Writing this post has proven more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve started four posts, each telling a different story about the path that took me to Global Citizen Year, but haven’t finished a single one. The problem is that I don’t know which story to tell. The one about a kid from a small, touristy town who cant wait to break out of the little enigma that is Bend, OR? Or the boy who was so privileged to see a small glimpse of the world as a child that he was filled with a desire to swallow it all? What about the young man who has a passion for a shared human experience and wants to find ways to meaningfully bring people together, but that terrifyingly overwhelming goal makes him feel like a single byte in the global internet and so now all he wants is a little clarity?
There’s just no single story that has brought me to the doors of this impending adventure. It is a culmination of the uncountably many things that my life has been for the last 17 years that has encouraged me to make this decision. I think that story tellers are often faced with this dilemma; to have to choose the story that will get the job done, because telling the entire truth of anything, while admirable, is far too complicated. So I will tell you this story:
I grew up with a family always willing to put aside their troubles in the name of love, so that despite a jagged transition into high school amidst divorce I entered teen-hood with a favorable outlook on life. I was fortunate to have mentors who understood my experience and who would, invariably and simply, take me out mountain biking or backpacking or skiing. Their support of me was so great that after my 11th year of public schooling they encouraged me to embark on the journey of a lifetime: to spend four weeks traveling through Mongolia. It is here that I began to feel my life take on the first hints of structure and of maturity. In Mongolia, through what I still believe to be a supernatural fluke, I managed to open my heart to the world and was abundantly rewarded. When I arrived in the US, I called my mom to check in.
“How are you? How was it?!” she asked excitedly upon hearing the voice of her beloved middle child after too long an absence.
My response was to cry. And cry. And continue to cry so that my mom became quite frightened.
“Are you alright? Did something happen?”
In a shaky, half sobbing, half hysterical whimper, “I’m just so happy.”
In Mongolia, thousands of miles away from home, I found myself. And in that clarity I knew that going to college immediately after high school was too soon for me. I needed more time to see the world. To meet new friends and and make new family, to laugh and to cry, to sing and dance. So that when I was looking for programs in October of my senior year, I found one that offered everything I wanted. To live in a different country with a host family, to share my experience with people at home, and to reflect on my journey. I chose Global Citizen Year because of what happens when the human heart, soul, essence, core, limbic system, prefrontal cortex, whatever you’d like to call that place where things-that-are-hard-to-talk-about happen, is stretched.
I feel in the midst of it already with the Summer Campaign (speaking of which, Global Citizen Year is an option for me only because of it’s incredible scholarship program, so if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, please check out my Fundly page at http://goo.gl/ZHbTK), and I simply cannot wait for the rest of this adventure.