My objective, intention, goal, expectation, whatever you want to call it, for this whole bridge year experience was to find myself. Sounds like a tough task, considering that people are always discovering new things about themselves right? It’s the experiences we go through that help us discover ourselves. And believe me, being here has given me a veritable cornucopia of experiences ranging from talking to a high school class about globalization to being a bouncer at a soiree to putting vitamins in malnourished babies mouths. There’s a lot I could say about that, but the point is that each one of these experiences must have affected me in some way. Question is how? Was I changed, discovered or created?
I was reminded of a quote someone special once told me. It goes something like this, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”
At the time I didn’t know what to make of it. Now I think I like it. Because it showed me two things. One, is that thinking that way gives us all the power of choice. That we choose who we are rather than discovering a preconceived notion of who we’re supposed to be. That’s why no matter what happens, how you choose to react to the situation shows what kind of person you are, and that person was formed by all the experiences accumluated by that person. The second thing is that there are always multiple ways of looking at something. There’s always other perspectives. For example, my perspective as an American will vastly differ from that of a Senegalese.
So I’m still here in Mako, Senegal. Creating myself through the experiences that I choose to take, and the ones that suddenly appear to me through life’s great chances. And now I know that although my primary objective here probably can only be partially realized, I’m okay with it. I will have my whole life ahead of me, but I only have so much time remaining here in Mako. So I’ve gotta make the most of it by grasping at every experience i can. But that’s not enough, because I gotta make them too. By doing so, I am making me.
I am who I am. I’m Kevin Do and Souleymane Ba here in Senegal. I’m a human like you, meaning I’m also a mess of contradictions and conflicting emotions. But I’m okay with that now. Really, that’s a big deal for me. It’s part of the human experience. We all go through it, and we all have problems. But of course its how we face those problems that make us who we are. Not because we were pre-programmed to be like that. But because WE choose it.