Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mentally Filing a Decade

Me at age 20. Maybe some foreshadowing going on there! ↑

Now that I'm 31, I can fully look back on the completed decade of my twenties. My twenties is when I flew from my parents nest and made my first 2nd home at Michigan State University. It is when the dream of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer was born in me, and I spent the next three years with tunnel vision set on Peace Corps. It is when I lived abroad in Morocco and struggled to a point that it made me strong. It is when I rested, relaxed, and was nourished by the Jackson Community. It's when I decided I had to go away again and I made yet another second home in the country of Japan. 

At the start of the decade I told people that I just wanted a different kind of life. Going to college, getting a job, getting married, and having kids was not the timeline I wanted for my life. I started down that path of "a different kind of life" but eventually I think I got back into the same lane as most people and began thinking again I wanted what society wanted for me. 

It was only recently that I remember saying that original statement. And it made me wonder why I kept thinking that I was going to have to wedge myself back into that common track. But if you've watched me through my twenties you might have noticed my life has not been average. Why was I thinking I should eventually give that up?

One thing about being so addicted to seeking and having new experiences is dealing with having so many. From my time in Morocco, to the various work situations I have had, to my vacations in the U.S., to my life as an English teacher in Japan I have a lot to fill my brain. And I'm only 31!

Coming back from Japan and moving back into my old place meant I had to look at all my past belongings, most of them from my twenties. Looking at some of them and the things I kept, I wondered do I need this anymore? I started to realize those things weren't my memories and my memories could be kept compactly in my mind. As I've changed, the needed belongings in my life have changed, and some things just don't serve me anymore. 

Along with lots of organizing of my things I am now thinking I need to begin some mental organization of my memories. I need to work out a filing system in my head because I don't want any of them being pushed to a back shelf only to collect dust. My memories are invaluable and I want to easily be able to access them to never let how far I've come go far from my mind. 

So it's going to take some sifting, some categorizing, and a little dusting off to fully make sure everything I've done to make me who I am is always right there for me. And when I look back on it, it's proof that it just might not be possible for me to drive on the track that society wants me to. I want to be stronger in my ability to resist its rules for where I'm supposed to live, in what type of building, how I'm supposed to earn money, and who I'm supposed to spend my time with. I'm getting better at it. 

I look back at who I've been, who I've been molded into, and who I want to be moving forward. After this year in Japan I think its easier to stop, take a breath, and answer that last question. Who do I want to be moving forward? After a decade of this life its finally becoming clear I need to stop the resistance in myself and just live exactly what my truth is, and not apologize for it. Not to anyone else, and definitely not to myself. 
Age 31. (Yes I know I haven't changed.)