This journey really began in August, 2009. When I return home this time, it will mark the three-year anniversary of the first time I went abroad. Since that time most everything in my life has changed and evolved to such an extent that my previous life, a mere few years ago seems a distant past, a girl I recognize but can’t quite relate to. When I left the first time I was searching for myself, and came back more lost then when I had left. The reverse culture shock was jarring, I was resentful towards my home country. But I got better, I learned. It’s taken much time since then to begin to figure out, really, what is important. I’m not there yet, and to be truthful, I don’t think I’ll ever be. But that drive to keep exploring and searching has been the force behind much of what makes me happy today. By never finding my end place, I’ll never have to worry about life growing dull or stagnant. I want to always evolve, until my last moment on earth. I crave movement in life, it helps give me a sense a fulfillment. Growth is joy, resistance to it is death. But I’ve also been seeking a way to give more. The world, through travel has given me more than I could have ever hoped. Though I never would have known, I dare not to think how different things would have been had I not boarded that plane. I want to give something back, and this desire has prevented me from moving forward with what I suppose would be my career. I need to feel part of something bigger than myself. I can’t commit to something in which I cannot envision a greater good. The work I do needs to be more than about making a living, it needs to help others. Even if this means I make little money myself. I cannot fathom dedicating my life to anything less than something of this nature. Perhaps when I’m older that might simply mean caring for a family and assuring their wellbeing in the world, I feel, at this point in my life a need for something more global.
Yesterday morning, I was given a ticket to that possibility. An acceptance, to Columbia University’s School of Public Health in Environmental Health. A dream program, at a dream school, in one of my favorite cities in the world. I’m happy, I should be thrilled. But the implications that lie with such a commitment comes in direct conflict with being with the one person I love most in this world. It is a beyond impossible decision to make. Though to have both is certainly possible, it is, like everything a great gamble. One I’m not certain I can make. To make a “wrong” decision is something I fear greatly. For the first time my decisions truly affect more than just myself on a significant scale. I am beyond the ability to make the selfish, what’s “best” for me decision; it is gravely uncertain what “best” could be. My life is where he is. There is no negotiation in how I feel in this regard. I’ve done long distance. It is painful, but short-lived. This decision however could turn months, into years, into forever. I can’t bare that thought. Above an Ivy league education, or any job, or most anything else in this world family takes the main-stage. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want both. Or that I’m not exceedingly grateful for such wildly blessed opportunities. I don’t want to waste what I’ve been given, on either front.
This trip, in two weeks couldn’t come at a better time. I desperately need that removal from my immediate surroundings, and more importantly, myself, to have a chance at thinking clearly. I’m far too entrenched, and while a trip of this nature is by no means necessary, it certainly couldn’t hurt. I feel bogged down in my own mind. I need something outside of myself. There are ultimately, many choices that could be made, some I may not even see yet. It’s funny, how life events seem to line up effortlessly, as if some more basic part of me knew how important this trip could be. I have no way of knowing what will happen next. I can only hope to be open to all possibilities, and trust myself to make the best one.
Two weeks from today I’ll be somewhere over the Pacific. I can’t quite grasp that yet. But I can hardly wait.