Ten months of travelling and you truly believe you can do anything. You can face new challenges and achieve them with ease. You can take on any task put forth before you and accomplish it with flying colours.
After all, you’ve mastered airport security, you are the champion of trains, and you are the reigning queen of bus rides. You have tackled boats, kayaks, bikes, blades, horses, camels, tuk tuks, vomit inducing scooters, heel-cutting blister-making sandals, and cats. A cat isn’t a mode of transportation? Fuck it. You’ll teach it – AND you’ll do the whole thing with a hangover. You are the master of all things that move from point A to B, nobody messes with you and you believe you can do it all.
Then you get home.
The first month is euphoric. Clean clothes, your own car, old friends, inside jokes, and a bed with the perfect body hole molded to your liking. Then, reality sinks in. You’re home. You’re not sleeping in hostel dorms, drinking on the beach, or riding lazily in a sleepy haze on bus trips (with a mountain of snacks piled at your feet because you’re not quite sure when the next meal is coming). You’re home. The normalities and comforts of everyday life come in waves of nostalgic comfort and hateful bliss. You love but also loathe your ice-maker, and admire yet despise your overflowing closet. Did you always have that green sweater? When did you ever wear those shoes? Look at all your hats!
The duplicity of your happiness is soon overshadowed by your current state of housing and unemployment. While the unwavering love of your parents is much appreciated, it’s been awhile since you’ve been nagged to make your bed. And sure, it’s been two weeks and you still haven’t unpacked your bag, but what’s the rush? Trumping the parental influence is your dwindling cash flow.
Twenty four years and you still haven’t got it figured out. You assumed all that time to think in solitude, to reflect on your life and ponder what career path to take would give you some sort of direction. To be honest though, it only really gave you time to come up with a list of sub-par inventions (what about a towel with a built in inflatable pillow?) and a bipolar collection of Jodi Picoult and Jack Kerouac books from hostel book exchanges. It did not direct you in an appropriate career path.
Thank god for Netflix, it helps ward off the self-pity. Lorelai and Rory’s seven seasons of quick quips ring in your ears while you mindlessly apply for job after job with feigned interest.
What do you want? Where do you want to be? What do you want to do?
In fourty five minutes Rory has it figured out, Yale over Harvard, Jess over Dean, and Bangs over No Bangs. Yet, here you sit, stumbling over the phrasing of another cover letter and overwhelmed by the prospect of it all. It’s too much. It’s more than a late train, a delayed flight, a cancelled bus route, or a flat tire. What’s happened to your overwhelming sense of confidence that you can do anything? Be anything. Maybe it’s still in the bag you haven’t unpacked. Zipped away and tucked between folded t-shirts, buried beneath the hoodie you bought your brother, or trapped in the holes of your worn out sneakers. Maybe it got lost along the way. Maybe you’ll never find it again.
You step outside onto the back porch to give your eyes a rest from the bright computer screen of Craigslist ads. You take a seat cross-legged on the warm grass and stretch your head up to the sky. You fall back into the green earthy mattress and let your arms fall by your side, fingertips pulling fistfuls of soft blades out into manicured piles. The back of your knees itch and the sun is burning a V-neck pattern into your chest. The bus is full, the plane is late, the car broke down and the sun is shining on your face at home. You breathe deep.
You might be able to find it again after all.