This year, rather than resolving, I've decided to start leaping.
I suppose the term resolve was never supposed to embody the one month gym memberships and dwindling commitments, but that's essentially what New Year's resolutions have become. They are bold and wonderful statements to put you in the frame of mind into taking action about an aspect of your life, but that's all they are. They are just statements, and often empty statements, and ones I have been guilty of making over and over. They don't come with a plan for how to get from Point A to B. You can't measure them. Victor, founder of the Leap Year Project, summed it up nicely in his blogpost, "They’re often too lofty, too idealistic, annoyingly immeasurable, and they rarely lead us to long term change."
This is exactly why I've decided to forgo my "eat better, run more, study harder" mantras and instead, take a Leap. Upon leaping, you must first decide to leap, then take off, then fly, and finally land somewhere that you have decided to go in the forward direction. It is not a stagnant movement.
You move somewhere, and often in the act of leaping, you probably inspire others to do so as well.
I mean, picture this. You're walking along the Schuykill River, and then you see someone leaping. That person has a smile on his or her face, is going a little bit quicker than you, expending more calories than you, and all of a sudden, you see the wind in that person's hair and decide that leaping looks like it feels pretty good, and darn it, you decide to give it a try!
I mean, maybe that's pushing the envelope...maybe, but you get the gist. Leaping is fun and contagious, and anyone anywhere can do it! It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, but more of No Year’s Resolution: one that is palpable, will ripple to inspire others to find out what project they can do, and importantly, at whatever place they may be. Furthermore, once you land, you're ready to take off again, because you will remember how good it felt to be in the air, and hence one leap will turn into two and eventually infinite change.
I think we hesitate to do what we can until we finish a never-ending pile of “unfinished business” like Littlewhitecoats elegantly described. That is something I have struggled with in the past. But it's important for us to remember that we can start leaping wherever we are in life. We do not even have to wait until tomorrow! You can begin leaping wherever you are and affect whoever might be around you. You can make change even if you are not the weight you want to be, if you have a lot of paperwork to do, and even if you are in the middle of a divorce. You can create change even if you are studying for the USMLE/COMLEX this year, if you are drowning in medical school textbooks, and even if you are retiring this year. Where ever you are in life, you can contribute. And, if you would like to see what else people are doing in your community to get inspired, check out The LeapYear Project.
So, my first leap I'm taking to celebrate leap year is for my birthday. I am raising 2500.00 to jumpstart a girl's higher education scholarship fund in the Lower Everest Region of Nepal where I volunteered this past summer. There, we completed a hostel so that girls would be granted the opportunity to obtain merely a high school education. It is my hope that this fund will motivate talented young women in this region to pursue their dreams that only higher education can fulfill and empower them with the tools needed to better serve their community.
I have 25 days (okay, technically 27 since I'm starting Dec. 31st and ending Jan. 26th for those belated gift-givers) to make the leap and complete my goal.
In 25 days, I turn 25. I am asking for 100 of my friends and family members to donate 25$ dollars HERE by January 25th, 2012.
Along the way, I will be blogging daily about balancing the act of creating change while learning neuroscience in medical school. Thanks so much for your support, and if you would like any more information on Edge of Seven, the organization providing the scholarship, please visit www.EdgeofSeven.org