Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Looking Ahead

A few years ago, my two best friends and I sat down on New Year's Eve around the kitchen table not planning to go out, not even planning to leave the house nor remove our pj's, and barely even considering making "resolutions." Instead we created Bucket Lists. Really long ones filled with the easily attainable, the difficult but doable, and the nearly impossible, but still not impossible.

Today, I still have this list. It is obnoxiously long and filled with my funny, random, simple, and crazy desires. Despite being a little frivolous in some cases, it is probably one of the most important documents a person could and should own. With it you can reflect and ask yourself, how many things have I checked off my bucket list this year? Then you will know you are really living the life you dream of. 

It is with that list in hand that I look back on this past year and a half and realize I am exactly where I wanted to be many years ago when I wrote it. I am living the life I had dreamed of then. The list is significantly shorter now and I have crossed off some big ticket items- joining PC ( and finishing...almost...), becoming fluent in a foreign language, living abroad for more than a year, and climbing a volcano among just to name a few. I realize I am lucky. I am fortunate enough to not only have dreams, but to watch them come true. There are so many kids around the world, including here in Upire, that don't even know how to dream. I am so grateful that my I was born to a Mother who constantly told me I could be anything I wanted to be, that I was born in a country and in a place with the resources and a school system that helped me learn, grow, and reach for the stars, and through that I developed the skill and confidence to dream BIG. 

Although it is a beautiful gift that I love and treasure, it sometimes gives me great anxiety. 

I guess to be politically incorrect I have "first world problems." I spent some (more than I care to admit on this blog ;)) time this month updating my bucket list and trying to figure out how to keep living my dreams. Tragedy struck when I realized I have too many dreams. I know what you are thinking...poor, selfish, little, ignorant Jamie wants to do and see everything. She actually spends her time creating a list of dreams. Yes, GUILTY.

Okay, it is not that bad....what I mean is that 2013 is a new chapter. I will begin and finish my final projects in Upire, I will finish my Peace Corps service, and return back to the states saying goodbye to the last two years of my life. It is terrifying because for the first time in my life I do not know what is next for me. I have a lot of dreams or ideas for my life, no sense of direction, and little sense of place geographically speaking (all I know is Mom lives in Delaware, but I can't say I want to, sorry Ma). So, the world is literally wide open (well as long as the world will have me and circumstances permit). 

Many (even I) would call me lucky. Free to dream up a life. Free to pick and choose as I see fit. Free to explore for a bit. But as much as I like adventure, freedom, and change Peace Corps has taught me that although all of that is fine and dandy at times, there is also great beauty in security, stability, and having some kind of plan or schedule. So how does one reconcile wanting adventure and security, wanting change and stability, and wanting freedom but also some concrete plans and a schedule? 

I thought 2 years in Peace Corps would give me time to think and "figure out my life." Although  I have time left still, it does not feel nearly long enough. In fact, I believe it has been my relatively long time in the Peace Corps that has given me some tough love and opened my eyes to the reality of certain dreams. As a result, I find myself trying to reconcile the seemingly opposite personal desires listed above. 

So my dreams do not seem so clear anymore. Barely clear enough to make a Bucket List I can make sense of. But maybe that is the point. As one proverb says, "A well beaten path does not always mean the right road." Maybe I am just carving a new type of road- something previously unknown, untouched, and unique. Something that right now does not make sense. Maybe my path is not there yet, it is waiting for me to make it. I know it sounds cheesy, cliche, and like a line from a stupid, romantic comedy, but it is probably true. There is a way to reconcile all of my goals. I just have to do the work and find it.

"It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey." 
**Wendell Berry 

For your viewing pleasure a look into the current Bucket List (10 only):
1. Finish my Peace Corps Service 
2. Upon finishing PC travel through Central America
3. Run an International Marathon
4. Find my dream job
5. Get my Masters Degree
6. Learn to fly planes
7. Live in Europe
8. Pay off debt
9. Know Love
10. Finish Top 100 Books to Read before I die List

What's does your list look like?

1 comment:

  1. guilty,my bucket list is watching your complete yours,and I know what your thinking