The Beginning of The End

A month from now, someone is going to be getting ready to be given the job of a lifetime. A month from now, the first girl of the Miss America class of 2017 will be crowned. A month from now, will be my last day as Miss Vermont.

That's it, there is only a month left.

Eventually you'll see my farewell video - but in it I say, "in some ways, it barely feels like a year, in other ways it feels like all six [years] have just happened."

Honestly, that is so true. Some days I wake up and I feel like I have been Miss Vermont for hundreds of days. Other days, I feel like I just got here.

Sometimes I feel like this has been the busiest year of my life. And sometimes I feel like I cannot possibly squeeze enough into the next four weeks.

Obviously, I'm kind of in a dichotomy of emotions at all times right now.

So, not much to my surprise, as soon as someone hears that I'm almost done, I get a handful of questions. Usually people are surprised I'm almost done - true, summer pageants are more common. But in some regard that goes back to the fact that every day that I am out there and on the road, I am going somewhere I have never been. Still I am meeting new people, and having new experiences.

Anyways. I have been thinking about these answers a lot - especially given that I am so torn with this weird final window of time...

Is it hard to believe you're almost done? 

Mostly no, it has felt like almost a year. Some days it is hard to imagine that the last few weeks have flown by this quickly. But all in all, no, I believe it. It's been a wild and amazing year, but yes, a year.

Are you sad?

Kind of. 

I think most titleholders will say there is this bittersweetness that fills your last few weeks. In some ways, I'm ready to pass on the title. I'm ready to see someone else live this dream. I'm ready to show someone else how amazing this job is. 

In other ways, I'll miss it. I'll miss being able to take the time every single week to visit a new community in Vermont. I'll miss being able to walk into a room of kids, and know that they're going to hear a message from me about service. I'll miss the magical moments, the little things you don't expect, but at the end of an eighteen-hour day make you go, oh my God, this job is everything.

Do you have a favorite memory?

All of it. My favorite parts have been all of it.

Every person, every appearance, every chance to share what I do. From Florida to Maine, from Fenway to Magic Kingdom, from preschools to Project Independence. I have loved it all. I have loved every exhausting day, every long drive, every hour of sore toes. All of it.

What will you miss most?

Getting the chance to show someone - at every appearance - who Miss Vermont is, and what she stands for.

From the time I was crowned I kept in my mind at each event, that I may be the only Miss Vermont they ever meet. That every person that I see, speak to, hug, and take a photo with - I might be their only brush with the Miss America Organization. And knowing that, I truly made the effort to make every meeting, every photo, every hi, and every thank you as heartfelt and genuine as possible.

That instant connection, gratitude, and deliverance of the kindness that each Miss State has - I will miss sharing that as much as possible. Not that I won't be walking into situations without that mindset, but I will be walking in without the title.

What do you want in the next Miss Vermont?

Kindness. Commitment.

That's it. I want someone who loves Vermont so much that it spills out of her at every appearance. I want someone that genuinely cannot wait to meet as many Vermonters as possible - to hear their stories, to learn who they are. I want someone who knows that above all else - above the beauty, the hair, the clothes, the shoes, the sponsors, and the fanfare - that kindness is what she needs to have in order to be successful at this job. I want someone who knows that when that comes from a true place of service, from the deep down desire to serve others, it's the realest form of kindness out there.

And I want someone who is committed.

I want someone who knows, really knows, that this is job. A hard, challenging, constant, expensive, rewarding, amazing, one-of-a-kind job. That no matter how tired you are, or how sore, or how sad, or how...done you are - you still show up, and you still show up 100%.

Because she was picked for this. Because she is always going to be capable - regardless of the exhaustion. I want someone who expects all of that and still says, "I want that."

I want someone who's never going to back down from what she wants out of her year. I want someone who is committed to the program, to the service, to Vermont, to her platform, to making Vermont just a little bit better by sharing her story.

Finally, what's next? 

Pizza. Sleep. And no heels for three months, at least.

Honestly, more time in the gym, more time with friends, more dinners with family, more lazy weekends, more days in the sun, more hours writing, more relaxing. And still, meeting Vermonters, serving Vermonters (and Vermont couples whatwhat.) 

The beauty of this job is the crown opens doors, but they stay open as long as you are willing to keep asking if you can come in, and keep welcoming others through the threshold.

Please come, by the way, on April 21st. Please come support the next girl who will be in these shoes (maybe literally, if she's a 8.5/9.) Please come wave goodbye to this wild year with me.

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