This is one of a few posts written while I could not sleep one night during my site visit a few weeks ago.
Today I took a 5 hour nap in the middle of the day, so naturally it’s 1 am and I can’t get my mind to shut down. So here are a few ramblings of the future. But first let me take you to a glimpse of the past:
I’ve known that I’ve had a passion for psychology since I really dug into college when I was 16 and since then have been exploring different paths I thought I might want to pursue with psychology. The latest of which was to go back to school when I returned from Peace Corps to get my masters and licensure and then hopefully my doctorate in social work. I’ve been thinking that I want to start my own child therapy practice with an emphasis in trauma and that plan hasn’t really changed, but tonight I lay awake for hours wondering if that was really the best plan for me and if I would really be good at that. I think a major part of why that came up for me is because I’ve been thinking hard about whether I will want to extend in the Peace Corps.
I know at this point you’re probably thinking, what the hell is wrong with this girl, doesn’t she know how to be present and let life just unfold. The truth is, no, I don’t really know how to do that. I’ve always had pride in my motivation, drive, and preparedness and that comes from always thinking about the future. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely live in the present and enjoy the experiences I have, but when my brain just has time to free flow, it goes to the future and that has helped me to accomplish everything I have in my short 21 years. So yes, I’m having this amazing experience in Africa and still thinking of the future.
So originally, before I even got accepted into the Peace Corps, I was already thinking of extending my service. All the RPCVs I had met who had had the best services had extended, you get extra money in the end, and I thought that once I came home, I would want to settle down and build a life in one spot and that wouldn’t leave time to do something like this again. What I’ve realized is that you don’t actually need two whole years to get a good appreciation of a culture (although, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the time to come and all of the views of this post may change). I already have learned far more about Botswana in these 2 months than I would have imagined. So maybe settling down with a career and a house, and traveling and working abroad aren’t mutually exclusive. Once I realized that I could have more experiences like this after I’ve established my career, the need to extend fell away. I realized that I don’t need to prove anything by being away from home for more than 2 years (that’s already a hell of a long time). So maybe I don’t need to extend, but then this changed my thinking of what I would be doing when I got home.
So anyway, I had lots of doubts and questions about what I was doing with my life and after about 4 hours of hard thinking about it and consulting with the people who know me best, I decided to stop thinking about it with the realization that nothing has really changed and who knows what the future will bring. I just need to maintain my way of planning and then changing the plans with life. I’m sure I’m bound to go back to this question many times in my service and maybe it will change, or maybe the plan I’ve been hashing since I was 16 will persevere through all of life’s many changes.