It’s official that at the end of September I’ll be heading to Suriname. For two months. That means I have one month to get myself and all things related in order, then two months to tear into some serious research and writing, and altogether three months to ponder options of stability upon my return to Amsterdam.
I’m 80 percent excited. The excitement includes the opportunity to experience a new country – a new continent, actually. I’ve never been in the vicinity of South America. So the visit feels overdue. And since I’ve been discussing and reading about Suriname’s history and identity politics for months now, I’m looking forward to digesting some of it firsthand. On a more shallow level, I’m looking forward to trading the Dutch chill for some Surinamese warmth (feel free to interpret that as a commentary on patterns of weather and/or social graces).
I’m 20 percent nervous. I considered writing “anxious” here. But I just looked up the difference between the two words. According to wiki answers, anxiety comes into play when you have no control over a situation that may or may not happen. And that’s the opposite of what I have going on at the moment. The outcomes of my time in Suriname are entirely under my control. Whether or not this trip turns out to be a trailblazing success or a complete waste of time is up to me. I can do it right. Or I can do it wrong. And when I give that nervous 20 percent any attention, doing it wrong feels like a legitimate possibility. Two months in a completely unfamiliar place, with completely unfamiliar people, under the guise of completely unsettling circumstances called academic research – I wonder if I can pull this one out of my ass. Yeah, I think I can. I have every reason to believe I can. But sometimes I’m not so sure.
As this blog indicates, I have a habit of jumping around, from place to place, looking for something that feels right and pursuing my own happiness by any means necessary. But as I approach yet another big journey, and as I watch my age increase almost as quickly as my money decreases, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve mistakenly chosen a life of instability and uncertainty. I wonder if the simpler and more straightforward path that I’ve walked away from (more than once) would have been the better option, even if a bit less thrilling. Could this crazy, fun, and exciting path be leading from the Netherlands to Suriname to nowhere?
Well, regardless, I have no time or patience to start over again. So to verify the validity of my somewhat questionable life choices, I need to leave Suriname with some solid research, a solid (hopefully almost finished) thesis, solid personal and professional connections, and a solid plan for launching my organization shortly thereafter.
Okay, so perhaps I’m 25 percent nervous. And perhaps I’m placing undue pressure on the next few months. But as I’m taking these immediate next steps quite seriously, perhaps I can be forgiven for not being 100 percent thrilled about an opportunity to do (and be) something incredible.
75 percent excited and 25 percent nervous. Knowing myself, if not for the presence of some nervousness (and fear and anxiety and whatever else), I may not even realize this is worth doing. So I’m not allowing the jibber jabber in my head to get the best of me. And I’m certainly not denying the fact that I’m absolutely, positively, without a doubt 100 percent grateful for the path I’ve chosen and the life I get to live.