Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Places I've Been in 10 Years

Yesterday, as I rummaged around for my passport, I realized that it's set to expire in June of this year. That means... it's been ten years since I've gotten my passport. TEN YEARS.

I actually quite clearly remember getting that passport photo taken. I had to take several shots because my hair kept falling over my eyes and I wouldn't follow the "don't smile" directions. Because honestly, if you don't smile you look fat and mad. In the end the lady gave up and printed out a picture to which I thought "oh. oh. ohno. i'm stuck with this photo for ten years..."

Now, in a blink of an eye, I'll be turning it in soon to renew it for another ten years...

And i'm sad about renewing it because my passport means a lot to me.

It's not because i have this "i can't live without my passport because #wanderlust #experienceallthecultures #exploringtheworld" type of deal...  Rather, it's something that i've physically had with me for ten years that 1) my mom didn't make me throw out 2) it hasn't gotten lost 3) it's not torn and worn out. And most importantly, because 4) my passport is evidence of how my story has changed over the last ten years...

What do i mean by that? This past Sunday, my pastor asked us to think about our "stories" and how they have changed. Basically, what did you imagine your 2016 was going to look like five or even ten years ago.

And let me tell you, 16-year-old me thought 26-year-old me would be married and a lawyer/ working in capitol hill... and that's basically about it. LOL.

But somewhere between 16 and 26, I took my passport and went to China. That triggered a trip to Indonesia, which triggered a passion for health and policy, which got me to go to Nigeria. Now, instead of working in a law firm or on capitol hill, I work for a nonprofit in international health in New York City.

Somewhere between 16 and 26, both my sisters got married, with one of the weddings in Mexico. I learned wayyyy too much about marriage and now I sometimes get scared thinking about marriage. #itsnotaseasyasitsounds

Somewhere between 16 and 26 I have a different relationship with my parents and I got to go to Iceland with my mom where I never imagined a mother-and-me trip would happen. We're currently working on a possible me-mom-dad-like-an-only-child trip =P  

But it hasn't all been so fun.

Somewhere between 16 and 26, these stamps on my passport happened right before or after great losses in my family. It made me grow up fast and realize that the most important thing in life is not success but my faith....


Over the last ten years i've been to places I never would have imagined I would travel to. I've become friends with people I would normally not be friends with (no offense) and learned to find normalcy in things that are clearly not normal. I hate thinking about parting with this passport, even if it means I finally get a better passport photo, because each stamp I've collected over the ten years doesn't just signify a place I've been.... It signifies a moment in my ten years where I formed better relationships, discovered how I wanted to change the world, learned where my strength comes from, and.. in a sense.. where my story got rewritten.

So bring it on new passport, you've got a lot to live up to.

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