Emotions are such funny things.
While preparing us to leave for abroad Dickinson made us sit through a slideshow presentation about safety and whatnot and at the end they included a graph about the “emotional journey of abroad.” It was “W” shaped with highs occurring at arrival and later in the trip and lows occurring near the beginning and when we got home. Now that I am actually abroad I realize how much of an absurd simplification that is. The trip isn’t a rollercoaster – every day is.
Every morning I wake knowing that each day will contain two extremes – one of exhilarating inspiration and one of being utterly overwhelmed. At first I wondered what was wrong with me, I am usually a little more level headed and stable than this. It is hard to recognize how I feel at any one moment, usually because I’m feeling a multitude of things. But I have come to realize, maybe that is the beauty of it. I have started sitting back and accepting emotions as they wash over me, recognizing and accepting them as part of this experience and part of who I am. As such, I have eliminated the frustration of emotional confusion and have become more intune with myself and how I react to my surroundings.
At the expense of sounding cheesy, I think emotions, really, are all that make up life. We have nothing if not how we feel at any one moment. Emotions are as much a part of the journey of life as our actions, if not even more so. They are our constant companion – affecting our every perception and action. If you think about it, our emotions write our history – they illustrate our memories for us. In addition, they map out our future, influencing the choices we make. Most importantly, however, they are the present. To feel is to live.
I think maybe I have been searching for the wrong ultimate end – I don’t want to be happy all the time. I don’t want it all to be perfect. Change, uncertainty, they are what make life exciting. If I can write four pages of introspective thoughts in my journal every day then I know my life is worth living. I was never good at “no hands” on the roller coaster, but my new goal is to master how to let go.