the sky.