Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is more important than being really really ridiculously good-looking?

How do you do it? You are likely one of the majority of people on this earth who spends most of your time living in one location, at the same job, seeing the same people, eating the same foods, and laughing at jokes so similar to the ones made the week before.

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 I
remember 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.

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