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Be the Leslie Knope of Whatever You Do

Over the past three weeks I have learned two things.

The first thing is that, based on my intense sobbing upon finishing the final episode of Parks and Recreation, I am becoming a much more emotional person.

The second is that I am in love with Amy Poehler.

Do these two things correlate? Probably. Here’s a quote:

“Emotions are like passing storms, and you have to remind yourself that it won’t rain forever. You just have to sit down and watch it pour outside and then peek your head out when it looks dry.”

My love Amy wrote this in her book Yes Please, and I’ve found it very intriguing ever since my eyes first darted across that page.

A dear friend said to me a few days ago, “You’re on a Parks and Rec high right now,” and she was right, there’s not really any use in denying that. But is this so-called “high” another passing storm, or have I really been impacted by a TV show that is just supposed to make me laugh? Based on previously stated fact that I sobbed when I finished the series, I’m going to have to go with the latter option. Let me tell you why.

Summed up in the simplest of terms: Leslie Knope. Leslie Knope is the reason why this TV show has taken over my life. For those of you unfamiliar with Lester Knop, here’s some attributes to help you get a feel for her personality:

  1. Leslie Knope loves Waffles, like really loves waffles.
  2. Leslie Knope also loves her friends, like really loves her friends. Especially the beautiful, tropical fish Ann Perkins.
  3. Leslie Knope makes scrapbooks for every life event that she deems important (which is basically all events)
  4. Leslie Knope is the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana, and she is very passionate about her job.

Now that you’ve been educated, I have to tell you that I’ve never stumbled across a fictional character more inspiring than Leslie Knope.

I don’t mean this lightly when I say that Leslie Knope has made me look at life in a new way. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to view life as she does, constantly finding the good in every situation, staying on top of tasks, and going out of the way to make sure the people I care about know that I care about them.

Being an eighteen-year-old girl, this has proven difficult. I’m always tired, I’m constantly avoiding the discussion of college, I am not good in social situations, I hate doing my homework, and I think I’m right about everything (that last one just kind of comes with being a teenager in general).

But, I am trying. And I will continue to try. When I do make a decision about college, I hope that I can dive headfirst into my career with the passion that Leslie Knope brings to Pawnee City Hall every day. I hope that as I get older I become better at showing my friends and family that I love them (sometimes an Instagram picture just isn’t enough). I hope that I learn to communicate with new people more efficiently. I hope that in the future I handle being wrong and disagreements better than I do currently. And I hope that I can view every day as something special. Because every day that we are here, doing what we love with the people we love, is a privilege. Sometimes I think we all forget that.

So, thanks Leslie. And thanks Amy Poehler for making Leslie who she is. I think I’ll be quoting Parks and Rec like my dad quotes Seinfeld (in every conversation for the next twenty years).

Go be the Leslie Knope of whatever it is you do. You’ll better the world one waffle at a time.

By laurenstockam

Lauren is graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

One reply on “Be the Leslie Knope of Whatever You Do”

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