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The Guanacos

17th March 2020

In late 2018, Patrick and I had the opportunity to travel to Chile to visit my brother who now lives north of Santiago as an astrophysicist (his actual job). The first stop on our South American adventure was to make the long trek down to Patagonia as a trio.

After a three hour flight south from Santiago and nearly five hours of driving the gravel “La Ruta del Fin del Mundo” or “The Road to the End of the World” set to this playlist, we arrived in the famed Torres del Paine National Park. The region is home to flamingos, pumas, penguins and even a famed giant sloth, but it’s one silly looking dude who’s clearly the star of the show here: the guanaco.

The guanaco is a relative of the llama, a South American deer if you will. He’s really not much to write home about compared to his roommates, but here, he’s king. We were quickly trained to focus our eyes to find one and while they have a population of more than 3,000 in the park, day by day went by without a sighting.

On day three, amidst what felt like hurricane strength winds we found a guanaco. He was on top of a ridge looking down on us shining with the true Simba status he deserves.

We’d quickly learn from our guide that you nearly always have to look up to find the first guanaco. Guanacos live in herds and while famous to us park goers, they aren’t exactly on the top of the food chain. See earlier puma mention. Guanacos appoint a sentinel, or look out, to stand at the highest point nearby and watch over the other guanacos as they graze below. Find the sentinel and you’ll likely spot his friends.

It was my favorite moment of the trip, as evidenced by this 100% genuine reaction to my brother when we saw him. The idea of the sentinel has stuck with me since. We all need a lookout. As Lauren Daigle might say, look up child.

I hope you have a greater lookout that you turn to for counsel. I know I do. I was reminded of these pictures this week as we enter days, weeks, maybe even months of uncertainty. Whatever you do next, look for the sentinels. Look for the helpers. Look for the stories of the people showing immeasurable care.

Maybe even put on your best guanaco impression and go be that sentinel. Your herd needs it now more than ever. And while you’re at it, wash your hands too.

2016, I Dare You

4th January 2016

I have never been one for resolutions, but when I stumbled upon a few friends sharing a single word to challenge themselves by for the year, it sounded like something I could get on board with.

Words? I love words. If you were to dig into my computer history, you would likely find the Thesaurus to be my most commonly used app after Keynote. I spend my working days choosing the perfect word. Choosing one for myself should be easy. The only problem with this grand not-a-resolution-but-kinda idea being that while I love words, choosing a single one has never been my strong suite.

Then this morning while listening to this track on Spotify one popped into my head.

Dare.

Maybe it was the slightly dark lyrics or the ‘I could run a marathon’ beat that forced the word dare into my head, but almost immediately it felt right. When I headed to the Thesaurus and the first entry was “be brave enough”, it was settled.

Growing up, dares were something to be feared. A dare was likely something you weren’t supposed to do. A dare was going against the plan. But what if I could think about dares differently?

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Instead of a year of firsts, 2015 was the year of, “OK life, let’s do this”. It was a year where I was thankful to find focus in work, in fitness and in marriage. It wasn’t a year of puppies and rainbows, but 2015 brought me some of my most challenging, rewarding and beautifully simple days. And while every article we read about our twenties screams for us to go out and find independence, 2015 taught me to embrace never doing life alone. 2015 brought me fierce partnerships through friends, coworkers and my ultimate truth or dare partner: my husband.

In 2016, I’m daring to leave what’s comfortable, to embrace the risks, and to be brave enough to finish the next 362 days having shared a better version of myself with those important people.

Daring to trust that it is all part of the plan

Daring to show grace, not competition

Daring to trust my gut

Daring to eat the cupcake and not feel guilty about it

Daring to listen before speaking

Daring to run the hilly route instead of taking the flat one

Daring to take my time

Daring to be imperfect

Daring to choose where to eat the first time P asks

OK, so maybe that last one is a bit ambitious. 2016, here we go. I double dog dare ya.

Leaving a job for the first time

26th January 2015

“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.” – Every Thing On It 

Leave it to Shel Silverstein to be the only way I can sum up the bittersweet-ness that is saying goodbye. Friday was my last day at Moxie. It was also the first time I’ve ever truly “left” a job. Whew. Even typing that still pangs my in my heart a bit – even after spending the last three weeks knowing the date was on the calendar.

Big girl milestones over here.

After quite a few internships, I started at Engauge (which would later become Moxie) still nearly fresh out of college. So while I’ve had the chance to say my fair share of goodbyes, this one carries with it an entirely different feeling. A few to be exact.

Thankful to have had the chance to work for a company where my voice was heard and elevated in ways I never thought possible. I’ve learned to raise my hand and ask for the projects I want – then dive in and work my butt off.

Humbled to know that no one has all of the answers – no matter how much experience you may think you bring to the table. I’ve learned to ask questions and lean into the incredibly smart people around me, absorbing as much as they will let me.

Gumption to stay energized, open minded and realize the ideas that change our course rarely present themselves in a wave of brilliance. I’ve learned to hang on, to make it a habit of supporting others before myself and to offer a lending hand as quickly as it’s been given.

So here’s to another very happy start, because this past one is going to be pretty hard to top.

A new adventure. A new comfort zone. And a new color that sadly, isn’t orange. More to come.