Ever since being born, I'd always had some big thing, duty, obligation, event, or commitment in front of me. When I entered kinder garden it was looking forward to first grade, and subsequent grades. Then it was entering Middle and High School. Moving to Tennessee from Colorado with my family. Then choosing and attending colleges. There was always some event visible on the horizon or just over the horizon in my life. It never seemed to occur to me how much I controlled these choices and decisions.
As far as grade school goes, there wasn't much choice in the matter for me at all. And while I chose to attend school at Yavapai and Northern Arizona University, the influence and choices I had in the matter never really struck me as my own. Of course I made those choices, but they were always big things looming on the horizon. In Japanese, they have a word called "giri" which means something along the line of duty. 'Something you have to do.'
I applied for my student teaching job and job in Japan before I'd ever finished up my previous engagement (college or whatnot). The same happened when I finished in Japan, I had a big new thing ahead of me (Kuwait). I'd planned the Colorado Trail for when I'd finish in Kuwait, but had nothing after that point.
Then, for the first time ever, there was absolutely nothing in front of me. Nothing was waiting for me or beckoning me or otherwise pressuring me to move forward in some uncharted direction. I could sit in front of the computer all day. I could go hiking or climbing. I could lift weights till I was too sore to move. It was all up to me.
I realized also, that my future was all up to me, and that I, and only I control my future and my destiny. If I don't like something or don't want to do something, I don't really have to. If I want to stay somewhere or move somewhere new, I can (provided the choice is feasible). Whether this is the first time I've had this power over my destiny or just a thundering epiphany about it I can't be certain. Probably some mixture of the two.
Coming back to my parents and rooting through all my worldly possessions, writing my resume, and looking at my skills, talents, gifts, mementos, photographs, blog entries, book titles, camping gear, and cluttered miscellany of my life, I realize my life is mine to own. And I like my life, and the choices I've made so far. I'm happy and content with them.
So I'm going to keep journeying and wandering. I'm looking forward to my next big episode in South Korea. Wandering further down this path will no doubt close some doors over the years, but it will also open some new ones. Forks in the road today will fade in the distance behind me, while the paths I take today will eventually bring me new opportunities and decisions for tomorrow. And I'm happy and excited about the direction I'm headed in. So I'm staying on this path of travel, exploring new countries, peoples, and cultures. I'm not changing my course, for the time being, anyways.
|From Northern Arizona, 2003|