March Towards Matriculation – Fifth March – Finding My Footing

Undoubtedly a great experience, filled with fear, adventure, and a promise for tomorrow. It’s when staring down our future all we can do is lean in and work for a better tomorrow today.

I am thankful that with an easing of the semester, I see a building of excitement for the future life I worked so hard to achieve. There was a worry several months back that these feelings would never manifest but thankfully now that that school been made more tangible to me there is now a place to link my hope and excitement.  It’s a weird experience having committed myself to a place for so long without the knowledge of what life there is like. I knew that my ambitions called for me to take such a leap, especially with the recent accident that held me up for so long.  It’s the faith that I’m happy with, faith in a type of plan or destiny that at times I so despise. Faith in fate as it were that everything would turn out okay. Now for most things, I knew I would make it work regardless of what happened and where I ended up, and I cannot discount that someplace were always better than others but there is an easing of grief and burden when you find that you at least made the choice that will come easy and is right.

I find great difficulty expressing the feeling that comes with this knowledge. It’s analogous to putting everything on the table you’re holding a hand you hope will win, knowing full well that where we end up is some part skill and another part luck but as the last card falls and the final bets are made you realize that the round has gone to you. That you played well and you are being rewarded. This is because there is something beyond the statues and stone halls, the concrete and the history; there is an ease in it all, one that does not come lightly with every place we find ourselves.  Am I scared, of course, I am terrified beyond belief, but in this fear I can thrive, in this transition lies a future of growth, change, and understanding one I am ready to make of.

It’s then in this last trip to my future home, where I got to see the people and place that my forward path lies that I find myself excited for what is to come. I know there is so much more for me to learn from these places and people that it scares me. I decided though, that this time around I must approach it with a greater humility and understanding that I am to be guided, molded, and shaped into a better version of myself. It’s only though this great humility that I can be successful. It’s in this great humility that I can absorb, adapt, and prosper beyond where I know is possible now. I leave this saying that I am thrilled with the prospect of the future, but torn with how to feel about how soon it will come.

A Simple Plane Ride of Self Discovery

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I met a man on a plane recently.
A man on the way to his hometown of Nashville.  We sat next to each other, and even though I needed to get work done and put in earplugs, he wanted to start up a conversation. He was in his late twenties, with long hair pulled into a bun, and a scraggly beard to match.

He was nervous, about going home. Worried because he would be returning home after three and a half years being away from it.  He lived in Sydney at the moment, but he began recounting his tales of world travel.  This is what got me intrigued.  He had decided after completing his bachelors and was starting his masters that he wanted a different life for himself, and his girlfriend agreed, so they took off to teach English on the other side of the world.  Moving around from place to place, using the teaching gig as a mechanism to explore parts unknown.  To be honest, it sounded fun.  They lived a simple life, were able to afford what they wanted, but lived within their means, and they picked up skills along the way.  Thirty countries he mentioned, thirty countries he had traveled through hitting countless cities and villages along the way.  He had been able to experience all sorts of different cultures, and he told me how he had learned from each one of them.
I sat there sharing my own experiences but mostly listening to what he had to say.  We talked about the fact I am doing my masters and why he felt that his original dream to get his Ph.D. fell by the wayside for this new dream. It was an exciting talk, and once the flight was over, we went our separate ways.

The talk stuck with me, I thought about it the long ride to the place I would be staying for the wedding the next day.  I think the reason be, is that his life was my back up plan for if the whole academia thing didn’t work out.  What my life could be like if I had thought academia wasn’t for me or if academia thought I wasn’t for them.  I was the idea that I would go about the world, learning and growing from all the lessons it had to offer. Meeting new people and having new experiences and deciding where to be one month at a time. His life had a sort of appeal to it, an excitement, an adventurous spirit that I feel within myself too.  For a moment, I really wondered if I could still grasp it.

After our talk and the plane began to unload we went our separate ways, It was then I realized I never even knew his name, we hadn’t exchanged on the plane. Maybe that’s okay, be what he represents now is a different life, a different path for me.  This is not to say that this path might not converge with the path I am on but I found the path I will be following.  I still want to travel more and see the world, and my choice to go into academia isn’t going to change that. It was nice to see that either path I could have taken, I might have been happy, which is good enough for me.

So to the perfect stranger, I met on the plane, I hope you live a full and rewarding life, maybe I’ll see you again one day and find out how it turned out.