I’m at a point where in trying to process everything that I have had the unbelievable opportunity of being a part of, I’m at a loss for words. Writing has always been the primary mechanism in which I process events and experiences that are so emotionally tasking and overwhelming. But now, I just don’t have the words.
I feel like I’ve worn out the “amazings” and the “it was unbelievables” to a point where they’re hollow shells for the emotions I’m actually feeling. I feel so locked in by the words I’ve been using in my short existence on this earth so far. I feel like their power has been degraded by the sheer overuse of them. How can I truly convey what I’m thinking and feeling without repeating the platitudes I always do when talking about a monumental experience in my life?
I’ve experienced so many high highs and low lows through numerous interactions and life events that have been triumphant and frustrating. Some of those have been with some of the closest people in my life. Others have been lived entirely solo. However, in both settings I experienced a form of loneliness and feeling like I was drowning in a sea on my own or like I was on top of a mountain with no one to celebrate with.
It wasn’t like I had no one around me who didn’t care. I think I connected with more people this summer than I ever have before in my life. I met people from all around the world, from all different walks of life and different backgrounds. I met children and adults and college students. I met people who were wise beyond their years and others who’s personalities exploded into a beautiful array of life-giving energy.
I believe I let myself live in solitude in those moments.
I took more time this summer than I ever have before to be on my own. I have read nearly three full books this summer (yes, I realize that isn’t a ton in the grand scheme of things, but it is for me…), sat for more than 30 minutes without feeling the urge to do something, and gone for long walks alone. I don’t ever take time for myself, but this summer I had to.
I’m the type of person who needs to constantly be doing something in order to feel a sense of worth and purpose. I have always felt like I need to be working or being a part of something nonstop from 7 a.m. to midnight. Had that been the case this summer, I don’t know that I would be able to tackle my final semester of college with the ferocity and dedication it deserves.
I guess what I’m getting at is that this summer has dramatically changed who I am as a person. I’ve realized my leadership potential. I’ve realized that cherishing every small moment matters. I’ve learned that internships are insanely difficult to get. I’ve learned that marginalized people are still fighting for their voice in society as they continue to seek refuge. I realized even more how vital human connection and relationships are. I’ve learned more about the value of taking the time to actively and intently listen to someone. I’ve been taught the vitality of taking a deep breath and checking yourself. I’ve realized that I have a ton of flaws but that doesn’t discount my worth. I’ve discovered that we all have so much to offer, and there’s not a damn thing in this word that can stop us from offering what we’ve been given except ourselves.
The finish line is here — summer 2018 is over. But my journey in discovering more about myself and the world will continue until my last breath.