Why am I Here?

There comes a point in every twenty-something’s life when they must/should ask themselves if they are spending their time how they envisioned. For the record, I think this question should be asked periodically, no matter what age you are. Are you living passionately? When I have to make a tough decision, I like to ask myself “What would my most adventurous, bad ass hero do?”. I contemplate that, then go do it.

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How did all of the signs point to Peace Corps? When I was young, maybe 12 or 13, my mom took us on vacation to Essex, Massachusetts. If you look at pictures of this vacation I was looking disgruntled in almost every photo taken. It was around this time I began to experience teenage angst which showed itself though my facial expressions and poor wardrobe choices. Today, I lovingly call it “my awkward decade”. I may or may not be finishing it right now.

But there was Michael, this zen-like man with a rather unconventional house on the wharf. I sat with him one day and he told me how he had a dream about being in the African savannah and seeing some kind of exotic animals, maybe zebras. Then instead of finishing his story lamenting his unfulfillment, like so many adults I knew., he told he “and then I did it. I joined Peace Corps and got to see the things I had only read about come to life”. That’s all it took. I knew what kind of person I wanted to become. Today, I haven’t spoken to Michael since leaving Essex, but he has had a lasting impact on my character.

This article talks about the life choices millennials are making. Are they going to make us better? Or are we just reckless? But Max’s life choices resonate with me so much. I have a degree in economics and a small pile of internships on my resume. I also know that the idea of Max’s father, that each of us will live well into our 80’s, can be an assumption made in vain. Life is a race against a timer that we cannot see—and what society says people Piggymy age “should” be doing does not take that into consideration. I have given up 2+ years of a dependable, well paying job to make some of the most interesting, gutsy friends I have to date. I may not be adding to my 401(k), but I have my breath taken away by the beauty around me and the kindness of humanity. I feel completely alive everyday.

The West

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5 thoughts on “Why am I Here?”

  1. This is a great post Elise! And I am glad that you found your next adventure in the peace corps. Your writing is awesome and I can’t wait to hear more of your adventures. And you have inspired me yet again to make another restart on my blog.

  2. Your comment about a 401K rings so true. Whenever I’m faced with an opportunity that maybe isn’t very “fiscally wise” but it would be an amazing adventure, I always think about a friend of mine Henry. Henry worked and slaved his whole like for a pharmaceutical company…He lived a hard life…saved every penny…he finally took an early retirement at 60 because he had saved so much $$ in his 401K. He loved trains and bought a train car and was going to see the world that way…linked to trains all over the world.
    Before his trip, he went for a routine physical…the doctor said he had something going on with his heart. He actually needed 2 heart by-passes. They could take care of it now, before he went or he could wait till he got symptoms, which the doctor said he would get soon.

    He chose to get it taken care of before his trip so he wouldn’t have to worry about it when he was in a foreign country etc. He went in as a healthy man with no symptoms for a heart by-pass and died 4 days later of unexplainable complications.

    This was sad beyond belief. They blew a train whistle at his funeral…..

    So whenever I have the chance to do something cool that may take some cash out of the bank, I make sure I do it!! For nothing else than to honor Henry….

    So glad to see your blog post in my “in” box!! welcome back!

    1. Thank you! Internet here is very difficult. I don’t have access at my post. But hearing comments from readers telling me they missed me is very motivating! Your story about Henry is very touching, but also a gift so you don’t miss the same opportunities. We’ve got to enjoy every step pf the way.

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