“Just don’t give up on trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” -Ella Fitzgerald
Summers as a child seemed endless. Yet every year, towards the end of summer, we’d gather at a relative’s property for our annual Pear Picking Party, and I’d hear the lovely adults in my life talking about how it seemed like just last week that we’d all gotten together for the same thing. I thought they were melodramatic. I thought that it was just one of those things adults said to be nice, like saying thank you for a serving of Brussels Sprouts. I thought that I would never feel that way.
Now, I have those conversations with my friends and loved ones. In stunned disbelief, we recognize that more than a month has passed since we last saw one another, where we used to get together once or twice a week. How does that happen? we ask each other. Though once a time when my friends and I would be getting ready for a new school year, the end of summer has come to be a contemplative touchstone for me, a time each year that begs reflection. (Except, maybe, I do that throughout the year. Shh.)
Recently, a friend of mine asked me to write briefly about what life was like when I was 24. That is less than a hand’s worth of years behind me, but as I reflected back, it felt like a lifetime ago. There are so many experiences I’ve had in the subsequent years, so many lessons I’ve learned (or am still learning), and yet my remaining years of life seem so tangible. I’m worried that I’ll blink and be ten years older.
I don’t know how I feel about this. I’ve never felt like aging was a big deal — perhaps because my parents have done it so gracefully — but when I think about how quickly life can change, how quickly time can get away from us, I wonder if I can ever accomplish all the things I’d like to do in what is sure to feel like too short of a life, even if I follow my grandparents’ examples of living well into my eighties.
As a teen, I remember my mom joking about wanting to write the Great American Novel. I remember looking at her, thinking about how thoughtful her letters to her friends were (she’d share ’em), and wishing she would write it. Not out of any need for literary fame, but rather to leave that legacy of writing something that was borne out of her imagination, and because I wanted to read what she had to write. Though supportive, I don’t think I understood that dream then the way I do now.
Now, as I contemplate my own dreams, I wonder how people decide what it is that they’ll do in life, and what dreams they let slide, cushioned with the blessing of “maybe in another life…”. I think that wherever we are, we have no excuse not to do. That how we choose to spend our time speaks volumes louder than all the things we speak of or wish for, that we never choose to complete.
One of my favorite XKCD comics features a character pulled out of reality by an interdimensional self who gives her the following advice: “Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they’re doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out.” Sage advice!
I believe one of the best “unmarked doors” I’ve walked into was Verity’s, and that the people crowding in the field are all somehow connected to credit unions and the cooperative movement. I believe we all feel a little lost at times. That it’s a fact of life, something that will continue to come up again and again, entreating us to push ourselves in a slightly (or at times, drastically) different direction to feel back on course for at least a heartbeat. The adventures we can find are those that help us get a little closer to self-actualization a little bit at a time (even if time feels like it’s spiraling faster), and that is a very good thing indeed.
“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” -Frank Tibolt
Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming).
An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.