I am back in NY for less than two weeks, have yet to recover my energy from my recent travels and am already searching cheap flights to anywhere, literally anywhere.
I spoke with a friend recently, who travels more than I, who cautioned me. He said that having the experiences I have already by my age means I am doomed to never live a normal life. I don't know if I would consider living an unusual life being doomed, but I think he has a point.
Glancing through facebook photos - always the best way to discover what someone is like - I realised I have pictures of me with Asians, pictures of me with Africans, pictures of me with Latins, pictures from all over the world. Each of those pictures connects me to a period of growth; the first time I saw a baby whose eyes were glazed over from malnutrition, the first time I realised that in most places of the world poverty is insurmountable (due to lack of education, disease, lack of jobs, etc). The first time I saw a woman with leprosy begging and I was horrified in case she reached out and touched me, and horrified at myself for not stopping to see if I could help her in any way. The first time I met hundreds of teenage girls who had all been raped multiple times since a young age. The first time I met a doctor who abused his patients, yet he was their only hope.
There have been other firsts as well, the first time I gave a speech to hundreds of Nigerians, and was terrified and my hands shook. I began my speech with a rhetorical question, which the entire audience answered. I realised my speech needed more audience involvement and changed it on the spot, adding to my fear.
When I return to New York, to a comfortable life where I have every opportunity and option in my daily life and my future I am so grateful to have been born and educated in the west. I am always torn between enjoying my salad, Ultimate tournaments and visiting with friends and the desire I have deep inside to return to these other places and find some way to offer what I've received to more people.
When I think of all the ways my dreams set me apart from a normal life I wonder if I can change my dreams, and I have to remind myself why my dreams are different. When Iremember the people I've met who have changed my dreams I am so grateful I have been given the opportunity to help them, and the knowledge they exist. I'm taking improvisation classes, surely if I ever need to I can act out a normal life. In the meantime, I am grateful that my dreams match my experiences unlike people who have dreams of a normal life with no way of ever achieving it.