It was the first time we’d had more than six people in our small house. We’d never had anything like this small gathering since we moved in five years ago.
Our adorable lab-terrier mix, Sugar, was nervously trotting through the kitchen, stopping occasionally to look up at the strange people bending down to pet her. We were both utterly overwhelmed. Fortunately, it wasn’t the abnormal number of people scratching my back that was getting to me. Instead (and I shamelessly acknowledge all of its banality), in a way it had never been before, my heart was full.
I can honestly say that I did not expect the weeks leading up to my gap year departure to be this difficult. I’ve always considered myself so above normalcy and routine that I could get up and leave my life behind at any moment if there was another opportunity out there that better suited me.
But wow… WOW was I wrong.
The temptations of world travel and service might reel me in more than the average person, but I’m leaving behind a life I’m more than happy and comfortable with, and sometimes it’s difficult to ignore the counterintuitiveness of that.
I like knowing that there are people in my life that I value and that value me.
I like spending nights with friends not really needing to worry about anything beyond the room we’re in.
I like coming home knowing that when things are rough, rock bottom means nothing worse than crying to my mom.
Now here I am, getting ready to leave all of these relationships for ten months — existing in a world far, far away, with only the ancient “email” and an occasional phone call to build my bridge back home. No snapchats or texts to stay informed about the little nuances of my friends’ lives, or brief drives to see the faces and hear the voices of the people I love.
Contrary to what most of my peers are doing and what we are seasoned to expect in a novel, I’m not going straight from chapter one to chapter two. I’m inserting this “interlude” (a word I use for no other reason than the fact that it sounds more poetic than “gap” or “bridge”) into the story of my life.
So aside from this blog and random attempts to keep in touch with people at home, their lives will seamlessly roll on without me in it.
If I don’t make a conscious effort to maintain relevance in people’s lives and make sure they remain relevant in mine, I risk leaving them behind in chapter one.
No way can I say that that doesn’t scare me.
I absolutely love when things come full circle. It is the single literary or cinematic element that can almost always take my breath away when done effectively.
Just a few days after I’d had a conversation with my grandmom about wanting to reach out to the important people in our lives; a few weeks before I planned to depart for my gap year and bring the first chapter of my life to a close — I stood in my house, as excited as the anxious dog trotting beside me, and in an almost dreamlike state, I saw the faces of some of the most influential people in my life.
My mom and sister had brought them to celebrate my graduation, birthday, and gap year departure. I’d never seen so many different parts of my life collide all at once.
Chapter one had come full circle. It almost felt like cheating. With no effort on my end, I was able to reach out to all of these amazing people and watch them connect to each other, hopefully realizing their remaining relevance in my life. These were the people that I brought up in deep, meaningful conversations, which I most often had with the same people. And here they were so naturally realizing why.
If you’re taking the time to read this, chances are you’re also someone I want in chapter two. Maybe you’re one of the people from the party or one of the many, many other remarkable people from chapter one. Maybe you’re a past, current, or future Global Gap Year Fellow. Maybe you’ve just got some interest in the Campus Y.
The “wise”, “worldly” side of me wants to use this blog as a platform to give you all unique global perspectives and valuable life lessons, and I certainly hope I can do that from time to time. But another, less altruistic side of me just wants this thing to be interesting enough that you continue to think about me while I’m away.
So welcome to my interlude, the front line of my attempt to remain relevant in your lives.
I desperately hope you enjoy, and I can’t wait to see you in chapter two.