Ringleader, Lightning, and I descended Springer Mountain one year ago; five months and two days later, Ringleader and I ascended Mt. Katahdin. So much time. Such an investment. For the adventure. For the accomplishment. For the documentary. Clear-cut goals. Utilizing every moment over those months to get closer to the end. Every moment mattered. Now, how much time will I waste over the next year-and-a-half kicking in my office doorstopper? It's trivial, and it's really not that important. But I wonder, how much time will I waste turning it over, pushing it, kicking it, moving it with my foot? Time will be wasted. My life is a little different now.
My first on-trail blog post was entitled "My Story." I laid the groundwork for the challenges in front of me: transitions. "Physically, I must get from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. In life, I must get from an academic-focused lifestyle to a career-oriented lifestyle." Guess what? I DID IT. Woah!
Physically, I got from Georgia to Maine over five months and two days - 3/10/10-8/12/10. My legs did the walking. And I did it as part of the kickin' team The Traveling Circus. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, who annually record the number of thru-hikers, recently published the 2010 statistics. 1,460 thru-hikers registered on Springer Mountain, but only 349 thru-hikers made it to Mt. Katahdin - 24%. Ringleader and I were 114 and 115.
In life, I got from the classrooms of Cornell University to the Moffitt-Long Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center after fourteen months - 12/22/09-2/22/11. As far as I can tell, my case is fairly fortunate. I am the youngest employee in my immediate group, and possibly one of the youngest Clinical Research Coordinators at UCSF. Yesterday we celebrated my 23rd birthday; having been on the job for only two weeks, I am still the floating newcomer with a largely untold history. One coworker thought I was joking when I said it was my 23rd birthday. "You are SO YOUNG!" she said. "I thought you were joking at first." Nope, I am 23 years old, love my life, love my job, and going places.
So, I've made it. I have transitioned. I hiked the entire east coast. I flew across the country, settled into a new city with no job, no friends, no family, and little money. Over three months, I worked two jobs and an internship for 60+ hours per week and established myself with new friends and a new home. Finally, I sealed the deal with an incredible research position at UCSF. I DID IT. You are a rockstar, Monkey!
Today, one year from when The Traveling Circus set off from Springer Mountain, I feel pretty darn good. What's next? I registered today for the first step of medical school applications.
Oh, the places you'll go!