Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Goodbyes are hard...

There are definitely three parts of emotions that tie into this whole "moving to Africa" business. Most of the time they all collide at once which leaves me in this weird limbo that would almost seem apathetic except for the fact that I can't stop talking about the trip.

There is this overwhelming sadness about leaving my home and friends (who feel more like family) and all these goodbyes; they are so hard. One or two a day isn't so bad, but continually hugging and saying goodbye to 10 different people in a day that I don't know how long (if ever) it will be before I see them again, is really emotionally taxing. It makes for random out-bursts of sadness over things that normally wouldn't upset me so much. At least I'm aware of it...

Then there is this fear. I mean, I sold all my stuff, quit my job, and am moving to Africa. That's freakin' scary! I really have no idea what to expect. Things are comfy-cozy here and if I stayed I could, for the most part, predict where I wanted to be in the next few months at least. Traveling, is a whole different story. Everything will be new. I can't even imagine what life is going to look like in a month. But at the same time, I know in my heart I'm going to love and enjoy every minute of it...

Then comes the excitement... obviously. I can't wait to step off that airplane into what my Uncle describes as "an over-heated, crowed sauna" and spend months learning about things I never even new existed. The languages, the culture, the people, the relationships, reconnecting with God in a whole new setting and learning how to love with a whole new set of rules (or non-rules).
And of course, I'm really excited about those elephants.

But this last week I'm finding that the emotions aren't colliding like they used to. Instead of combining to become this one solitary, logical frame that I can handle very well, I'm just getting tossed back and forth between all three. Moving from so sad, the thought of hugging one more person Goodbye might make me teary eyed, to so scared I'm almost nauseas, then to so excited I have to call my Mom and tell her about everything just so I can talk to someone who isn't sick of me talking about going to Africa yet (even though she probably is, but loves me enough she'll just listen to my voice anyway).

Its a bloody roller coaster... so excuse me if I don't seem like myself.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Who am I without my context?

I am I, plus my surroundings, and if I do not preserve the latter,
I do not preserve myself.
~Jose Ortega y Gasset

We are defined by family, tradition, the things we value and even those we take for granted. Remove our context and we remove the chains securing us to the pier.

Context is everything. Erase the white from the paper and we cause even wise words to vanish. Erase what connects us, we erase ourselves.

We look to the future and place great value on what is new, forgetting that what is old is not only what got us here, but what supports us in our daily progress. Cut too many ties to the past too fast and we drift forward aimlessly.

When building a future we offer the promise to make things better, and have the obligation to reinforce what was already good.

A future focused only on the new with no connection to what was good in the past, falls to ruin as a kite with a broken string.

The notation “You are here!” lacks meaning without the map. ~


I think this author is brilliant in acknowledging how much influence our surroundings have on who we are. I've always noticed how in so many areas of my life I struggle to re-create my identity in a new context, new surroundings. I see it more so in a lot of younger people. Different friends, different environments and atmospheres, even different clothes can challenge our identity and change the way we view ourselves; sometimes this challenge is so small we walk over it without even noticing it was there, other times the challenge is so big it throws our whole world as we know it into a state of depression or it feels like we've hit that chaotic prepubescent stage of our lives all over again.

What I really feel about this, is if you are who you are, and you believe that will not change, then you don't need to worry about what happens when the white of the paper disappears, because you can always trust that if the words were written they are still there even if you can't see them with your eyes in that moment.

However, I don't believe that we are who we are without change. I don't believe anyone is that static. It's kind of like when couples who are married for a long time start saying "this isn't the man/woman I married." I say, "well, duh." If experiences, challenges, adversities, relationships, senses, lessons, dreams, victories, and even failures are a part of our lives, then we can't count on never-ending growth and a personality and character so dynamic that the only constant is (excuse the cliche), change. I wouldn't even feel confident saying all of our morales stay the same.

My own personal belief is that our souls stay constant. But I have nothing to back that up. I can't even define a soul. But if there is something inside every person that we will always recognize and attribute to being "who they are", I would call it a Soul.

In the end, the biggest balance we are trying to achieve is accepting who we are in the now, and at the same continue to move forward, grow and learn, yet still being cautious to not race after that growth and change and miss out on the experiences you have in this very moment.

I'll write more about my thoughts on this balance later...

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Alright, so I am a little bit scared...

Don't get me wrong, I'm a lot more excited than I am nervous, but this definitely isn't easy. I'm not scared of bad things happening to me (not naive about it either), and I'm not too concerned about missing the life I have here (even though I will). It's just not that easy to completely give up control.
Actually being willing to walk blind-folded up a path I've never been and trust the wind to push me in the right direction, its kind of scary.

But thats the part I love.

I think its why I've always been so intrigued by skydiving. I love the feeling of giving up all control, of knowing that once you take this step, you have to just trust because you can't go back. You step out of a plane, into thin air and fall, knowing that the wind will catch you (in manner of speaking).
In a much more metaphorical sense, I'm expecting the wind to catch me. In giving up everything worldly and not having a cent to my name, I'm totally free-falling. I totally get how a lot of people wouldn't see it as smart.

But who cares - I only get this life once. I'm not turning down any opportunity to live it to the fullest and see where the wind will take me.

Wow, I almost sound like Pocahontas with all this "wind" talk.

All I'm trying to say is, "yeah, I'm freaking scared... and I love it."