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Challenge 21: Leave


Through and through, I am a creature of habit. My planner is the most important purchase of the year and I thrive off my Sunday night organization session where I outline my upcoming week in multi-colored pens. I have certain habits for grocery shopping and laundry and when I like to study foreign languages.

These routines, much like running and writing, keep me grounded and focused. But at some point, routines can become too much. It isn’t until you’ve stepped outside of yourself for a day or a week that you notice how much you’ve missed. You know that feeling of taking a long weekend trip? Suddenly, Saturday seems to last forever as you forget about buying bananas and bread and focus on enjoying wherever you are.

All this is to say that while I appreciate some of the structures I’ve given my life, I can’t help but wonder what’s just outside the box. The new idea for Sunday blog posts is to write about one experience I had in the previous week that was out of routine, that wasn’t predictable, that made me think a little differently about myself and the world I live in.

Challenge 21: Leave

For the past couple years, I’ve tried to make Sunday blog posts themed. First it was “Service Sunday” where I would write about social good movements, nonprofit organizations, and the people behind them. Then it was the “resolutions” where each week, I tried to live into a different mini New Year’s Resolution such as “work smarter, not harder” or “get some sleep.”

When 2018 began, I decided I would use Sunday’s theme as a challenge – quite literally. I wanted to force myself to try things slightly out of my comfort zone every week. I figured a change in scenery could be good. I added a sticky note to my computer with seemingly simple tasks such as “sing at Karaoke” or “try veganism for a week.”

As the weeks ticked off the calendar, I noticed a pretty significant change in myself and the path I was taking. I was about to completely 180 my entire world and a weekly challenge had nothing to do with it.

Thursday, May 31st was my last day as an employee at the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. It was bittersweet and I’m still getting used to the idea that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow – still getting used to the idea of what it looks like to be completely done with something.

On Friday, June 1st, I met my friend at Port Authority Bus Terminal and helped her move into my apartment for the summer. I washed the bed sheets and packed my bags and said goodbye to my friends. At 11:10 pm, I got on the overnight bus headed toward my hometown.

It's a strange feeling to see your city’s skyline fading in the distance as your bus tumbles into the night. I will be gone for 3 months, taking time to focus on The Smile Project and experience a grassroots cross-country tour of America. To say I’m excited is an understatement. To say I’m nervous is also accurate.

I was telling a friend about this when it was merely an idea bubble bouncing around my brain. She told me that choosing adventure is never the wrong decision.

Handing my keys to my friend, I knew she had to be right.

Love always,


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