The Aftermath

It’s that time of year again. Smart people looking stupid in flat hats and polyester gowns that have a suspicious odor. It’s been just over a year since I walked the walk, and in many ways I feel like I’m no closer to any answers about my life.

In the aftermath of graduation, there are so many possibilities. They are pretty scary most of the time. I found that as time passed, my portal to possibility seemed to be getting smaller. I couldn’t find a job, I felt useless, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t really get to know Boston because I felt scared and unmotivated. The problem was, I didn’t feel like I was doing much, or learning anything. I enjoyed working on my culinary skills, because I love to cook, and I was happy to improve at it. But that wasn’t enough.

Then, in April, everything started happening at once. My dad decided that May would be the best time for our long dreamed-of Africa trip, I got a job, and I started educating myself again.

The trip was incredible; I did and saw so many amazing things and met many great people. Coming back felt strange. Though much of Africa is developed, the development doesn’t suppress the raw, wild beauty of the continent. In Namibia, much of the country is desert, kilometer after kilometer of dust, rocks, hardy bushes, and heat. In Botswana, an elephant might casually cross the road, not paying attention to the bus full of tourists hanging out the window with their cameras. And everywhere in Southern Africa, baboons stalk people for food and empty garbage cans, looking for choice morsels.

I have been so fortunate to travel the world with my dad and the rest of my family. I feel like one of the luckiest people alive, because I have seen the Pyramids, and I have seen Big Ben, and I have gazed upon Macchu Picchu. And more importantly than the monuments, I have seen how other people live. I have seen the possibilities, and I relish them.

Life is all about possibilities for me. If I see no possibilities in the future, I start to panic. Which is what happened to me when I couldn’t find a job after graduation. It felt like all the possibilities were disappearing.

I love the idea that I might live in London or Cape Town, South Africa for a while. I love the idea that I can try to make any new dish I like. I love the idea that I can always keep learning and doing new things. Which is why I love to read and write.

As I walked the streets of Southie after I returned from Africa, I knew I wasn’t likely to see anything more exciting than a French Bulldog cross the street. Then I saw a group of schoolchildren who had just “graduated” from elementary school. For a moment, I felt despair. What if the possibilities were running out for people of all ages? It’s becoming harder and harder to make it in this world; school budgets are getting cut, and there are many more restrictions these days.

But no. I can do the things I want if I try hard enough. I can travel, I can write, I can sing, I can cook, I can work with dogs. I may not make money doing the things I love, but I know enough about possibilities and learning that I know I’ll never be bored.

I may not be close to answers about my life, but if I had the answers, where would the possibilities be?

This year!

Last year!

Still smiling 🙂

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