At twenty-two, you fall in love with strangers, realize what’s worth believing in, hold fast to the now, take the scenic way home, and see the beauty in vulnerability.
My days at twenty-two are numbered, as twenty-three is waiting with its adventures less than two weeks away. But, my oh my, what a year this has been. A year of growth, realization, appreciation, bittersweet farewells, and plain and simple living. I’ve realized how the smallest gestures have the biggest, most overwhelming impact, how important the power of language is to human interaction, how my mother’s laughter is the one thing I miss when I am 8,000 miles away, how I never never never want to stop learning – ever, and how much I love stories.
This day, today, I consciously acknowledge that I have returned from a trip of a lifetime. I never expected a country to change and affect me so deeply during my first ever visit. Bangladesh did just that. There are nearly 300,000 stateless, forgotten people spread throughout 66 camps in the country. Their conditions are unimaginable, beyond the realms of decent human existence. There are many political ties at play, however at the end of the day, these people are human and have the right to lead dignified, honorable lives. OBAT Helpers, is a nonprofit solely dedicated to enhancing the lives of the forgotten people through utilizing means of self-empowerment, education, healthcare, and happiness. (Important/lovely fact: my father founded this organization. I couldn’t be more proud and awestruck at his ever-increasing awesomeness and truly unconditional love.)
This trip changed my life. The people, the stories, the heartbreak, the love, the smiles, the children (oh, the beautiful children), the laughter, the tears, the hope. Everything about these people is UN-forgettable. They have made a bigger impact on my life than I could imagine and I sincerely hope to one day be able to describe to them how important their happiness, their existence is to me.
I look forward to taking many, many more trips with my father to this part of the world. At this point, I’m not sure if my heart can stand taking this trip repeatedly. However, the heart is capable of far more than we give it credit for. I must trust my heart. I must trust my heart to be able to handle what life gives.
This day, today, I understand that we each have a path. This path could be the most rugged, most obvious path. This path could be absolutely unpaved and undiscovered. I know I’m in the middle of many things at this point in my life. Closing long-winded chapters, opening doors of opportunities, realizing the weight of each precious day. And I am so happy to be right here, in this awkwardly beautiful in-between moment.
I’ve loved, changed, danced, lost, learned, laughed, fought, wished, challenged, won. And at 22, I have so, so much more to experience and so much more to understand about life and so much more to learn about this path I’m eagerly wandering.
This day, today, I realize that the world really is waiting for us to come alive.
Until next time,
“What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.”