I did the math the other day. I have spent 98% of my summer in a basement.
In short, the summer didn't exactly go the way I planned. When I pictured August rolling around I pictured it bringing perfectly-tanned skin and a new found love for fishing with it.
But alas, here I sit, skin as pale as ever, no new hobbies, and a little less energy than I would like to admit. "Chronic tiredness" is not a term I was expecting to describe the summer.
The thing that gets me is that other people have been enjoying summer without me. If I don't get a summer, shouldn't no one get a summer? My family visited my brother in the Caribbean during my Spring finals week. My sister and her family went sailing. Friends went off to foreign countries for studies abroad. People walk around the grocery store giving proof of sun exposure with their swim suit lines. Instagram has been full of pool side glories and spur-of-the-moment Vegas trips. As we speak my parents are on their way to a Norwegian cruise, and in less than a week Spencer will be off to do the same in Greece.
I am jealous.
I am jealous.
Somehow I feel a sense of entitlement. I have been in school for a straight year. This means I deserve a vacation, right? Other people got to go home for Spring term, other people had weekend cabin getaways and California road trips. I have weekends, I have days without class, why have I not had these things?
But slowly, ever so slowly, life has been coming into perspective. Piece by piece I have been coming to see the world around me in a little different light.
Like the awesome trip I have planned for December - I get to go to Morocco and Portugal for three weeks. How many people get to spend the dead of winter on the beaches of the Mediterranean? In less than two weeks I get to move into an amazing apartment with three of my best friends in the world. I have been lucky enough to pull enough work hours this summer that, for the first time in my college career, I won't need to work to make it by. I am surrounded by people who love and care for me and who perform endless acts of service for my benefit each day. I have everything I could ever need, and more than some people could ever dream. I am the luckiest.
The cornerstone of this epiphany came in the form of a slideshow. My friend Olivia shipped off to Zambia on a service trip. Upon returning home she showed us her pictures, going through one-by-one telling us the stories behind the faces on the screen. Eventually she came across a picture of two men holding pick-axes while standing on stone. She explained that they were stone cutters. In the morning they rise with the sun, go to work cutting stone down to pebbles, return home for a few hours sleep, and start the routine again. Each day, for the rest of their life, this is what their day will be like. I took a moment to imagine what their homes must look like, what their average meal would consist of.
And that is when it hit me. I thought to myself, "I could be a doctor, if I wanted to be." I sat there in silent shock as the reality sunk in. Never before had I truly realized the possibilities before me. If I wanted to be a doctor, I could go to school and learn the arts of the trade. If I wanted to be a teacher, I could learn how to manage a classroom. If I decided I wasn't content with the way my country was being handled, I could run for government. In that moment I realized that the entire world was at my feet, all I had to do was choose a dream and start working towards it.
And now here I find myself feeling sorry? Sorry because I wasn't able to spend a little more time at the pool. Sorry because I wasn't able to live every adventure. Have I become so ungrateful for my life that I cannot be content with what I have?
No. I will stop being sorry. I will start realizing how many amazing things make up my life. I will be grateful
And to start, I will go on sitting in my chair, reading through my notes, working a little bit harder to achieve my dream.