The Ticking Clock

I’m on an emotional roller coaster and I couldn’t get off even if I tried. I’m up, I’m down; I’m sure of myself, and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking.

Basically, I’m freaking out.

14 days to departure. T minus two weeks and counting. Holy sh…..

I’m scared out of my mind. Of what, I couldn’t tell you, but that’s probably contributing to my fear. I don’t know what’s in store for me when I get to Jamaica. I don’t know who I’m going to meet, or what my living conditions will be like. An idea, sure, but every situation is circumstantial.

I’m nervous about not doing well. I spent a lot of time thinking, how hard could it possibly be, despite how many times I’ve read or heard about the “hardships” a PCV faces. Now, in the wake of my sudden apprehension, I worry I was being too cocky.

What am I doing!?

I go from feeling on top of the world about it, to having a feeling at the pit of my stomach like I’m making a terrible mistake. I walk around with confidence, proud of myself and this accomplishment, and then I hug a friend goodbye and I feel the ground crumbling beneath my feet. In the span of a moment, I could easily begin with “I got this sh**.” to “Oh my god what the hell is wrong with me?” My perception and my feelings are constantly changing. I keep finding new things to be excited about, and new things I’m terrified to be leaving behind.

Let me say this now, so you don’t misunderstand: I’M NOT GIVING THIS UP.

The Peace Corps was not a decision I made lightly. In truth, the idea began brewing my mind during my junior year of college; over five years ago. It started as a mere interesting in traveling and seeing the world. It began to transform into a desire to meet new people and experience new cultures. Then it ignited into a passion for helping others. Next thing you know, I am sitting in an auditorium, listening to a recruiter talk about “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”

In October 2011, I bit the bullet and submitted an application. I didn’t think I’d get in. I was convinced I wasn’t good enough to be accepted into such a prestigious group. And now it’s 14 days to departure.

I can do this. I know I can. I’ve taught myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. I wanted this, and so I went out and got it. Later tonight, ask me how I feel, and I bet you’ll get a different answer.

Today, my time is devoted to seeing my family. We’ve got a great day/evening planned, and at its close, I’ll kiss everyone goodbye and I wont be seeing them again for another two years.

Two years without my family? I signed up for that? This was that I wanted? Please, remind me again, why?

See? Up and down. I’ve got this sh**, but really, what am I doing?

14 days.

Advertisements

3/11

I’ve been trying for a month to write a halfway decent blog post. I’m four weeks prior to departure, you see, and in theory, I should have something heartfelt and sincere to say. Perhaps a few final thoughts I care to leave behind? A legacy? A farewell?

But I don’t.

I have very little that I care to say out loud. I, alone, am privy to my thoughts, as they are rapidly changing and I can’t seem to keep up. I’m nervous. I’m scared. Excited and thrilled. In many ways, this is everything I’ve always wanted. And in many others, it’s nothing I ever expected.

Of course, I’m saying this now, before I’ve even begun. What will I say when I am two weeks into training? How will I feel? Will I be as self-assured as I imagine I will be? Or will I be as the other PCV’s (Peace Corps Volunteer) say; wondering what on earth possessed me to do such a thing?

How can I, now, at this very moment, possibly make a statement? There is so much I don’t know. How am I to predict how I’ll feel in the coming weeks and months, when I can’t even get a firm grasp on how I feel right now? My mind is a chaotic whirl. I’m busy preparing for my departure, anticipating my arrival, and trying to juggle work and spending time with friends in between. Everything has been moving so fast, and in these next final weeks, they’ll only continue to speed up.

Last weekend, I ventured into the Northeast to visit my friends from college. It was a much-needed break that allowed me a chance to unwind and decompress. Next weekend, I’ll be able to do it again, but this time, in the company of a friend with whom I share a complicatedly simple relationship.

When I return, it’s go time. I have shopping lists and to-do lists that are miles long and will have less than three weeks to get everything done. There will hardly be time to think, and before I know it, it will be March 11th.

3/11.

D-Day.

My world will likely be flipped upside down in ways that I never saw coming. I’ll say goodbye to my home, my friends, and my family. I’ll give up the creature comforts that I knowingly take for granted. I’ll bid farewell to a community for whom my appreciation came unexpectedly. My students will likely forget my name. And I fear that my beloved pet… My Emma. My girl. She’s getting old and… oh god I don’t even want to think it.

But these are the thoughts running through my head. Every time I get in my car and drive around the city. When I am in a store looking for something I need for Jamaica. When I sit in my room and look at the walls that have seen and heard so much. It’s been my room for my entire life. It’s filled with me, in the forms of little trinkets and knick-knacks. At night, with Emma curled at my feet, I stare at my ceiling (adorned with glow-in-the-dark stars) and convince myself to stay calm…

…Because I wanted this. I wanted the uncertainty. I wanted the fear. I wanted the unknown. Eighteen months ago, I decided I was ready to give up what I know in exchange for the adventure of a lifetime. The world is mine and my future belongs to me. The Peace Corps will test me, push me to my limits, and force me to rise above. I will grow and I will change. I will not be the same person I was when I started, but I look forward to meeting her in the end.

Jamaica, mon.

Bring it.