In case it wasn’t apparent enough already, I have deep love for Dr. Seuss. I grew up with a bookshelf lined from end to end with a collection of his books, their vibrant illustrations and imaginative storylines taking center stage each night before my bedtime. I knew each book by heart; my dreams filled with vivid images of truffula trees, wockets, and of course, the ever-prominent sneeches.
Of all of Dr. Seuss’s books, however, my favorite was the lesser-known Horton Hatches the Egg. For those of you who don’t know the story (first of all, stop reading right this instant and visit your local bookstore. I’m dead serious. You are missing out on a literary masterpiece. Why are you still reading this? Go.), the book follows Horton the elephant, who is convinced by Mayzie, a lazy, negligent bird, to sit on her egg while she takes a short “vacation”, which turns into a permanent relocation to Palm Beach. Horton endures the elements and taunting by all of his friends, repeating to himself the whole time: “”I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!” Long story short (it’s actually only 64 pages), Mayzie comes back just as the egg is about to hatch and demands it be returned to her, attempting to take credit for all of poor Horton’s hard work. Since this story is called Horton Hatches the Egg and not Horton gets Charged with Felony Kidnapping, Horton winds up hatching a half-elephant, half-bird creature and gets to return home with his (child?) in tow.
Now, as a little kid, what I took away from the story is of course that perseverance is rewarded and you can’t run away from your responsibilities. Horton was clearly the hero in the story and my five-year-old self took that very seriously. Horton was good and Mayzie was bad. (Side note: I took the moral of that story to the extreme. Imagine a little kid with a bowl cut and a turtleneck reminding you of every promise you ever made with the reasoning of “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!” I think for a while there I actually thought that I was an elephant too. It was a bit concerning.)
Lately though, I have been pondering the role of the Mayzie bird. Sure, she went about it the wrong way, but what’s so bad about wanting to move to Palm Beach? What’s life without a little spontaneity? Some adventure? Now, I am not condoning Mayzie bird abandoning her child to go gallivant around on some sandy isle down south, but at the same time I do think Horton kind of needed to lighten the hell up. I mean what was stopping him from packing that egg up and living his life? He totally missed out on this giant chunk of time for no good reason other than he took himself a little too seriously.
Now for those of you who may be wondering why exactly I have spent the last four paragraphs ranting about a children’s novel, I swear there is a point. As I navigate my way through my second semester of college, this idea of responsibility obviously has a huge role in my life. I am responsible for myself in every capacity now; I’m an adult. I have to file a tax return, prepare myself to join the work force, focus on my studies, figure out what exactly I want to do for the rest of my life, etc. And the fact of the matter is, this stuff is BORING. I’m not going to tell the story of that wild night I stayed in and learned the fundamental theorem of calculus. Or that one crazy time I learned how to fill out a W-2 form. While this is all very important, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not experiencing life at the same time. This works both ways too, if you’re having too much fun, but neglecting all of your responsibilities, you’re not going to get very far.
I suppose that’s why I’m looking forward to 2016 and sort of why this blog was created (and hopefully will be maintained). This year, I think I’ve struck a good balance between Horton and Mayzie bird. While I am taking 17 credit hours this semester, I will also be preparing to travel to approximately two new states, four different continents, and 8 countries all within the next six months. While doing this, I will be earning college credit (at least for some of them), and using the money that I scraped and scrounged for all last summer (granted their was a lot of spending there that was definitely a bit on the irresponsible side of things, but we are back to pinching pennies). So while I have fulfilled the responsible side of things, the fun side of it definitely takes the cake here. The last few weeks have been unbelievable as plans have fallen into place and yes, as cheesy as it sounds, dreams have been coming true. I’ve found myself counting down the days until my adventure begins (I fly out to D.C., the first of my many destinations, on March 11). However, it has recently occurred to me that it’s already begun. While it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting in just a few more weeks, it has been a wild ride already: last year I started college, moved to a brand new city, met all new people, and have created some wonderful memories with some pretty great friends. None of that should be discounted. But also at the same time New Zealand>>>College. Nonetheless, in this blog I will (attempt) to catalog all of my adventures, both big and small. I suppose it would only be appropriate to end this post with a quote from the Dr. Seuss book for which this post is named. While most would go with the ever optimistic, “Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!” I think I’m going to go with one that sort of sums up the most exciting part of this whole experience: “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go!” Here’s to you 2016.