Thursday, October 25, 2012

Where I Sleep

I'm writing this blog on my 26th birthday (by my count, which is probably off by at least six time zones, I am 6 minutes into my twenty-seventh year). Of these twenty-six years, I can honestly say that the last two and a half have been the most important.

In the six weeks I was home, I heard one thing more than anything else: I'm different. Whereas before I wasn't aware of the changes occurring within and around me, growing older has allowed me a closer seat to retrospection. Of course I can't observe these things as they happen, but now I am aware ... which is definitely new.

Looking back, I've always enjoyed life, but today I can say I understand much more of it; this is something I could not have said at 23. I think a lot of my growth came from the acceptance that I am always a student, even in my work with the Peace Corps - I have learned so much more from this experience than I could ever hope to teach - and understanding this has made my job much easier; it's also made the world more enjoyable.

I will never be perfect (audible gasp), but no one is. While this used to be an earth-shattering possibility, I realized that giving myself (and everyone else) the space to make mistakes, sometimes fail, and almost always land right on my face, was the key to my success. I had more fun and learned a valuable lesson in the fact that the world was still standing when I picked myself up. Looking around me I can see that true beauty doesn't lie in perfection; my most exciting adventures, my most memorable moments, were born out of the unexpected.

Maybe it came from a willingness to put myself out there, trusting that everything would work out even when it didn't; I found that having such an extreme lack of control created a sense of reckless abandonment I completely embraced. And though it may seem backwards, letting go of that control seemed to garner me more of it (unless of course I noticed, after which I would almost always be forcefully thrown from my high horse).

After all of this, more than anything else, I've found that I'm happy. Even as I say this, I will admit that it wasn't always easy; this has not been a smooth journey, but my happy eyes tend to forget the struggle they sometime see. Honestly, I think it's the risks that have made me happy - the blind chase after my dreams - because in them, even in failure, I find fulfillment. Yes, I miss my friends and family; yes, I miss the amenities that make America so wonderful, but I'm proud of my work. This alone fills up all of my empty spaces and makes time pass so quickly that endings still sneak up on me.

At twenty-six I'm proud of myself in a genuine, healthy way; I'm motivated even in moments of doubt; more importantly, I'm self-assured. All of these things, if nothing else, make three and a half years absolutely worth it.

As I start a new year, I start a new job; I'm in a new city and a brand new house; I'm even thinking of getting new babies (read: kittens). Call me crazy, but (be it the size of my new house, the job I both sought and was fortunate enough to get, or the general proximity of a pretty awesome beach) I think it's gonna be one hell of a good year.

Wish me luck!