Wednesday, January 25, 2012

25 Things

I do not really know how to sum up concisely the enormous impact undertaking this project has had on me.

Writing has been a therapeutic stress-reliever and a time for reflection and growth I would never have consistently held myself accountable to otherwise, and I am so so grateful for the Leap Year Project and for others around me that influenced my decision to leap.  With that said, today is indeed my 25th birthday, and the time is come to land from my leap, look back on it, and measure it.  While I did not reach my goal (yet), starting this fund and getting it off the ground has already reinvigorated my passion for changing the playing field for adolescent girls.  In the midst of medical school and public health, it is easy to lose sight of the idealistic intentions I had when I first entered medical school.  This project has brought those back to the surface, and I could not be more thrilled.

Taking this leap definitely involved some personal risk too.  I am a borderline pathological over-achiever, and anything short of perfection has always left a big failure imprint on my self-esteem.  As self-absorbed as it might sound, I really risked hurting my own ego undertaking this project, but I am so glad I did. I started this project with extremely high expectations for myself, and while I have not yet met the financial component of my expectations, I overwhelmingly surpassed my expectations in personal growth this month.  This process has actually been so moving that my perspective has shifted, and I have truly begun to fall in love with the process more than the end result: a state of mind I hope to incorporate into my studies as well.

In fact, I love this process so much, that I will be...revealing a little secret about the project tomorrow.  For now, in honor of my 25th Golden Birthday, I would love to simply share 25 things/people/events I have been blessed with and am extremely grateful for having a part of my life thus far.

1.) Andrea @ the Leap Year Project: I was 17 years old, and she was the person who told me I was worth something, a conversation I am continuously grateful for everyday.
2.) Erin Guttenplan @ Edge of Seven: Responsible for my travels in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand and for igniting a thirst for knowledge in the realm of development.
3.) 6 Brothers and 1 Sister: My family keeps growing, and I get the privilege of learning new things about them all the time!
4.) Chocolate: Girl's gotta eat.
5.) Caffeine: I'm convinced it gives me superpowers.
6.) Levothyroxine: Reynauds, cold feet (literally and maybe symbolically) and Myxedema Madness need to stay out of my life
7.) Hand-made slippers from Germany: A gift I received on my 24th birthday that have been the only thing to succeed in keeping my feet warm in the winter.
8.) Dry roasted chickpeas: Nobody likes a protein deficient vegetarian (they get a little snotty and rude).
9.) My Couchsurfing friends! 80s beach parties, shopska salad, growing gardens and phenomenal exchanges. Nuff said.
10.) My Phoenix tattoo: Inspired by my personal hero (none other than my mom), it's a reminder of my roots and personal story.  My big brother took me to get it, and I will always remember that as an incredible bonding experience.
11.) My nose piercing: Done in Kathmandu as an act of encouragement for my friend, Ann, who pierced her ear in a moment of adolescent self-discovery.
12.) Donating 14 inches of my hair to Wigs for Kids this year: Shedding all that hair felt like an instant release of so much junk, but it was incredibly cool that it was turned into something beautiful for someone in need.
13.) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: I think everyone needs someone to talk to at some point in their life, and I'm so glad I have had the opportunity to partake in it.  I am grateful for the skills I have learned to identify the unkind words I tell myself and for learning how to be my own best friend.
14.) Being a camp counselor for AYUDA: The first time I learned I could be a change agent. To date, it was one of my most life-defining events.
15.) Natalie, my incredibly centered and sane roommate: I'm in awe at how steady she is, and am blessed to have her listen to my daily anxious ramblings.
16.)  Christine and all things public health: Saves my sanity and perspective on career 2x a week.
17.) Medicine: I don't particularly like taking it, but I love learning about, and one day, I will have the privilege to practice it - so cool.
18.) My medical school class: For being completely open and nonjudgemental last Wednesday and beyond: there are no words to describe how awesome that was.
19.) Mentors like Dr. A and Dr. K: They remind me that I may feel lost sometimes, but we'll all get to where we're supposed to be eventually.
20.) My relationship with music: Inspired by my dad, the way I relate to music is physical (through dance) and emotional, and is a gift I like to share with others via things like Grooveshark playlists and mixed CDs for those I hold near and dear to me.
21.) Figure skating: Has given me discipline in all aspects of life and pretty shiny medals too.
22.) Anna: Do you have a person in your life who tells you to GTF over yourself? If not, you should get one.  Anna is my person for that.
23.) Backpacking through India solo this past summer: I now know I can really survive alone.
24.) I have been wholeheartedly in love: This has led me to know I can also survive not alone, and is what I am most grateful for looking back at my first quarter of life. (Yes, I do plan on living until 100 unless the caffeine kills me first.)
25.) Anyone who has donated to the fund or just reads this blog.  I am incredibly grateful that you have ever clicked here.  Thank you for making my birthday truly mean something this year.


  1. Are you going to keep the blog??

  2. Yes! But some changes will be coming too!

  3. Hey, it's Doug from school. What's your Grooveshark (or as I call it, SharkJamz) handle? I love sharing music and could use some new perspective!

  4. HAPPPPPPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks everyone!
    Doug, the truth is I don't have my own account per-say; rather, I share a playlist with someone else, BUT I would looove to exchange a CD? Thoughts?