I Want to be Great.

This is no secret… nothing that I was ever trying to hide or deny. It’s just something that, recently, has become an overwhelming, undeniable “calling” (for lack of a better word).

It’s consuming my every thought (besides the thoughts that revolve around food and my love/hate relationship with running. oh, and school) and I just want to DO something about it.

I want to be GREAT.

Let me explain:

I’m a mediocre student, who runs a mediocre mile pace, and has mediocre days, that revolve around mediocre meals, conversations, television shows, workouts, and so on.

This past summer, I went to Australia. And it was mind-blowingingly beautiful, breathtaking, and amazing. For those short, 6 weeks, I was a part of The UNSW Summer School Wild Life group. I guess I didn’t realize it until I just looked back at the pictures, but we were a part of something great. Granted, it was short-lived, but great nonetheless.

The recurring theme of me not recognizing the wonderful things I have, or the wonderful things I am a part of I guess could be re-inserted here. But that is not the focus of this post, also, I don’t believe that is the stem of this problem, or desire.

I want to be great.

Alexander (the Great) lead a badass army and killed a bunch of people. Centuries later, he’s still known as great. THE great. Well, shit. I guess I could go around, recruit people for my army, kill a bunch of people, and maybe get written into the history books. But that’s not really what I’m talking about…

To be honest, I don’t even know exactly what I am trying to talking about.
It started like this: I was going through people’s pictures on facebook (read: creeping). I was looking at pictures of people who go to school in different states (Colorado, Arizona… if you know me personally, you know my infatuation with these states). I couldn’t help but think that these people are living MY LIFE. There are groups of girls (sororities, I’m assuming) hiking and taking pictures in front of mountains. Sororities here? Take pictures of themselves flocking towards the bars, wasted, half-naked, and shameless. Cool if that floats your boat, but it sure as hell does not float mine.

Can I really be blaming my unhappiness on the terrain of the  midwest? Who says I can’t? Why the hell not?

One of my best friends, Maggie, moved to Nevada before we started high school. When she moved there she said “the people here are different.”
Me: “Different, how?”
Maggie: “I don’t know, just..different.”

Got to see Maggie for the first time in years when I went to Vegas!!!

Before I left for Arizona, I was in contact with a girl who grew up in Illinois but decided to move to Flagstaff and attend Northern Arizona University. When I asked her what it was like being out there, she told me: “The people are definitely different.”
So I asked her: “different how?”
Her: “Just different.”

I had no idea what any of that meant.
I moved to Arizona, and yes- the people were different, but it wasn’t anything that I was blown away by.
But now?
Now I see it. I understand it and see it all now. People out west, especially in Arizona, are different- just…different. A kind of difference that I’m longing for and craving, and wishing that I was a part of.
I’m not sure if being a part of anything out there would satisfy my desire to be great… but who knows.
“Be a part of”… 

Susie, my roommate (and still close friend!) when I was in AZ, and I would go on hikes with all of our friends. We made plans to go to the Grand Canyon, to camp, to ski and snowboard. Everything was an adventure.
Maybe it’s because it was new to me. Maybe if someone who grew up in Flagstaff came to Illinois would be absolutely THRILLED to walk through flat, corn fields, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and join in and pissing and puking on Green Street. Maybe- or maybe not.

View from my dorm at NAU. Disregard the fact that yes, there was a forest fire that morning.

Few hours south of Flagstaff. Beautiful.

So yes, I blame my unhappiness on the unfortunately boring terrain of Illinois. This could be  great sociology study- the way in which people’s geographical surrounding effect their behaviors. I mean, obviously the students here at U of I can’t plan trips to go hike up Flagstaff Mountain or drive to the Grand Canyon on a whim, but that’s not my problem. The people in Flagstaff were just more… laid back. Maybe it’s the fresh mountain air. Or maybe I just gravitate towards a “hippie” lifestyle. Maybe that’s a damn lie because here I am FREAKING out about my life decisions, and if I had a hippie mentality I’d probably convince myself to “don’t worry, be happy!” but maybe I NEED laid back surrounding to counteract my outright insanity.

Hiked up there. Breathtaking. Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

Being in Flagstaff was so freeing. I was alive and awake and happy. I came home because it “just made the most sense.”
And now, it’s haunting me. I think about Flagstaff all of the time. I miss it. I feel it in my body- my bones, my skin, I miss it. Every part of me misses it. I cannot explain it. I liked who I was when I was in Flagstaff.

I want to be Great.

How can I go about trying to achieve greatness if I myself do not feel great? Can I feel great in Illinois? If I move to a different state, or country, will I suddenly be great?
Probably not.

I suppose I should define “greatness” for myself so I can figure out how the hell to get there.

I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. Part of a group. A group that represents something that I am passionate about and love. But what? I have no idea. Just join some sweet Michael Jordan club? No. That wouldn’t make a difference.
Make a difference…. I guess I would like to make a difference. In order to be a part of something GREAT, I need to do SOMETHING GREAT. What’s greater than making a difference?
Perhaps nothing.
“Be a part of….”

Susie and I were supposed to go to Peru this past summer with her aunt who is an international nun and runs an all-girls orphanage. Our goal would be to teach the girls English and play sports with them.
The thought of being a part of that sends tingles through my body.
It ended up not working out, because of summer school that Susie had to take.
But it’s on my list of “Things to do before I’m 30”, and everything on that damn list is going to get done.

I wish I had my own connections to people, groups, organizations, etc that did great things. Actually, I want to be in charge of a group that does great things. I would like to be responsible for the great things that are happening. I want to organize things like 5k’s for certain charities, raise money for international trips, be one of those people who takes high school kids to Europe for Winter break or whatever- impart wisdom on them and be a part of one of their GREAT experiences.

I want to be a personal trainer and have people come to me with doubt in their mind and have them leave the gym with at least a glimmer of hope and the desire to treat their body better and become their healthiest, happiest self. I want to teach kids- any and all ages- and help them master something that they don’t think that they’re good at. Cartwheels, fractions, spelling, their ABC’s. I want to climb mountains and hike whenever I want. I want a beautiful view outside of my window. I want to be surrounded by people who aspire to do the same things. I want to be surrounded by people who want to do big, crazy, life-changing things like teach Orphans in Peru how to play sports and speak English. Crazy things like backpack through Europe- just because. Big things like hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, kayak down the Colorado River, set up camp, and do it all over again in the morning.


I guess I only have myself to blame for not meeting or associating with all the “right” people while in college. But it’s already over with and getting away from me. Part of me cannot escape the feeling that I just don’t belong here, never have, never will. Part of me is okay with that, because at least I know one place where I don’t belong- and I gave it a shot- a long, 4 year shot, but at least there is no question about it, and maybe I’m one step closer to figuring out where I DO belong.
I’m not a part of anything. Anything at all… and like I said, maybe it’s my fault that I didn’t become a part of anything here in Champaign, that, for the most part, I remained a single, independent entity that conformed to nothing. At the end of the day, that really is who I am, a non-comformist, independent individual. But that does not mean that I cannot achieve greatness.

New goal on my “list of things to do before I am 30”: Achieve Greatness. Make a difference. Be a part of….something.


Pagosa Springs, CO. One of my favorite towns.

“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them. ” -Shakespeare


3 thoughts on “I Want to be Great.

  1. So when I move to Oregon/ California or even on the other side of the US like Vermont of Kentucky/Tennessee we can have adventures and I can visit you and you can visit me. love you and feel you on having a love affair with anywhere but here!

Conversate! =)

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