Monday, May 22, 2017

Rolling the Dice

Greetings, hello and howdy all- It's been quite a long time since I've posted anything on my blog so I wanted to put together a post updating you all on what's been going on in my life.

First thing, I moved! I'm now living in an apartment (with an abundance of hardwood floors) in a neighborhood north of downtown Milwaukee called Shorewood. After living in rural Ozaukee county for a few years, it was about time to move down to the city to be closer to my best friends, family, hobbies and just that 414 life I miss. And to my benefit, my apartment is within a quick walk of two beer gardens, a great county park and the Oak Leaf Trail which I can't wait to start biking and (err) running on. I'm about 99% moved-in and unpacked and finally have working internet. Time to get some trips planned out pronto, I've been slacking. Fun fact. the storage unit in my apartment is monstrous, therefore I don't need to feel guilty about accumulating more outdoor gear.

Let's talk about Steve. So I recently got asked: "Tell me about the best boss you've ever had and why?" Honestly, I knew instantly who I was going to talk about- Steve . Here's why. When I decided to jump and take a seasonal job out in Colorado for six months, I was nervous, unsure but also excited. I was literally breaking out of my comfort zone, 100%. I was ready for a fresh start and fresh challenges. When I arrived at YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch in the town of Granby home to 1,808 I was given the opportunity to work on the Y's dogsledding team, under the direction of head musher and Chaplin, Steve Peterson. True, I was terrified of dogs up until October 2014 when I unloaded my station wagon and moved into the Fraser Valley for this job...but something nudged me that I had to give this a shot. That's when I met Steve and his nineteen Alaskan huskies. Steve is one of the hardest-working, most dedicated and compassionate people I have ever met. In between wrangling a dogsledding team, all the religious-based programming and services at our YMC and his own growing family, Steve keeps his head held high. I've seen him straight-exhausted, stressed, tired and angry- but I've never seen him shy away from being compassionate towards one in times of need. Whether it be a phone call, quick talk over chili and beer or inviting me over to him and his wife's log cabin for a home-cooked meal. Steve always, always makes himself for other people. He listens, counsels, strengthens and brings calm when it's needed. He taught me the importance of teamwork, patience and trust. He taught me the importance of having a faith and maintaining it. I owe so much to Steve, who has not just inspired me but helped push me through many quests and challenges in both my personal and professional paths of life. It's an upmost honor to call Steve a close-friend.

I'm glad I rolled the dice in my twenties.
Okay, so I'm twenty-seven and my twenties are still far from being over...but now that I'm returning to an actual adult career life, I'm reflecting back on the past few years and the choices I've made. My littlest brother Jamie, graduated from University of Wisconsin- Madison with a journalism degree last weekend. His commencement speaker? Legendary comedy writer and winner of nine Emmy awards, Steven Levitan who stressed the importance of 'rolling the dice in your twenties' to a crowd of 7,000 graduates. I blogged awhile back about chasing passion versus a salary, where I discussed how I gave up a great well-paying, office job in Chicago to follow my passion for outdoors. For almost three years, I worked at different seasonal, contracted jobs teaching outdoor education at YMCAs or diving head-first into the outdoor recreation field on the government side at our state parks. There were some awesome memories and I'm beyond grateful I got to do things I never would have pictured myself doing back in May 2012 when I walked across the stage in a maroon robe to collect my Advertising and Public Relations degree. Sure my yearly pay depressingly dropped to a crazy low but gosh I had fun and had so much time to figure out what I want in life, what I want to do and what I need to do differently. I had no real strings attached. I could bounce around from seasonal job to seasonal job, living out of my station wagon as I learned new things and met tons of new people. It was fun wearing flannel shirts, steel-toed boots, harnessing huskies in the Colorado mountains, teaching pond science to groups of elementary school kids, eating gross and questionable cafeteria food and living for dirt cheap in community housing. I'm glad I had the chance to try out living and working the seasonal jobs lifestyle. It was so much fun and a chapter of self-discovery that I really needed after getting burnt out from my first job post-college. I knew at some point however, I had to get back into the real world. I was tired of busting my butt off, making only $9.45 per hour and having to worry every six-months if my contract would be renewed. It's fun, absolutely, working a seasonal job in parks and recreation but one simply cannot live off of less than $10 per hour. But this past fall, I felt like I hit a plateau...and it was a long, long, long plateau. It was like "boom," as soon as I returned from Iceland I had a wake-up call and realized I needed to make some big, big, big changes in my life ASAP.