(And that is something that I will never, ever understand)
In other news, I have been home for three days now after a very, very exciting few months of adventure. The last month in particular was so beautiful, so inspiring, and such a huge learning experience. It gave me perspective and courage and filled me with passion. I had forgotten how brave I could be in the face of my fears (of which there are many). And this road trip reminded me of those things. Of how adept I can be at handling situations which are out of my comfort zone, out of my realm of knowledge. And the simple beauty of companionship.
When I close my eyes and picture all of the breathtaking places I went, all of the wonderful roads I traveled (literally and figuratively), I do see canyons and cliffs and valleys and mountains and ocean and buildings and fields of grass -- but most of all, I see Rachel. Laughing, driving, reacting loudly to a development in The Hunger Games, sleeping (creepy much?), building a fire, searching for a rock, two steps ahead of me on an incline, giant honeycrisp apple in hand. And seeing these things in my mind, these images flashing before my eyes one after the other, I know that without that companionship, without that friendship, the trip would have been great, yes, but it would have been completely different. And I'm so glad I had a friend there with me every step of the way, although, honestly, saying "friend" doesn't really sum it up, does it?
God, I am so lucky. So, so blessed to have had all of the opportunities and experiences and adventures that I have had this summer. Since graduating in May, my life has definitely been a roller coaster. Unpredictable and full of many lows, but it seems that for the past few months, I have been going up, up, up. Higher and higher and higher -- and I don't see a peak coming anytime soon.The people that I have met, the places that I have gone, the way that I have grown -- all of these things were completely unforeseen by me in May, but look at me now. Look at me now. I'm making paper.
Just kidding. I've actually been doing the opposite of making paper for the past few months. But I am happy, and although happiness isn't very thug, it's pretty nice anyway.
When I was in Santa Barbara last week, I was able to stop and see my darling, darling friend Dan. We were only able to talk for about half an hour or so, standing in the middle of a kitchen that he is in the process of remodeling (for free, because he's just that kind of guy), but as I was telling him about some of my adventures, he looked at me and said, "You seem really happy."
I stopped talking and thought about it for a minute. Then, smile on my face, I responded, "I feel really happy." And he told me that it shows.
It does show. Because I am. I am in a place that, at the end of May, I never thought I would get. Heck, I'm at a place that's better than I ever could have imagined. It's not that I wasn't happy before May, or that I wasn't... content, because, in a lot of ways, I was. But I feel so much more... me now. That's really the only way I can say it. When I look in the mirror, I see the best and forgotten qualities of the girl I was when I was 18, mixed with the maturity and gravity of the girl I have developed into since then. I have resurrected that excitement, that confidence, that edge of rebellion and faith. I remember my dreams, my ambitions, my desire for something more than a life in the suburbs with church every Sunday.
And who knows. Maybe I will end up with a slightly different version of that same life someday (although probably [hopefully] not). But if that happens, it will be on my own terms, and it will be a long time from now. Because I might be home for the next few months, but I am still on a beautiful and awe-inspiring adventure. I am doing things that scare me and challenge me and make me feel wriggly in my clothes.
Speaking of which, did you know that it's National Novel Writing Month? Well, it is. And even though the thought of it really does make me feel wriggly in my clothes, I think I'm going to go for it. Because what's life without a little challenge? How can we grow without a little fear, a little bravery, a little success, and a little failure?
I'm not going to sit here and wait to find out. I'm going to dive in and, well, live.