Doing it right

I have this suffocating fear about doing the wrong thing.

Am I in the right city?

Am I on the right career path?

Am I wearing the right outfit?

Am I reading the right book?

I am constantly swimming in this pool of panic that lives in my head. I know, I know, there is no one right path and to live that way can be limiting, but these thoughts plague all of my decisions and I look to vain things for validation.

But sometimes I have a moment of clarity. I realize that all I have is enough and that no matter what choices I make I am more than right, I am me.

I haven seen Kieara in three years, the last time days before I left Lesotho. She came to Chicago this weekend and it was amazing. It did not feel like three years or major life events were between us, just two friends who find similar struggles and joys. We toured Chicago, ate our favorite foods, took pictures, shopped and visited high places. We talked about dating, jobs, family, old friends and trying to find our way in this world. She even helped me fix my bed, making it more adult. I was so sad to see her go, I cried a day before she was to depart.

As I left my office this evening, the darkening sky reminded me that she was go and I was to continue on with my life.

Maybe living the right life means that every few years you get a couple days with an old friend. Maybe living the right life means keeping good company who say, “I think this is good for you.” Maybe it means just making sure the good people stay in your life, no matter how long you go in between visits.

If that’s the case, maybe I am doing OK after all.

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30/30

A new decade, new blessings. If the first day is any indication, 30 will be great.

I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful for my job.

I am thankful for my roof and the food I have.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends.

I am thankful for my amazing family.

I am thankful for grace.

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29/30

A few days before my 28th birthday, I climbed to the top of a large hill that over looks Ha Matela, a view that always contradicted my residential status in the community – Do I really live here? I wondered. I sat down with my journal and I made a list, and for several minutes I scratched things below this list, allowing my confidence to swell along with reassurance that I am exactly where I should be going into the next year of life.

The list was entitled, “All these things that I have done.”

Not only is that the title of one of my favorite songs, but it was also great proof, really to just myself, that I am not a, um, F***-up.

Today is the last day, last of hour, of my 20s and, although reminiscent, I am not wallowing in days gone. My 20s were a tumultuous time, as they are for many, but they were so filled with amazing adventures and mishaps that I truly believe have set the foundation for my 30s.

 

Even though my 29th year has been much of this, I do not doubt or discredit the things that lead me to my path now. I don’t have the reasoning, and I really don’t need it, for why I am where I am, but I just know that it is where I should be.

 

As I have tried to really grasp with my 30/30 day project, I am truly grateful to have lived this life. It’s often messy and most times I’ve lost something, but it’s the life that is handpicked for me, therefore, it is incredible.

 

To appreciate the decade gone past, I want to highlight a few big moments, if only to remind myself how incredibly blessed I’ve been.

 

The Top Moments of My 20s

  • Before I turned 20, I had never left the country. I’ve now been to 11 countries, half of which are African. I’ve only seen a small corner of this world, but I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to explore the world, especially the chance to have lived in two cultures completely different than the one I grew up in.
  • I’ve left home and I’ve returned, several times. I think everyone should experience both things once in their life.
  • I’ve done things that seemed so unlikely for me when I was 19 – the Post, Peace Corps, etc. It’s good to surprise yourself.
  • My relationship with my body will likely always be complicated, but I never been more in touch with it when I trained for and ran the ultra marathon. I shouldn’t not have been able to do that, but I did.
  • I’ve loved and had my heart broken. My friends often tease me that my choice in men is less than ideal, but I am attracted to men with wanderlust ambitions and big dreams because that’s who I am. Eventually, I will settle down and hopefully find someone who is at the same place, but I think it’s good to fall for the wrong guy because it always forces me to realign with who I am and what I deserve. Plus, ask my friends, I have some of the best dating stories.
  • My friendships have drastically changed since I began this decade and I don’t keep in touch with many of the people I was friends with at 20, but I’ve found that I am person who absorbs those in front of me. Some of those will stick around for years, even though we are no longer in the same location, and I understand that those are the truest of friends. It doesn’t matter when they entered your life, because it is likely they won’t exit for a while.
  • I have two families. A Basotho family made me their own and I finally understand that my immediate family, the ones I’ve always known, are the greatest people in my life.

It wasn’t even my birthday today, and man do I have so much to be thankful for.

These are things that I am thankful for today, and always:
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28/30

I am thankful for friends who call and want to have dinner at the last minute.

I am thankful that I don’t look awful for dinner after running.

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I am thankful for sandwiches.
My birthday week means I eat what I want.

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I am thankful that may family comes TOMORROW.

I am thankful to live in such a beautiful place.

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27/30

I am thankful for the people that love me.

WhenI get lonely, which tends to happen who you live in three places in nine months, my friend Roxy will tell me, “Oh, but my dear, you are so, so loved.” I tend to focus on those that forgotten, pushed, forced, shooed me out of their lives instead of being grateful for those that put me in theirs and won’t let me go. Those people, I love.

I am thankful for cute restaurants with vegetarian friends.

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I am thankful nights when the writing pours from me.
Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be bad, but at least I am getting it out.

I am thankful for customer service.
Sometimes I really miss Lesotho – the people, the views, the simplicity. However, there are times when I do not, most often those are times that require any kind of customer service.

I still have flashbacks from trips to the post office, the clinic, the bank, the cell phone store and other places where I waited for hours and hours to get no help. Transferring money required a handwritten letter, a couple hours waiting in line, a great amount of staring tolerance and all the patience you had.

I forget that the U.S. is different. Today I had to get a new Ventura card and I expected to be met with long lines, grumpy clerks and a possible, “I can’t help you.” But it was actually pleasant. The doors opened at the time they were supposed to. There were multiple windows open. The line moved fast. The clerk was extremely sweet and helpful. I was so blown away and delighted by this pleasant experience, one that most would find inconvenient. It was actually a highlight of my day.

I am thankful for going home to this:

A little Ella to walk me in.