As I have learned in life, we can’t be with people or places forever. They die; we move; we lose touch: every relationship comes to an end. It took me a long time to realize this. It’s okay to not be with a person, even a person we love, especially if we want to grow and to learn and to keep moving forward.
But people leave souvenirs. We all buy souvenirs when we have to let go, but must take a piece with us, somehow. We can’t be with them forever, but their beauty and landmarks decorate our walls.
I like to look at my life as the tide: ebbing, flowing; pushing, pulling; giving, taking: the stories, the love of everyone around me, creating something bigger for myself. Yin. Yang. Gestalt.
I am you, all of you. I am my father’s smile, and my mom’s female independence. I am my sister’s empathy. I am Fareed’s “no judgement.” I realize now that I am Carter’s quaintness. I am Meghan’s academic engagement and Adlai’s charisma. I am Brittany’s unconditional and unwavering love for all creatures and Kirsten’s adventurousness. I am Mike Steven’s hunger for change. I am Jeff DiPrizito’s political savvy and David Nesbitt’s rawness. I am Hudson, New Hampshire’s ponds and streams. I am D.C.’s global perspective. I am Neliegh, Nebraska’s genuineness. I am me, but only through you, all of you, who may not have known how much you influenced my outlook on life.
Everyone. You may not be with me, but you are me, now. And I hope that I am in you, in your hearts; your feet, your hands; your minds.
That’s why I am going to Senegal: to take whatever there is for me to learn, to be, and, in exchange, give a little piece of me to whoever wants it.