Now that I am a “real” person, you know, one with a job and responsibilities, a paycheck and rent check, good mail (birthday cards from my grandma) and bad mail (everything else) I have this constant itch, question, longing, something. And I know I’m not the only one.
The itch is for adventure. It is the urge to be outside as soon as the light hits the horizon and the world glows red, or really the reason why I am probably already outside when the sun shines a spotlight on Mr. Lincoln as I run the steps of the memorial with the November Project. It is the feeling I get when I visit a new city and I realize that this world, this country, this state, is different everywhere I go. It is the excitement that builds inside me when I see the summit of a mountain before me and the drive that gets me hiking, running, climbing, falling, until I reach the top. It is the all-day, every-day reminder that comes with working for a company like National Geographic, that there is always more to explore. Without that itch, I wouldn’t run in the rain, get lost on a trail, or see the sunrise over the National Monuments. That itch is a good thing.
The question, I am so very often told, comes with the territory of being twenty-four. It is the anxiety of being the only person in charge of my life. I choose who I want to be and with whom I want to spend my time, I choose where I want to go and what I want to explore next. Should I be saving money, or running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco? By the way, the Nike Women’s Half was also in DC the past two years, and I live in DC. But San Francisco… Should I spend my weekends making new friends, meeting more people, cleaning my apartment? But I’ve never been to New Hampshire, and who knows how long I will have a friend living in Keene.
Wait, why do I live in DC? Should I move to NH? There are so many mountains to climb. Or NYC, where most of my friends have settled, my parents are close-by? Boston is so cozy, with all the brick, and history, and people just so amped up on their city, and plus, my sister is there. Charleston is on the water, I’ve always loved the water. I hear Nashville is the place to be, and I wouldn’t mind stumbling upon a handsome country singer to call my own. But more realistically, should I be taking advantage of my dual-citizenship and living in Europe for a few years? This would be the time to do it… Oh, right, I live in DC because I have a great job, in a great city, with great friends, and plenty of new things all around me, waiting to be explored. The question makes me check myself, and we all need that every once in a while.
And then there is the longing. I long to do more, be more, see more, know more. All I can ever do to remedy the feeling is to keep doing more, being more, seeing more, and learning more, and it is exhausting. But then I guess longing is not a negative, albeit uneasy, thing to feel – anything that serves as motivation in this confusing time in life must be a positive.
I am on track, but because of this itch, question, longing, something, it never seems to feel that way. I spent a long time thinking I was the only one feeling this confusion, but little by little, one friend after another let me in on their little secret, that they too have got that itch, question, longing, that something in their heart and mind, and that no matter what their life looks like on the outside (or on instagram), that something still exists. What we all need to realize, though, is that itch for adventure, our questions about right and wrong, the feeling of longing for more, or that something, whatever it is, is the driving force moving us forward, it is the very reason we are on track, and it is what makes us “real” people at all.