Sometimes I forget that I need to be here. I mean that is so many ways. I needed to join Peace Corps. I needed to come to Zambia. I know that I was always meant to come here.
I’ve always believed that most things have long since been predetermined. The Universe decided long before I knew what would be good for me that I was going to be a runner. My body, stress fracture after stress fracture, has disagreed with this decision, but the Universe has decided and there is really nothing that I can do about it. But despite the amount of pain that this relationship has brought to be over the last 8 years, I come back to it every time. The amount of tears that I have shed over running will forever beat out any that I’ve ever cried for any man. I can’t say that it is the healthiest relationship ever, after no more than 5 or 6 months I am guaranteed a broken bone and a bruised ego, but I love the run.
The Universe decided that the running would lead me to Hastings College. Where I would meet all of my challenges. People could argue that it was the experience of College and the years of my life in which college takes place, but the Universe knew that Hastings College would be the perfect balance of everything. Never quite causing me to break, but never allowing me to get too cocky either, the perfect balance of heartbreak and happiness that would cause me to stay.
In the end, I believe, it would be that a broken heart and not an unsettling feeling in the space of my heart where happiness is held, a year after college, would be the perfect equation leading me to apply for the Peace Corps. That equation coupled with my constantly wanting to be somewhere else would be the reason that I got on the plane that would take me to Zambia almost a year ago today.
So I need to be here. I needed to join Peace Corps. I needed to meet people like my Atate who actually said aloud in his beautiful jolly broken English, “Why be mad? There is no reason. You should just always find yourself laughing.” I needed to meet my neighbor Patricia who is always there. ALWAYS. On the days when I would rather that she wasn’t she finds me, sometimes at 5 in the morning just to tell me she is going to the field as I lay in bed rolling my eyes. I needed to meet my Amai just so I could hear her giggle and take it back to America with me when I leave. The sound of her laughter, (she is usually giggling at Atate) settles the place in my heart where happiness goes. Letting me know that in April of 2012, that Happiness Place will be a clean and organized place ready to move on to the next chapter.
I need to be here because in January 2009 when I applied, I wanted to know that I could make myself happy all by myself. I wanted to know that I could forgive myself fully for things that I had done to myself, and to others. I wanted to know that I could forgive others for choices they had made that affected me negatively. I wanted to know that I could appreciate the really good things that I had done for people. I wanted to know that when I thought about myself the positive things that I had done would appear first in my thoughts instead of the painful mistakes I had made that put friendships in jeopardy and sometimes terminated them completely. I wanted to know that when I thought about friendships that I had terminated on my own accord, because I couldn’t handle the painful things they were doing, that instead of remembering the painful things, I would instead remember the positive things. I would remember the pain with a sense of gratitude, gently thanking them for turning me into the person that I am into, and then moving on. Not dwelling on anything else, not dwelling on the negative. There is a lot of time to think in PC. Some days, it is all there is to do. So in many ways I am not at all where I need to be in April of 2012 when this adventure ends in regards to these things, but I am a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago.
I need to be here. 100%! I forget that. I am really bad about that. I always have been. I am here, living in Zambia. In an incredible village with incredible people doing things most people only ever dream about…and still….sometimes, all I can do is plan for what will happen in 2012 when this chapter is over. This is a problem that I have been putting most of my energy into. When I start a new book, inevitably 5 pages in I will flip to the back of the book just to know how many pages are in the entire book…then I will quick judge how long it might take me to read. And then within the book, at the start of every new chapter I flip ahead to figure out how many pages are in the chapter. This is how I have been my whole life, with every chapter of my life for as long as I can remember. I get to the vacation destination and instantly start stressing about how I am going to get home and how there are really only 6 more days left until I have to go home. THAT IS STUPID MAGGIE. Enjoy the journey…all of it…especially the now part of it. The present is a gift, I see the present under the tree and then just instantly look for the next one.
To be honest I am not sure this part of my personality will ever change, so I am really just more working on not letting this little quirk stress me out about myself. When asked what is next, I don’t think that I will ever be someone who says, “I am not sure.” I need to be okay with that.
I’ve been here a year. I’ve never once thought about high tailing it back home. I am happy here every single day. Not all day everyday, but everyday I feel happy. I love that I am doing this by myself. I love that many of these memories will forever only be mine to tell. I need to quit stressing about what is next, what will happen tomorrow, or the next day or even in the next year and just focus on what I am doing right in this exact moment. Be here, now. In every sense of the words; here and now.
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." ~Cicero