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.
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 my 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.