June 14, 2011

Passing 38 Months of Service

I am currently finishing my 38th month in the Peace Corps. Last week, together with first, second and third year Volunteers, I watched our newest group of Volunteers arrive here in Mongolia complete with hoots, hollers and high fives at the airport.

Peace Corps is a funny thing, three years goes by in a flash but it also feels like forever. I've changed a lot, but I still have so much in common with our newest Volunteers. After listening to them, walking and laughing with them, and helping them through their first day I found myself smiling so much my face hurt. It's inspiring to see their enthusiasm and think about all the incredible things they will experience during their service in Mongolia. Peace Corps has definitely changed my life and I feel grateful for it every day.

I will finish my Peace Corps service in September, but for those who have served in the Peace Corps, the journey is never over. Life is for service. Life is volunteer. "Service is the rent we pay for living," my principal Mrs. Wrights once told me, quoting Marian Wright Edelman, "It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time."

I'm very excited about the days and months ahead and going there with people that I love and admire. This week Michael, one of my best friends, is flying to Mongolia and at the end of this month Tunga and I will be getting married. We are very excited and look forward to sharing wonderful pictures and photos with all of you soon!

After Peace Corps I am very eager to read several dozen books and write two of my own: Life is Volunteer and Modern Enlightenment. I would love for you to be part of these two projects, I hope to make them the cornerstones of Advance Humanity and I'm really excited about hearing your thoughts on them. Thank you for being with me so far, I promise things are going to get really interesting these next couple months!

June 4, 2011

How Walt Disney Inspires Me To Keep Moving Forward

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."  Walt Disney (Meet the Robinsons)

When I was very young my great-grandmother told my mother that I would grow up to be an inventor - that I was going to create something new and amazing. I've been thinking about that on and off for about twenty years. I've always loved creating things, organizing things in new ways and stepping back to look at the big picture (including how you and I fit into the solar system for instance). I easily lose hours reading, thinking, talking and writing about big ideas - things like what Disney really wanted EPCOT to be.

Disney has always inspired me tremendously. His imagination was extraordinary and his willingness to put everything out there, even when those closest to him said to back down, kept taking him higher and higher. As Chris wrote recently on the Art of Nonconformity, "Remember: The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it." Disney did amazing things, created visions of the future that people are still catching up to, and called on all of us to create a better tomorrow.

Throughout this week I will post up quotes from Disney that I wrote down when my family and I took Tunga to Disney World for the first time this past Thanksgiving. I hope Advance Humanity, and all of the work that we are able to do together, will always keeping moving us forward. I think we all have a very bright future ahead of us if we are willing to create it together. I, for one, look forward to it. As Disney said, “It's kind of fun to do the impossible.”

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