In early October, I turned 26, an age that still baffles me (given my social demeanor). Another year has passed; and each day, there is a girl on Facebook who has changed her last name, rendering me completely bewildered, realizing that I can’t even remember their maiden name now. So between my surname amnesia, and the countless cohorts who are now shackin’ up and getting married, I suppose it would be a perfect time to analyze where I was, where I’m currently, where I plan to be, and most importantly: is this what I want?
Let’s face it! I live in a vacuum. Sure, I have contact with my friends and family, but the feeling that my life and theirs are segregated has never been as palpable. Something hit me tonight, as I booked my flight to Portugal. This is it! My flight is non-refundable, and I’m a penny-pincher. So that means that I’m going and there’s nothing left to change my mind. It has almost been a year since I moved from Minnesota (to San Diego), and while I have visited home countless times and gone on several vacations with the family, this time is going to be different. Once I leave for Portugal, there’s no timetable. I may be gone for a few months. I may be gone for a year, without return. Only time will tell. And for someone who is so closely-connected to a solid friend and family base, this is a huge sacrifice I’m choosing to make.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to reconnect over a couple pints with someone who I had been seeing here in Vancouver. This person still remains an important person to me. I hope to continue to be in contact with her, even after I am gone. At one point in the conversation, the issue of choices came up. Right now, I am a mid-twenty-year-old, busy being a mid-twenty-year-old. I am not at a point in my life that I want to start settling down. However, people my age, for whatever reason, instinctively go into the “settling down” mode (developmentally, most likely the drive to make a family of their own). I may go on dates, and have romance, but the inevitability is that any prospect of something meaningful is stunted by the fact that what I do for a living is not that of conventionalism. Compounded by the fact that I am adamantly and stubbornly choosing to do my travel thing, the stark reality is that every choice in life has it’s gain/deficit. GAIN: world travel sates my geographical and existential curiosity. DEFICIT: my world goes on without me.
Wow. Just as I’m typing that last sentence (and saying to myself), I’m hit with a ton of bricks. “The world goes on without you.” The world goes on without you, the world goes on without ME? What a tough pill to swallow!
Things I won’t be a part of in the foreseeable future, that epitomize this point:
– The birth of my sister’s first child
– The birth of my brother’s fourth child
– Birthdays, holidays, parties with friends and family (those of my nieces and nephews I will miss the most)
– Friends’ weddings
– Twins games
– Lives of those I care about
– Any sort of serious relationship
Within my social realm:
Q1. ) Will the world be the same?
Q2.) Will people notice I am not there?
Q3.) Will the time away severely and negatively alter my relationships with those I love?
A1.) Probs. Who they hell do you think you are? The Pope?
A2.) Of course! Life will be much quieter, and w/o migraines. And
A3.) I seriously hope not, but realize it most likely will.
So, Tim, is it still worth it? I’ll let you know, as I continue to chronicle one of the most exciting, and potentially most life-changing times of my life.