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auspicious day, remembering DC

September 9, 2009

i spent Labor Day weekend touring Washington, DC.  i have many words to say and all begin with a simple: WOW.

my last trip to DC was in the 8th grade.  i was 13 y.o.  i saved all my birthday and christmas present cash, and allowances, and my parents agreed to subsidize the rest of the trip for me.  my best friend went too.  the trip was pretty much the best thing about being 13.  i remember how excited i was to travel with friends and stay in a hotel room without parents.  i remember prank calling the boy’s rooms.  i remember being excited about the snow.  i remember the shopping mall, and being bored in the Smithsonian.  i have vague memories of seeing the White House, and in the National Archives i had a bit of deja vu.  the trip was a good one the first time, though at that time i had no comprehension of the fortitude of the national government of the United States of America. 

it was meaningful to go back at this phase in my life.  with this trip i brought the perspective of having studied law.  before then i had never had much interest in history.  all of that changed once i dove head into trying to understand the Constitution, and pouring over the formative and most impactful opinions of the Supreme Court, looking up every other word in the dictionary to determine the context of the plain and possible meanings of these documents.  my favorite class in law school was probably Constitutional law, also one my most daunting exams and near meltdown type material in preparing for the bar exam.  our founding fathers were in fact quite brilliant.  i pledge to them my deepest respects.  as you might imagine i geeked out in the National Archives this visit. 

in these last 8 or 9 years, i’ve been given an enormous gift of world travel.  i’ve seen the contrast of ancient and modern industrialized nations and third world countries.  i’ve been overwhelmed in the great remnants of Greece and Rome.  i’ve explored undeveloped lands and mystical places.  i have revelled in the variance of many ideas.  i remember how my eyes opened so wide they’d never close the same again when i first listened to how my European peers felt about US politics circa 2001.  all of these things would influence the opinions i would form and why, with a big decade of events and politics ahead.  even on this trip i had the opportunity to ask for the wisdom and insight of my travel companion who is from another country and system of government.  which was yet another opportune time for an outside perspective on what is going on.    

i will never forget the images i saw in the Newseum and how i felt about the 100s of pulizer prize winning photo journalism images.  all of these unimaginable pictures of what has happened outside the doors of this great country.  i joke that i really wanted to cry when we got to the woodstock exhibit (because i should have been there), when really it was all i could do to hold it together considering these things, these things that have actually happened in other human lives.  i will never forget touring the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in a time of political unrest in our own country, a period of economic collapse, paired with seemingly never ending division, anger and intolerance.  to consider whether racism has in fact gotten better since the summer of ’69, the same day conservatives are up in arms over an education address by the President of our country.  war and peace, and civil rights and social tolerance.  it’s important!   woodstock was right and i should have been there…  sniff sniff.

what’s interesting is the feeling i’m left with.  it’s a palpable reminder of the privilege it is to be born in this land of opportunity.  near the dawning of my 30th birthday, the timing was ripe for this introspection.  i’ve been pondering for months how i would honor all of the greatness that life has delivered to me so far.  to be able to stand in the truth that the only goal i had set for myself in my 20s to go unaccomplished was to leave the Lone Star State is evidence of an enormity of riches, for which i am ever so grateful.  

this trip i had so much anxiety about prior to departure delivered the place of recognition and honor for intricacies of my turbulent twenties.  now i can bring my 30s in with even more excitement of life ahead and the exuberant decisions of years to come.  despite what Faux News may want us to believe, there’s an incredible energy buzzing through our capital.  it’s amazing, and beautiful and inspiring.  i’m charged with  abundance of life, to not take for granted or waste it pursuing anything other than my dreams.  i’m trying to figure out how to channel this goodness to the angst in 2009 Houston air.  i think, i hope, i believe, i will find my means and environment for expression.  it’s uncontrovertibly true that only i place limits on my options.  what a great answer.  now where is my map???

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