Alright guys, real talk coming at 'ya from the corner of my new bedroom in the lovely grey hue of Seattle. First off, I hope everyone has found 2009 to be an incredible year thus far. I know that personally I never truly thought this year would come, only because we are the "class of '09" and the likelihood of graduation after my marathon changing of majors was bleak, at best. But alas, this past week has been an absolute joy, and I feel more than a little bit compelled to do what I can to reflect and share.
I must admit (and I feel a short novel coming on, so prepare those reading glasses!) that especially toward the end of my time in Israel, I was very much looking forward to coming home, both to California and Seattle. Now, I honestly do try my best in all situations to be completely present, and though I find it immensely challenging to be fully successful, I was disappointed in myself for anticipating picking up these relationships so much. Not to say that the experience in Israel was lost necessarily, but I suppose that a huge thing that I learned there was that it is not an unspecial thing to find people who love, accept, and inspire you for exactly who you are; and those interactions and adventures and conversations are far too important to let go by the wayside anymore than that allotted time.
Since coming back to the 206 last Tuesday, it has been a whirlwind of the most fun kind. The public screams and completely genuine long embraces have made every time I leave my house an enjoyable one. To be completely honest, few times in my life have I felt such exuberance to see people that I think are the cat's meow anyway, and few times have I felt so appreciated. This isn't a testament to myself by any means and I'm sorry if it sounds like that, but it's so much a tribute to the kinds of people that I've been fortunate enough to call my friends.
Which leads me to the next thing that's really been on my brain lately. The last time that I went abroad, I went into it being prepared to be changed by my surroundings, the new community, the new found solitude that travel provides, etc. And, indeed, I came back believing different beliefs, valuing different values, changing another major, and turning my focus socially, academically, geographically, and spiritually upside down. Although I wouldn't have admitted this before that excursion occured, my life needed certain changes to be able to become the kind of person who I wanted to become, and that trip sticks out in my mind as one of the most positive experiences I have ever had the fortune of having. When preparing for J-ru, I went under the impression that anything and everything foreign would show me something new that I needed to fix, and for that reason, it would be much harder to adjust to the home life, as the last time had shown me.
I know there are facets of myself that underwent transformation during those 5 months, and I know that I am sort of a change junkie (this can be seen if one were to witness the change of hair colors that my poor strands have endured), so I was ready and willing to look my crap in the face and deal more effectively with it. This absolutely happened, but what I've seen since being back is that while I'm not a perfect Peggy, as it would take 10 seconds to figure out, living more into who I am is what real maturity looks like. It's not about picking up the art of glass sculpting and dying my hair rainbow, and getting tatoos on my forehead, unless I feel like that's the next step. Which, I'm pretty sure, isn't. But I will never say never.
Maybe it's ok that it's been easier to adjust to home more than it was before, and maybe it's ok that I can't see all the changes yet. Although exploration is good and valuable, I do not adore my friends because they keep revising themselves, I adore them because they give themselves the grace to keep growing when growing should occur, and enjoying their whole selves all the while. If every month saw a radical transformation, I would have to learn them all over again- and perhaps we're finally at the age where our senses of self are developed. I surely hope it's not over, as I don't want to be done learning or seeing, but this could be a solid foundation, and in a way, it's a really good feeling to know that that identity was never worth letting go of, even there.
You shiver my timbers and I cherish you very much.