Only one month to go!
It doesn’t matter if you’re home, abroad, or stuck in a bubble. Time runs away from us.
Forgive me for inconsistent blog posts. Writing has been a bit more difficult in the last couple of weeks – not for lack of ideas, but for the questions rushing in as the mission’s end approaches. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to? How can I get the most out of my last few weeks? Where will I call home next?
Even now, the little man at the back of my head is rattling off my day’s to-do list. He has the annoying tendency to remind me what else I haven’t yet finished just loud enough to distract me from completing my current task.
With home stretch in sight, it’s all a bit overwhelming. For the last 6+ months, I haven’t had a single Facebook update. I haven’t seen pictures of barbecues I’m missing or my friend’s child getting older. I haven’t needed to see how well an ex-girlfriend is doing or get tweets about what food a college friend is currently devouring on vacation. There hasn’t been a flood of news about the president to swim through every day. I haven’t attended a single party to witness my friends go through another step in the natural adulthood progression of getting promotions, moving in, marriage, and making little versions of themselves.
Instead, I have been surrounded by information, work, and people who are excited about and dedicated to exploration and science. Isolation has been liberating in many ways.
Having been away from all the input, it’s all a bit intimidating to return to.
I know the re-adjustment will happen quickly, but the question is what parts do I want back? That’s always a question that arises after living a different way. When I left Rwanda, I was happy to have solid internet back, but hoped I had the strength not to re-integrate into the mindset that checking my phone during a conversation was acceptable. It’s about choosing what new parts of yourself to keep, and which old parts to throw away.
The experience has given me some perspective. We’ve essentially created our own world in here, surrounded by things that motivate us to move forward. Things that I thought I needed or spent much time pursuing seem less relevant and important in my life simply because they don’t exist in here. I know what I can realistically live with and without. Without a basis for comparison through social media and friend gatherings, there is only my own self and actions to ponder.
Asking yourself what it is that you want is easy. Getting an honest answer, as it turns out, is much more difficult, especially when you’re surrounded by others and so much outside input.
Having been through temporary but intense experiences before, I’ve been feeling the mission coming to an end for a while now. While some would say “Well, we still have [insert time here] left, my brain translated it into half the time. I don’t even count the last two weeks because I know how quickly those days will fly, even for those anxious to get home. After enough adventures, one month sounds like a week to me.
Of course, there are things I am looking forward to at home – mostly seeing my little brothers and best friends again. But while other crewmembers are ramping up excitement for returning to the comfort of their homes, significant others, and salaries, I continue to search for my own meaning of comfort. I hope for a comfort that comes not just with familiarity, but with doing something worthwhile and with pulling my own weight in the world.
That being said, I’m also looking forward to chicken wings.