This Monday was like that of any other: Get up. Get dressed. Eat a bagel. Go to work. Granted, I am only 19, and this is “job” is a monotonous 4:30 A.M. wake up call to a coffee shop in a local franchise, but a job nonetheless. The reiteration of this day-to-today lifestyle always seems to get me thinking.
Is there more to life then going to college, getting a job, and eventually using what money is left over after finally paying off your college debt to purchase a beautifully carved, marble rock that will lay atop your heard for the rest of eternity?
This question has crossed my mind many times. Lately, in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I find I am drowning in sleepless nights, trying to discover what it is I want in life. The problem here is that I already know.
I am wanderlust. I am bent on the idea that only a packed bag and my feet in a new country can cure the missing piece of me. I am repeatedly terrified by the idea that I will not make the right decision; the decision to take the risk.
What if it does not work out?
Oh, but what if it does?
What if I miss the opportunity of a lifetime because I was held back by the conscious thought of rejection or failure? What will everyone think of me? Now ask yourself this. Does it really matter? Our hopeful 100 years on this earth is proof that our feet are not meant to stay in one place. You do not need 100 years in the same place. Our minds are so complex that they are able to learn such a vast variety of skills and information. Stop filling it with the same content it already is overflowing with and learn something new, whether it is an instrument, a language, or a new word. Never. Stop. Learning. This is so vital to us as human beings that many of us forget to stay active learners. We spend 13 years getting various subjects branded into our minds. After that, we choose something we may have an interest in, or may just needed to fill in a bubble for the application (guilty). We then pay tens of thousands of dollars to sit inside more blank spaces, getting even more information prodded at us. Most of us end up dedicating 17 years (give or take) of schooling to sit behind a desk in a cubicle; where coffee becomes a means of survival and the clock seems to be moving backwards rather than forwards.
Then comes the worst part: We forget.
If you do not continue to use the information your brain has stored, it will weed out the dormant skills. You need to keep learning. Explore the world. Do not settle for the pictures on Google. Sure, anyone knows what it looks like to jump out of a plane, I mean, who hasn’t searched the web for skydiving pictures? It looks breath-taking. Those of you sitting at home in your pajamas, within the comfort of four walls and a roof over your head, Googling these images are missing the point. It is the feeling.
It is getting the harness on, all the nerves in your body on guard. It is making the walk to the open pasture, sunlight shining off the metal of the small plane. It is taking off, strapped to a stranger, the plane tilting and shaking as the uneven weight of the other nervous thrill-seekers shift as a last attempt to calm their nerves. It is watching the rickety door to the plane open to landscape below, winding through the city. It is that feeling right before you fall, legs dangling two miles from safety: Calm, like you could take on anything in the world at that moment in time.
And then you let go.
120 miles per hour. Endlessly falling; free and fearless. Released from your same day after day routine. Free from any worry or hint of stress, if only for a second. It is you against the world, and right at that moment, you are on top.
You can’t experience that from pictures, nor from talking about it. Not even my best description could ever prepare you for the rush of life that fills you when you are falling.
During my personal experience of being a dare-devil (no, I did NOT tell my mom until after I was safely on the ground), the entire time I was in the sky there was only one recurring thought running through my head: I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. Skydive? No, even though if you asked me to at this very moment I’d answer with a “DUH”. I want the thrill. The new experiences. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
I want it all.
Fernweh: German~Literally “farsickness” or “longing for far-off places”, as contrasted with Heimweh (“homesickness, longing for home”).
This is my version of wanderlust. I am currently self-teaching myself German, because it is the basic ancestry of my family and I long to travel to the beautiful country someday. Through my studies, “Fernweh”, has been a word I have found to be my favorite. I long for places far from here, places I do not even know exist.
I am homesick for the unknown, and I am not afraid to find it.
I am Fernweh, and I am Fearless.