It’s that time again – where I shall write something that holds just a little more meaning than a blog on poolside tales of summers bliss. Because there have indeed been moments of bliss – this is truth – but there have also been moments of great confusion, frustration and hopelessness. And sitting here, tonight, I feel slightly angered by my own tears. Not tears I cry at this moment (my eyes are dry and my heart is calm), but tears I have cried in the past months.
I often get myself totally tangled up in this idea that I have somehow not “succeeded” in life; that because I chose to get involved with YWAM back when I was barely 19 and I spent most of my time living between the USA and Canada and traveling all over the place until I was nearly 27, that I have missed out on life. MISSED OUT ON LIFE!? Yep. It’s true. I think this all the time. I’ve cried big, giant, pathetic tears because I have apparently missed out on life? Good grief! I wish someone would just smack me across the face good and hard… and I’m not joking.
For my sake, which, let’s be honest here – this blog is really only for my sake – let me just spend a smallish paragraph giving a more detailed account of how I have “missed out” (I am not doing this in effort to toot my own horn, but in effort to give myself a little bit of perspective):
I lived in Lakeside, Montana for approximately 4ish years on the side of Blacktail Mountain (on which a ski resort resides) which overlooked an absolutely picturesque, Flathead Lake. During which time I made friends from literally all over the world, traveled to Newcastle, England for 2 months and spent New Years 2000 on a huge ship (now the Africa Mercy)on the River Tyne, got to sing, make and record albums with my friends, tour, lead music in tenderloin district of San Francisco, lead a team of teenagers through the crazy Moscow Airport to Krygyzstan for a month of playing concerts to Afghan Refugees, old and young Krygz people and on a military base for the troupes fighting the “war on terror” (uh, let’s not get into that). I also lived in Seattle (the best city in the world) for a couple of years where I got to spend time with both youth and adult people living on the streets, attend and be a part of running “refugee simulations” through World Relief as well as help in a classroom of Turkish Refugees learning English, took teams of young people to Thailand, Costa Rica and Zambia where we had life changing experiences and the opportunity to hopefully make a small difference in the lives of those we got to know and care for while we were there. Along the way I had the opportunity to ride elephants, hold a 2o0lb python, experience living in a remote village where dog is a delicacy and and breakfast looks the same as dinner, swim in the Indian Ocean, go zip lining in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, go on a walking safari (this means you walk around a game park with 2 guides with AK47′s…and that is it) in Livingstone, Zambia as well as visit one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world – Victoria Falls, spent a day in Seoul, South Korea, a weekend in Scotland and had many, many road trips in the USA.
As it turns out, that smallish paragraph ended up being a little on the biggish side. And I’m sure there were many things forgotten along the way!
I have certainly, NOT missed out on life. Oh, I know many people have done way more traveling than myself, but I certainly cannot complain and I really do not need to feel like I’ve wasted my time or missed out on anything. So what if that’s put me behind the rest of my friends in terms of education, job security and marriage?!?!?! I can go to school anytime and have, finding a good job is difficult in any circumstance and I cannot and never could control when I fall in love and get married. The truth is, I wouldn’t change the last 10 years of my life. I have had some of the best experiences, have the best memories and the best friends now!
I don’t want to always be looking back and wishing I was still doing this, that or the other thing. I just want to think back on how fortunate I was to have had those experiences and be thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way. We all make sacrifices throughout our lives. Mine just looked different and perhaps were slightly atypical. I haven’t missed out. I’m doing just fine. I have a wonderful life, a fantastic family, and fabulous friends. I don’t want to step into tomorrow with hesitance, I just want to walk forward knowing that what’s behind me has lead me to where I am now and has made me more than capable to continue living a life of adventure and passion.
As the wise Bono once penned – walk on . . .