Odyssey

Truth - it may sound cliché but life really is a journey and its one of epic proportions. From start to finish life keeps you on your toes. You can never really know what's going to come up next, if you did then you'd miss out on all the suspense. That's the aspect of our lives that makes our stories so great, the ambiguity, the anxiousness, and the not knowing. We're tasked with taking what comes our way and working with it the to best of our ability. No one ever life would be easy or predictable. Time to write our own new epic - this is odyssey.

“Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this.” 
Homer the Odyssey

Does anyone else have vivid memories of their high school English classes and reading story after story to no end. They may have ruined my love for reading (apparently I have a problem with authority) but there definitely are certain stories I remember well. Homer's the Odyssey is one of them. Who can ever forget Odysseus' decade long struggle to make it back home after the Trojan War. It was the definition of an epic and currently parallels my twenty-something life. Monsters, tasks, trials, tribulations, and temptations abound these days. New people to meet, new obstacles to overcome, and new experiences to endure. I don't really know what lies ahead of me other than something great. What can I say other than I'm both excited and nervous. Even more so though I'm also scared. Again I'm about to set out on a new adventure, alone, in an unknown place armed with nothing more than myself, resources, and the people who've always been there to support me. I know that I'm more than well prepared but that feeling of terror doesn't just go away. I'm both ready and wary of my upcoming odyssey.
 
Let me through it all the way back to last week when my expedition known as college at UVM officially ended with my old roommate, Zach, whisking me away to the northernmost part of Vermont. I said my goodbyes to the last few people with my friend Isora, friend/brother/advisor Lane, my university president's amazing wife, Leslie, and the power couple we all aspire to be with Derrick and Lisa. Into the night we descended and soon we were enveloped in darkness and silence. It was just like old times with Zach as we drove through the mountainous countryside. Wide-eyed deer, brisk night wind, and a big ole moon shone bright above us as we made it to his place in Troy. I couldn't believe it that my time in Burlington had officially come to a close. I spent the night reflecting on the 4 years + the summer and a half I had spent with the place (that's a forthcoming post) and passed out in the stoic silence. I don't think I had ever been in complete and utter silence. There had always been some kind of background noise, whirring, churning, or beeping but there was absolutely nothing to be heard other than my own soft breathing. It was both jarring and soothing. With the lights off it was pitch black to the point where I couldn't see my hand waving in front of my face. I embraced the solitude and slept like never before. That slumber was the stuff of legend, as if I had been placed under a mythological spell - it was that deep.

The next morning I awoke refreshed but groggy and prepared for a day of venturing, literally, into unchartered territory. I spent the day with Zach's hilarious family seeing the expanses of mountains and fields that northern Vermont had to offer. It was simply breathtaking. We stopped by this conglomerate of a one-stop-shop called the "Pick and Shovel" which had everything from appliances to pet supplies to sandwiches. From there was the ten-mile bike ride that proved to be a harrowing experience. I hadn't ridden a bike since eighth grade and the route was not too challenging but I was definitely not ready for it. I made it through huffing, puffing, and sweating like there was no tomorrow. I was afraid of falling, going the path into the lake, or just not being able to make it but my inner hypermasculine stubbornness emerged with me pushing through. It was good just to know that I can try new things, enjoy them, and take them for what they are even if they are not what I'm used to. I learning to actually like the outdoors, who would have thought. A home cooked meal and a rustic campfire closed out the night and my last day in Vermont. My odyssey was about to have a plot twist.

My most interesting days are those when I travel. From Vermont we went through New Hampshire all the way to Boston. We made a pit stop at an outlet mall and of course I ended up adding to my luggage with new purchases. A steady rain bid me farewell and I hugged Zach with all my might before entering the terminal. Checked in, loaded up, and ready to go I flew from Boston to Baltimore, hung out for a bit, and continued on to Dayton, OH. It was Independence Day and as I landed fireworks were shooting off all across the city. It was nothing short of amazing. Bright bursts of color lit up the sky as streetlights glimmered below. We touched down and it hit me. I was done with college. There I retrieved my luggage and was retrieved by one of my brothers, Eugene, to head home. It was a different world. I had changed so much. I had been through lifetimes of experiences, or at least it felt like it. I took a few days to recoup and was back into the swing of things at home, running errands, cleaning up, and doing my part. Wednesday came and it was the day that I was able to pick up my car. I was absolutely floored and in true me form, broke down crying profusely at how grateful I was to be given such a huge gift. I love my car; I love my family; and I love my life. For the next three weeks it's prepping for graduate school and what lies ahead, but that's a journey I'm beyond ready for.

There's so much responsibility that comes with being 22. I feel like I'm supposed to know so many things and the truth is that I really don't. There are definitely some things I'm knowledgeable about but also so many others that I'm not. I guess what makes me adequately prepared is the tools and resources I was empowered with through my time in college. The real test will be actually remembering to use them, to be patient, confident, and to ask for help when it's necessary. For now, I lay in wait gathering supplies for my new apartment and graduate school. Even I look forward to reading this story. This is my odyssey. X

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