Our community contact here in Letterkenny, or as us scholars like to say our “team mom”, is Attracta Winters. Attracta and her family have been so welcoming and kind to us from the moment we arrived. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for everything that they do. Mak and I spent this past Friday afternoon with Attracta’s 14-year-old daughter, Anna. We had a “girl’s day”! We went out to lunch and visited a few of the local antique and record shops in town. On our walk back home, the three of us were talking about life and the “mysterious” idea of growing up when Anna asked, “When did you find yourself?”.
I know, I am only 22 years old, but I truly believe that I have kept the same personality while maturing over my years. I told Anna that I knew I was unconditionally happy with who I am when I spent the summer before going into my senior year of college interning in New York City with the Hearst Corporation. (Fun fact – NYC is actually one of my favorite places in the world). My mom works for Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine, which is owned by the Hearst Corporation under their magazine division, so she was able to help me gain an intern position within Hearst’s finance department. I was excited, nervous, and anxious to start my first “real world” experience in the city. Other than going away for college, this was the only additional period of time where I was going to be alone, but this time I wasn’t going to have teammates or roommates – just myself. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how much that summer was going to mean to me.
I had, no question about it, the best summer of my life. I learned so much and I was able to see a glimpse of what my life will, hopefully, be like once I’m out of school. I realized just how “un-lonely” being alone actually is. I loved walking to work every morning, taking/learning the subway by myself, even eating alone made me happy. Every night after my internship, I’d take a walk through Central Park. For those of you who aren’t aware, Central Park is an 840 acre, man-made park that runs between 59th street and 110th street. You’ve probably seen a film or two that features it (ex. Home Alone 2, the Devil Wears Prada, 13 Going on 30). When I’d go on my walks, I’d take a different turn every night so that I’d end up somewhere new. I loved having time by myself; adventuring on my own with no plan. Some of my favorite places to see in the park were Strawberry Fields, Alice in Wonderland, Belvedere Castle, and Shakespeare’s Garden.
One night, I was standing on the Bethesda Terrace (SPOILER – for any Gossip Girl fans, this is where Chuck and Blair get married) that overlooks the lake in Central Park. It was a beautiful summer’s night and I remember looking around at all the different types of people who were out. There were people taking a workout class; some were playing music; others were taking photographs; there were even a few couples row boating across the lake. I remember thinking to myself to always remember this moment – a moment where my happiness was inexpressible. I was alone, but it did not feel that way. I had myself and I knew right then that I am all I need to be happy.
So, for the young boys and girls who may have stumbled across my blog this week: I promise you are more than enough. Make sure you dream big and don’t be afraid to chase after what you want – you can get there, but only if you keep going. Remember, good things take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
What’s a leprechaun’s favorite kind of music?
Sham-rock and roll!