Well, I think I’ve made my decision. I’m absolutely flipping terrified. But I’ve been reminded that that’s completely normal for as big of a decision as this is, yet I can’t seem to shake how different my life is going to be from March onward. I have made countless pros and cons list, cried buckets loads of tears, spent far too much of Mom’s money making her ring me to discuss my options, lost sleep over this, have gotten myself sick stressing, and have had an hour long conversation with one of the besties (please know how much I appreciated that! <3) going back and forth. And I think I’ve come to a conclusion. *deeeeeep sigh*
As much as it’s going to affect those around me, I think I’m finally accepting and getting comfortable with my decision – I’m sure you can figure it out based on this entry alone – but I’m really hoping that everyone will understand that I need to do this for me. I think I really need this as a way to figure out 100% who I am, the kinds of things I will or will not stand up for (ew, preposition at the end of a phrase...), meet and experience fabulous people and cultures, and how I cope with everything. Using my year abroad in Scotland and my two adventures in Africa as jumping points and comparisons, I’m not nervous so much about going somewhere SO different (although, let’s be honest, I’m scared shitless), but the length of time I’ll be gone is twice as long as any I’ve done thus far. Big steps. It’ll be a change. Only an idiot wouldn’t comprehend that.
I think one of the things that has scared me the most about making this choice has been how ‘grown-up’ this makes me feel. Only grown-ups start making these kinds of decisions, basically setting the ball rolling for how the rest of their lives are going to start shaping. [And I know that those of you who are super close to me are going to roll your eyes at this next sentence, but bear with me.] My life at this precise moment in time can pretty much be explained through the lyrics of one John Mayer – yep, here come the eye rolls – from ‘Stop This Train’: So scared of getting older; I’m only good at being young. I really think that’s part of the reasons I haven’t been able to so readily say ‘HECK YES, LET’S DO THIS!’ I feel like once I’ve said yes, that’s it, my childhood/youth is over, despite being only 22 (23 when I officially head out) and having so much life left to live. It’s going to be hard to come back after this and totally revert to the girl who willingly lets Grandma scratch my back, Grandpa make ‘faffles’ with lots of syrup every morning, who can work at the Disney Store (as hellish as it was) just because she loves watching Disney movies so much.
At the same time, though, another JM lyric comes to mind that I think will really help me find peace with this decision: I believe that life’s gonna see all the love I give returned to me. That pretty much sums up something I’ve always said; it’s part of the reason behind my infinity symbol. Not that I’m expecting someone to praise me or shower me with money and gifts once I return from service, but just knowing that I’m doing something to ‘help’ (hopefully) so many people – whether it’s by doing a silly dance and making a person smile or if it’s developing a clean water system for a village – I’m hoping to be build up a store of good karma. And we all know how karma works... But having said that, if you just so happen to marry rich (*cough*Tazer*cough*) and have extra money that you need to do something with, I’ll gladly let you hire me to run your NGO or charity. ;)
Please be patient with me as I use this place to vent my frustrations, tweak about my fears, and be excited about what’s to come for me in the next three years. Also, if you don’t agree with my decision, please keep it to yourself. I honestly don’t think there will be many, if any, of you, but just in case... I’ve been hard enough on myself as it is and this is my turning point: I’m doing this for me. As much as I value your opinions, I don’t need you to tell me how to live my life. Encouragement and well wishes would be MUCH more widely appreciated. Anything to help my transition would be great. And just know, when I get back from Africa, I’m going to need to spend as much time with most of you as humanly possible. ‘Cause let’s face it: how many of you, other than Mom and maybe Mike or Dad, will actually truck your ass out to Kyrgyzstan to come visit me?
Miss and love you all.