There and Back Again

Where does time go? It’s been four months since I’ve returned from my service in Mozambique, and while I’ve enjoyed relaxing downtime with family (especially my parents), the purpose of it all and where I see myself in this world have all been a bit blurred. As the rest of my cohort return from their service, now more than ever I feel the pressure to pave a path for myself. Find a career. Make friends. Fall in love. Make the next 30 years even more successful than the last. But how?

I’m crippled with a feeling of self doubt. I don’t know where or when this doubt formed inside me, but from seeing the reality of the world outside my small cement house to freezing in the moment and unable to deliver a grand-scale project that would help the people in my community, I’ve been left feeling directionless and, quite honestly, worthless. Where was the feeling of worth before leaving for service? How do I find it once more. 

I huddle in my bed in my cozy house in the middle of the country reading online of communities protesting police brutality or the construction of a pipeline that would damage natural resources, and I’m filled with emotion and sympathy for the plight and the fight of these protestors. I think to myself, “I’d love to be there. I’d love to make an impact on that level. I’d love to change this world.” Then I crawl deeper under the covers and turn on mindless YouTube videos as I contemplate which fast food I’ll consume to numb the senses, fill a void. 

Friends of mine from Mozambique have landed on their feet in big ways: jobs, internships, graduate school. While I can argue that I’ve done all those, I can’t argue with the fact that my motivation to make anything of myself in the moment pails in the effort shown by friends all around me. Have I given up? At one point the path made sense. Now? I can barely put one foot in front of the other to walk again. I’m praying for a miracle without putting in the effort to fold my hands together. 

I’ve never been one to be a defeatist. I find myself crying at the site of injustice. I’m still filled with the spirit of service, even if my body is telling me to refrain, wait, delay. I haven’t given up on thinking that I’m meant for something great. Hell, I turned down a job in California because it didn’t feel right. Leave it to the white male to turn down a decent paying job on a gut feeling. Maybe I am more hopeless than I think. 

In terms of this blog, I hope to continue it as a sort of post-Peace Corps reflection on coming home and growing up. The title of the blog is more perfect than ever as I look into the mirror and try to understand the person I see staring back. I try and see the blemishes and remember their purpose, their worth. So far, I’ve been waking up each day thinking about the world around me. 

I guess that’s a good start. 


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