Last post in the USA.
8/28/12 85 °F
I leave tomorrow for the other side of the world. The past few days have consisted of visits to every single hue on the emotional color spectrum. I feel like I've been playing Twister, but instead of playfully stretching for colored circles, I've been forcefully contorted into every single emotion imaginable. However, in this game it's not a friend calling out suggestions; it's my subconscious issuing commands. Right foot excited. Left hand terrified. Right hand nostalgic. Left foot ecstatic. Whole body free...
Moving through these catacombs of introspection, I found myself wandering through various corners of my brain. I understand that getting older is something that may be a concern to most people. But in my (short) years of (limited) experience, this is the way I see it; every year is the best year of your life. Every day is the best day of your life. No matter what the circumstance, the fact remains that you're here.. past experiences in your pocket, future experiences dancing on the frames of your sunglasses. Just put a smile on your face and keep your eyes on the horizon. All we can do is move forward, accept what has happened and use the experience to improve upon our future decisions. For years I struggled between living in the moment and worrying about the future. If I've learned anything, it's that you have to enjoy every single day and savor the small things; all the while setting yourself up for a better tomorrow. No matter how bad a storm gets, the sun is always smiling behind the clouds, waiting to warm you with its rays.
The other day my Dad suggested that I put together "need to do, ought to do, and want to do" lists before I leave. While there were plenty of things that immediately went into the 'need to do' and 'ought to do' lists, I found myself struggling to come up with much for the 'want to do' list. For a while I found this frustrating and attributed it to the fact that the 'need' and the 'ought' were simply outweighing the 'want'. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that at the moment I am more satisfied with my life than I have ever been. 2012 has been the fastest, happiest, and most satisfying year of my entire life. Filled with impromptu road trips, incredible friends, impulsive decisions, live music, the fulfillment of obligations, laughter, and new experiences.. I couldn't have asked for more. While there were no doubt speed bumps and situations that didn't go my way (as is life), with the help of an abundance of incredible people I have been able to overlook these misfortunates and focus on life's subtle prizes. Speaking of prizes..
This past Saturday I went to my lovely sister Jenna's house in Goldsboro for a "small family get together" before I leave for Thailand. I was expecting my sister, her husband Blake, my brother Michael, and his girlfriend Laura (along with my Dad, my step-mom Donna, my sister Jessi, my step-brother Justin, and his wife Jessica who were in the car with me). However I was in for much, much more. As I walked into the house and reached down to pet my sister's dog, I was quickly greeted from a few feet away with a burst of energy in the form of a joyous, (impressively synchronous) "SURPRISE!". I was completely overwhelmed. Eyes wide, I looked around the crowd and began to recognize faces. These smiling faces (most of which I didn't think I would see again before I left) surrounded me with a blanket of surrealism and all I could do was begin giving out hugs. While I have been itching to get out of the United States for several months now, the people I was surrounded with have in their own amazing ways served as cortizone cream to soothe my itching for international adventure. I cannot explain how it felt to see my friends and family from all different avenues of my life together in the same place. It was my first surprise party. It was amazing. The rest of the evening was filled with beer drinking, food eating, yard games, embarrassing pictures, and smiles. I cannot possibly thank everyone enough who helped make this day one of the best of my life. A special thanks goes out to my sister Jenna who organized the whole thing... and another to everyone there who impressively kept me out of the loop (especially Rick, proud of you buddy).
Well, time to finish packing and (try to) get some sleep. 5:30 in the morning comes early. My next post will be written 9,000 miles away and 11 hours in the future. I will miss you all.
Cheers and much love America,