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The Best Part of Life

“Bees do it and fly, birds do it in the sky, bulldogs do it and stick together, so why shouldn’t I?”

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This weekend my “little” brother graduated from the Citadel, a military college in Charleston, SC. He is now commissioned into the United States Army as a helicopter pilot. I couldn’t be more proud of my brother for going after his dreams and eyeing his calling. He is the most persistent and patient guy I know! I admire him so much for our different qualities.

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In moments of accomplishment, we are inspired to reflect. Thanks to having an extended weekend—with a few extra days off of work—I had the time to think about coming of age. I especially thought a lot about this last night. The conversation started because my brother was confused that our parents weren’t going to buy his vitamins for him anymore. A startling and lame realization I had to come to upon graduating college, myself. So, this is what it is all about. My life has come to a moment where from now on, I will be paying for ‘not-fun’ things; like contact solution, and batteries, and TUMS when my tummy hurts, and chargers when mine break, and yes, even vitamins.

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After I bought my TUMS in CVS, I returned to the car, where my family began a conversation on time and money. We discussed the importance of buying one’s time by working hard and saving hard while still young. Many Americas work pay check to pay check their entire lives, never having the chance to enjoy retirement because the sentiment of buying ones time was never explained to them. As my dad explained this, my stubborn thoughts began to stir. Surely, my dad isn’t right. Surely, there are other ways of life. Maybe instead of buying time. I can spend time. So I countered my father (mistake number one). “Dad, what if I want to hike the AT or backpack through Europe?” My dad reminded me that despite how much fun that would be, it is not the smartest thing to do. Work now. Play later. This is an everlasting motif in the Malouff household.

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Still, resistant to my dads advice. “Sure dad, but what’s the point in working hard without having any fun experiences? Aren’t those experiences the happiest moments in your life?” My dad said something that startled me—he has a way of doing this. “No, daughter, achievements are the happiest moments in your life. Because though experiences are fun, experiences will never live up. They are fleeting. They will be there and then they will go away. Accomplishment sticks with you forever.”

After much back and fourth with my dad. I realized, to my themetic dismay, dang it, he’s right again. Though I still want to have experiences, like hiking the AT and backpacking through Europe (and I likely still will at some point) that cannot be my main focus. I haven’t yet defined a business plan, but I do know that I want to be an entrepreneur. ANY experience wouldn’t be worth blowing my entire savings account, at the expense of potential accomplishments that would provide me an everlasting happiness. I can experience now. Or I can save now. It might be hard. I might suffer. But if it means getting Steep In off the ground, and making a living off of what I truly care about, then screw the experiences. I can spend my life running away. Or I can spend 10 years busting my butt to get where I need to be so that I can run away later. To me, this means, I must evaluate which experiences are worth it and which are not. I must evaluate how much time I should be buying, and how much is worth spending. You just cannot have it all. That’s life.

Dad: I’m still going to set out to hike the AT at some point or another. I hope that isn’t to disappointing. That may or may not be because my frontal lobe, the portion of the brain that controls judgement, will not be fully developed until the age of 24. So maybe then, I will stop arguing. Something to look forward to…BUT I do promise I will not take a gap year without first considering pros, cons, alternatives, and your advice. I want to make this decision at an opportune time in life, which may not be until my 30s or 40s or even 50s. I found out from the trusty internet that many people do thru hike trails beyond their 20s. Let’s just hope I don’t decide to leave before the age of 24. Crossing my fingers…

Cheers to Ryan’s accomplishment on graduating! I look forward to watching you soar into your next life journey!

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