I landed in Baltimore at 9:30am (Eastern Time) Monday after 2.5 hours of scattered sleep. Since then, I have been doing a lot of sleeping and catching up – and procrastinating on this last post (it’s now three days later – sorry!).
I’m still not exactly adjusted to the time difference either. Waking up, I feel like I should be getting four more hours of sleep; but it’s absolutely worth it being home.
I’ve got a ton to do – renting textbooks, organizing moving into my house for the coming year, planning a road trip, nailing down a job – and it’s been hard to step back and take some time to reflect on my last 5 weeks in Alaska.
There’s no way I can adequately recap everything that happened but it is possible to recap all of the things I learned along the way. I’m going to try to order these from greatest to least influence on my perspective on life…
1. There is no real right way to go about living. There is a necessity to be a decent human being while you’re alive, but other than that, there is no set right way to live your life. As long as you are kind and hardworking there will always be opportunities. It doesn’t all have to be planned out right now. I do still think it’s a good idea to have a plan, but if it doesn’t work out exactly WHO CARES. I met plenty of incredible, inspiring people who have worked so many different jobs and lived in so many different places – there’s no way they would have had the opportunities they did without a little flexibility in their life plans.
2. Hard work feels good. Some of my most rewarding days were the ones where I felt just beat by the end. I could fall asleep no matter how light it was outside. It’s a struggle, normally, for me to get motivated to start a hard project but once I got going I felt like I had a pretty decent work ethic and it felt good to do some hard labor every once and awhile.
3. Being uncomfortable is awesome. While I was gone I slept on a couch, a different couch, a futon, a twin bunk bed, a tent on the beach, a twin bunk bed again, and then a couch again; and there were maybe two times where I thought “hmm, what I wouldn’t do for a real mattress”.
4. Connection to the earth is key – I haven’t spent so much time outside in awhile (maybe ever – since most days I was outside all day). Working out in the rain, getting a little cold every once and awhile, getting a little more sun than I probably should at point, etc. Now that I’m back home I’m realizing how much time outside I took for granted when I was in AK. Walking to breakfast in the morning when they dew was thick enough to get my toes wet, washing my hands after planting starts in the greenhouse, or after getting basil under my nails. I’ve never been so okay with getting sandy at the beach – which is saying a lot because usually that makes me tire of beaches after less than a day. Basing clothing & activities on the weather at the moment, getting tons of fresh air, bed times being enforced by the time it takes the sun to set enough so that I don’t have anymore light to read – those things really made me realize that the earth is in charge and we’re just kind of living here. Back home I don’t get as much of that.
5. People can be great. As terrible as it sounds, while I was out in Homer I was expecting to meet at least one person who was just mean. In my experience, that seems to be the case most times – a good portion of a group of people can be really cool, but there’s always a handful that surprise you by just being terrible. But, that never happened. I dunno if it had to do with the fact that everyone I met was willingly either working with kids or working with plants (or maybe I just got really lucky) but everyone I spent the last month or so with was totally nice and incredible in their own ways. Getting to know them really made me appreciate good people and restored my faith in the possibility of good in other groups of new people.
I’m sure my perspective on all of these memories will continue to change as I move through the rest of my life but I will always have these posts to remind me of my experiences and what my experiences have taught me. Sometimes writing these posts seemed like a chore – especially when the internet was slow and I was exhausted BUT I’m really glad I did them anyway.
And I’m really really glad – and grateful – that I had as much support as I did these past 5 weeks. Thank you again!