Would you believe that in the five months since I graduated college, I haven't stayed in any one place for more than three weeks at a time? At the beginning, it was easy. I was traveling around Europe with friends or bouncing around between a few of the places I consider home, places that I have solid friends and family to visit and enjoy. Africa has been its own challenge. This post is my attempt to tackle one of the great challenges I face in this chaotic, ever-changing life: the lack of permanence, the lack of any routine, fundamentally, the lack of stability.
This life I've chosen has been fascinating. I get to solve new, interesting problems every week. No one week is like the next, and no one day quite like another. I'm gifted to work with brilliant, determined people who believe deeply in the difference they're making in Africa. And the people I meet outside work are almost all uniformly bright, friendly, and captivating. What more could I ask for, right?
The first factor that brought this absence to my attention was how quickly the people I've been meeting here turnover. There are very few expats who are here for the long-haul, and everyone's on their own schedule. People regularly disappear for weeks or forever. One of my first friends here, for instance, someone who is responsible for many of my current friends, left just a couple weeks after I met him. That's a pattern that's emerged even more since. When I meet people today, I begin the interaction with the awareness that there's a 50-50 chance I'll never see them again. It's a strange way to live: liberating but also very difficult.
And what's more, I'm also aware that I'm certainly part of the problem. This Sunday I'll leave Ghana for two to three weeks before traveling to Singapore with a brief visit back in Ghana. This life is dynamic, fast-paced, and exciting, but it can also be jarring and uncomfortable. I have been able to meet others who seem to do it though. My colleague, Bridgette, for example, travels even more than I do and yet manages to run nearly every day and has a social life wherever she goes. I don't know how she does it, but I'm shooting to learn, how to conjure stability from chaos.
They say that life doesn't come with an instruction manual. Never in my life have I felt more like I've needed one than I do now. This lifestyle is so fundamentally different from anything I've ever lived, and it's definitely going to take some time to master. But don't you worry. This mastery may not come tomorrow, next week, or next month, but it will. I won't accept anything less.