I have this “I can’t wait until…” thing. Like, “I can’t wait to go home for Christmas break;” “I can’t wait till graduation;” “Oooh, I can’t wait to take a break from working;” and the most recent biggie: “I can’t wait to finish this damn thesis.” I’m constantly looking forward to something. Relatively happy, but for this one nagging circumstance that stands between me and ultimate happiness. When the objectives are achieved, I think there’s usually a moment (whether that’s actually a moment or several months) of celebrated achievement. Graduations from both undergrad and law school were acknowledged by spending a couple of months in Ghana, for example. But for the most part, I spend my time anticipating something better.
The school I couldn’t wait to get into became the school from which I couldn’t wait to graduate. And the city to which I couldn’t wait to move became the city I couldn’t wait to leave (I’m not talking about Amsterdam here, promise). Kind of like a traveling version of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”
But I think most of my anticipated next steps were actual upgrades, whether strategic or indulgent. And after getting through the recent full-time student dysfunction, I think I reached a real clearing. Maybe there really was some sense to my madness. Nowadays I’m spending about 90% of my productive time on turning my nonprofit fantasy into a real thing, splitting my time between research in the archives, meeting with remarkably brilliant and inspiring people, and doing laptop-type work from home – oftentimes outside on the porch (maybe another 5% of productive time is spent on naps – I have no reason to be dishonest). This was definitely the outcome I couldn’t wait for as I drudged through every forced word of my thesis (about a topic I love, mind you). But could this also be one of the main points I’ve been anxious to reach all along?
Living in a place I genuinely enjoy and feeling entirely on purpose, I’m finally feeling pretty damn satisfied.
Not to say I’m not still looking forward to the day I don’t have to worry about money. And absolutely by no means has everything fallen into place seamlessly. I just have to remember to enjoy those challenges. These are the types of problems for which I’ve been waiting!
And now, since I’ve been silent for an extended period, I’ll share a mostly unrelated story:
A few nights ago I went to an event in the center of town. I walked the half mile (or so) to the bus stop. And I took the bus (1.60 SRD). The buses are essentially vans – if you appreciate a Ghana reference, they’re like decent tro-tros without the mates. Vague stop locations, uncomfortable middle seats that require constantly lifting your seat to get out of the way, and a relatively cheap fare paid when exiting. Everyone seems to know what’s going on, even when it’s completely unclear. And I always feel like the only one anxiously looking over my shoulder when an unexpected turn is made, strategically plotting my exit strategy.
But anyway, there are a couple of bus routes that now make me feel like a local. So I was relatively confident on this night, flagging the poorly lit and barely distinguishable bus after dark. Although sometimes I get on and sit down in one of the awkward middle seats before I realize that I’ve walked irrevocably far from a preferred seat, this time I got a window seat in one of the ideal rows – right by the door and only an arm’s reach from the driver. But as I settled into the best seat I had ever gotten, I became aware of a strange silence. Everyone was super still, looking forward. It felt kind of eerie – too calm.
But I wasn’t finished reflecting on the weird quiet people before Pebbles started singing “Mercedes Boy.” It turns out this bus had driven straight out of my 80s-music-loving subconscious. And it took every ounce of power I had not to dance through the whole ride. Eventually I reached my stop and had to leave the most favorite-weirdo-80s-bus-of-my-dreams during “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” Bizarrely, it was the first stop the bus made since I had gotten on. And when I got off, the bus waited at least 45 seconds before pulling off. I could still faintly hear the music as I turned the corner.
After the event, I hoped to retrieve my 80s-dream-bus bliss on another reasonably priced ride home. But someone offered to drive me. And for a second I actually thought, “damn, I couldn’t wait to take the bus.”