Note: This year has been full of accomplishments, creative, professional and personal. I worked as the director of multimedia at The Lumberjack, I graduated from Northern Arizona University, I traveled to Maine for a summer job and I eventually landed a job at FlagLive! I had my first short story “Like a First Kiss” published with LingoBites and I’ve had a couple of poems published with And So Yeah Magazine. I joined a band, played shows and spent time in the studio. I’ve met wonderful people, people whom I work with, play music with, share with, argue with and love with.
Thanks to everyone who has ever supported, dealt with or said hi to me. Thank you and have a happy new year.
(This article originally appeared in Flagstaff Live!, Dec. 28, 2017)
Embrace the uncertainty: This year, let uncertainty guide you toward self-discovery
Last week, our cover story was the editor’s choice awards for 2017, “The year we traveled to another dimension.” Truly it was a bizarre year of surreal experiences both on a national and local level. For me, it’s been a year of strange coincidences and happy happenstances.
Around this time last year I was promoted to director of multimedia of The Lumberjack. While my advisors assured me I was the most qualified person for the position, I also know I was the only one who had applied. I worked with people whom I admired and who, eventually, became great coworkers and even better friends.
After almost eight years of higher education, two community colleges and a brief stint at Arizona State University, I finally graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BS in journalism, a field, I am told, which is on the decline and is mostly populated with Fake News.
Shortly after graduation, I took a summer job working as a videographer at a summer boys’ camp in Naples, Maine, a place I had never been to nor had really ever thought of outside of Stephen King novels. I cried the night I signed the contract with the camp, but looking back I am not sure why. During camp I met some of the most amazing photographers and videographers and creative professionals, and I am so proud to call myself a member of the Flash Mob. I ate fresh lobster for the first time. I plucked wild blueberries from their bushes as I watched the White Mountain National Forest spill over into the rolling hills of New Hampshire. I watched the sunset cast a golden hue above the purple and pink shallows of Trickey Pond while I dipped my toes in its refreshing waters and watched ducks skim across its surface. Children laughed and cried and fought and struggled and learned, and I, too, did the same.
When I left camp, I cried again. This time, not because I was sad, but because I was happy, happy to have experienced what I did and to have met the people I now call friends, people who I still talk to and work with today.
A few weeks later, Flagstaff Live had an opening for a staff writer position and I jumped at it, again uncertain of my qualifications and the outcome, and for a little more than three months, it’s been a pleasure to meet Flagstaff and its people in a way I haven’t before.
Like my summer job, I document the human experience on a daily basis. Every day I capture real life. Every day I capture what it means to be human—love, triumph, hate, resistance, fear, indifference, happiness, isolation, uncertainty. Uncertainty can steal us from hope or it can drive us toward freedom, but uncertainty will always be a presence in our lives. It can keep you in a desert or take you to the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
For me, uncertainty brought to me a future with hope. It brought to me love and kindness when I was most vulnerable. It brought to me endless nights editing videos. It brought me personal reward for those endless nights. It brought to me a silly band with a silly name. It brought to me the most unexpected experiences, experiences I would not trade for anything in the world.
A new year calls for resolutions and goals and changes, so here’s one: Embrace the uncertainty.
As I move forward into the new year, I recall an interview The Lumberjack had with Lisa Skinner, a lecturer in the Geology department at NAU. She told us a story about her decision to pursue her master’s degree at NAU. She said, “I left Philadelphia and drove across the country to a place I’d never been to, and when I got here I never left. If you ask questions and reach out and take the risks you think are appropriate for yourself I think things will work out. But my future is still uncertain. I still don’t know what may come down the road for me. I think that uncertainty is a fact of life.”
So be uncertain, be uncomfortable, explore ideas, question yourself.
And of course, have a happy New Year.