“Do you tend to dwell in the past, live in the present, or dream of the future?” This was a question I was asked during one of our Orientation activities back in August, and it is still something I think about to this day. I would describe myself as someone who is constantly thinking about the future. Often, I think about different career paths and what my next steps will be following the AV year. In addition, the pandemic as well as other social issues plaguing our country make me question the future and where we are headed. Thinking about all of this can be very overwhelming. Though there is nothing wrong with planning for the future, this year I have been challenged to live in the present moment.
One day after work, I decided to go for a run. The route I usually follow takes me to the San Buenaventura Beach, where there is a trail that runs along the water. There are usually people outside, biking on the trail, taking pictures by the beach, or walking through the pier. As I was running this one particular day, I noticed that everyone suddenly stopped what they were doing and looked out towards the water. I paused my run and looked out towards the ocean to see what everyone was staring at. It was the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen. Bright colors painted the evening sky as the sun was setting. Everyone around me took out their phones to capture this breathtaking moment. Watching the sun set over the horizon slowed me down and helped me recognize the blessings that were right in front of me.
These past few months have taught me the importance of slowing down in order to pay more attention to the present moment. Whether it be the conversations I have with clients at the HELP of Ojai, the laughs I share with my coworkers, or the dinners we have as a community, I have learned to recognize the joys and blessings that God has put in my life. Likewise, it has taught me to be more grateful. I am grateful for my family, friends, and coworkers who constantly support and motivate me. I am thankful to have such a comfortable life, and to be part of a program that takes care of all our needs. And lastly, I thank God for having such sincere and honest community members who want to grow together and are always there for me. I am excited to see what the rest of the AV year will bring and the lessons I will learn along the way!
Ventura, CA 2020-2021