(those are my toesies in the oh so clear water of the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama)
It came to me like an epiphany in the night. I was unable to sleep and wondering why I felt this burning need to pick up and move. And then just like that I realized I have RLS and no I am not talking about the more commonly discussed restless leg syndrome, I am talking about Restless Life Syndrome (don't bother looking this up in a medical journal, it is a thing...I am absolutely certain of it).
This time right here and right now in DC is the longest amount of time that I have lived in the same room since my freshman year of college. When you do the math what that means is that four the last five years I have been moving every 4-5 months. And sometimes moving meant from one dorm hall to the next or back to my parents home for the summer but other times it has meant getting on a plane and flying across the Atlantic where I would sleep in a different city every week or two or it has meant flying south of the border into Central America and trying to build somewhat of a life in a place so very different from anything I have ever known.
What I am saying is that sometimes staying put is hard. Sometimes it is just easier to keep moving. It is kind of like the Sea Gypsies of Myanmar. They spend so much time living in the water that they get land sickness. Returning to land makes them physically ill. I think I have gotten so used to the feeling of being in constant motion, of packing up my life in a car or a few suitcases and just pushing forward on to what is next, that I have forgotten what it is like to just be. In the last two years alone I was on a plane every four months, flying either across the country or down to Central America.
For once I have a choice of wether to stay put and to see what happens or I can choose to fly back west. And I miss everything about my home state, as I clearly mentioned here. It would be so easy to go back home, it would feel so natural to keep on moving. But then the what ifs pop into my head. What if I haven't really given this city a chance. What if in all the stress and busyness I haven't really seen it. What if the friends I have made here are a sign of the long term community I could build here.
What I have quickly come to realize is that growing older doesn't make anything easier, in fact it makes things so much more complicated. As a child I thought that adults had all the answers. I mean as a kid who grew up before the prevalence of google, my parents and our giant set of the Encyclopedia Britanica held all the secrets to the world. So as a young adult you hope that there is going to be that magical moment of enlightenment, that one that tells you which road to choose. Where all the secrets to the world just come flooding in to your head. And you just know. But there isn't. That moment is a fantasy and what you get is more life experiences that only give you more options. What you get is more knowledge that only muddles and confuses you ever so more. What you get is the reality of the profound impact that these decisions can have on the rest of your life. And let me tell you friends that is real scary.
Now I know that a decision is just a decision and that at this point in my life I have options and am lucky enough to have a support system of friends and family. And on the day to day its pretty easy to remember that and to see the little things and realize that the big picture doesn't have to be so scary. But have you actually looked at the big picture, cause I have and it is terrifying. There is no guide book to growing up....There really should be one. You spend all this time in school learning how to read a map and then nobody ever bothers giving you one. What's up with that????
So here's to finding my way. . .