15 June 2009

t-15 days

We have fifteen days before we leave and are gearing up for our trip. We actually got reminder bracelets for our typhoid pills. "Remember Oral Typhoid Vaccine."

I guess "Remember to refrigerate your four typhoid vaccine pills and take them every other day on an empty stomach-- and then don't eat for an hour afterward" was just a bit too long.

But back to our imminent year of travel. It's both exciting and bittersweet. We've lived here in Cambridge for five years, enjoying life in the Harvard bubble, and these have been some of the happiest years of my life so far.

On the other hand, the end of a chapter always means goodbyes, which makes me sad, no matter how happy the next chapter promises to be. So, while I'm thrilled to be able to travel for a year with my best friend, I'm leaving behind people and places that have brought incredible joy into my life.

When we're young, the whole world of possibility beckons. As we make choices, we narrow our lives. By age ten, we know if we will be an Olympic gymnast or ice skater. By age twenty, we know if we will be an Olympic athlete at all. (Unless you're into curling.) By age thirty, you know if you will likely be an astronaut or president of a country. And so on. It isn't that people don't defy the norms with astounding feats later in life, but for most of us, we start carving away possibilities with each choice we make.

Usually, the possibilities we carve away are things we happily say, "No, thanks" to. Becoming a corporate accountant, for example (no, thanks). But the act of ruling out possibilities makes me a little sad. I want my life to feel like endless possibility.

I know, I know. It's our choices that define us. I just don't like definition -- it makes me feel fenced in. (I'm an INFP. Of course, my psych friends tell me the Myers Briggs results don't actually signify anything.) Why limit someone to "doctor" or "professor" or even "parent"? I need to go read my connessione post again.

Okay, I feel better now. And discovered that you can actually have conversations with your better self when you have a blog. Awesome.

And I'll share a fun little personality game I discovered this past weekend. Imagine you're in the desert. You're holding a cube. What does it look like? How big is it? You also have a ladder. What does it look like? Where is it? And you have a horse. What does it look like? Where is it? How do you feel about it? And lastly, a storm is coming in. What do you do?

So, after you've considered carefully, here's what your answers supposedly mean: your cube is your ego. Some people said their cube was huge, some said it was small; some said it was solid, some said it was transparent; some said it was mirrored, and some said it was like black wood.

The ladder is supposed to be how you view your friendships. In our group, there were aluminum ladders, wooden ladders, upright ladders, ladders lying in the sand and a ladder into the sky. (Hey, I have high expectations of my close friends.)

The horse was supposed to be how you see your partner. One of our friends said, "I don't want a horse." Pretty funny and pretty apt, as he's a single guy. Tame and wild were common descriptions, and it was fun to hear people say things like, "Yeah, my horse does whatever I tell it to."

And lastly, the way you react to the storm is supposedly how you relate to life's difficulties. So, our single friend said he'd follow the horse, hoping it knew where shelter was. Another person said he'd hide under his horse. I said I'd open a big, orange umbrella tent and take my cube, ladder and horse inside with me.

My partner wants to know who comes up with these things, and I'm guessing my psychology friends would just laugh. But I think they're fun. Hope you enjoyed it.

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