It Will All Be Worth It In The End
Life lately has been a blur. A wonderful blur, but a blur nonetheless. Life has become outrageously busy. I like it. I've laughed a lot, made new friends, tried to study, found out where I'll be come September and celebrated all week long. I haven’t had a free evening in weeks and have discovered that being busy to the point where you don’t know what day it is is the easiest and most fun way to sweep away any hint of worry.
I think the news about my project is the biggest news of all. I've kind of been keeping it close to my chest, because I feel so much, and it's hard to explain what it's like to be overflowing with excitement and fear and happiness and homesickness all at once. Come September, I'll be on my way to the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad to volunteer for a year. I'll be teaching English to nurses and hospital staff so that out of India's 100 odd languages, the hospital has English as a common language to make things run a little smoother. I am so excited for Hyderabad, to live and work in a new city, a city with more people in it than Scotland's entire population. At the same time I have no idea what to expect and late at night or after too many questions, the fear of the unknown eats at me a little. It's hard to know whether the butterflies are excitement or nerves. I think it's a little bit of both.
Overall it's been a good week. I've started trying to learn Telugu, but as much I love learning a new language, stitching together words, assembling and rearranging sentences as if sewing together a patchwork quilt, it's also really difficult sometimes. I practice with Fr Justin, the Indian priest after mass and he laughs at my pathetic attempts and mispronunciation. I wonder if, years from now, reading back on my recollections from these months and the repeating ribbon of weeks – study, procrastinate, study some more, a pocket of hours for dinner, sleep before it all begins anew the next morning – I will still recall the faces of those who populate my days, still remember the cadence of their voices and the familiar rhythm of my dad’s footsteps, coming home each day with enthusiasm to rival a puppy. I wonder if I’ll remember how much I loved learning and cramming my head full of knowledge, how I worried sometimes, or stopped early when I couldn't face studying anymore. I am so full of life just now and I'm so grateful for it.
That’s the peculiar and forgettable thing about the present: it feels so solid and permanent, as we’re living it, even though change could be just around the corner. It so often comes suddenly and all at once – like a meteor racing across the sky, a firework blooming into the black of night, a blossom tree shaded pink overnight.
Studying has been hard lately, the feeling of being stuck in a rut and a consequent low mood that reminds me of those days in early January when the sky is dark by 3pm and the pavements are coated in ice. There have been bouts of difficulty that have forced me to take stock and acknowledge my limitations, but these doubts have been interspersed with moments of pure joy and I’ve been reminded of how so much of life is not clear-cut, not smooth and perfected like the airbrushed pictures in the magazines. Variety is the spice of life, they say, and as I grow, I’m realising how true that is. Life is about the shades, and the greys, the borders and the edges. It’s so rarely black and white.
So much of life, especially at this stage of my life, is focused on work and success and I’ve been trying to remind myself that, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not really what matters. My life outside of studying is beautiful – family, friends, hugs, good homemade food, morning coffee and midnight snacks, reading novels so gripping that I forget I’m smashed into five other bodies on the subway. Writing, taking photographs, exploring. I am loved. I am so lucky to have the support of so many people, my family, friends scattered across the globe like thumbtacks on a map, and a purpose and a home and legs to carry me.
On Wednesday I am nervous because I have a summer school interview at two. I don't know what to expect but mum offers to drive me in and we go for lunch before. We make it to the building half an hour early and wait. After a while a girl arrives and mum leaves. I start talking to the girl, Rachael, and we get on really well quite quickly. We've applied to the same subject, so it's good to know there will be some familiar faces. When the rest of our group arrives we recount our plans for the future and introduce ourselves. We're all quite chatty and it makes everything so much easier. When the co-ordinator arrives she laughs and says we're the first group that's talked all week. We go silent for a minute and then Jill cracks her fingers, and we all laugh. For a second you would't know that we're just total strangers who've been put together by chance.
I have one exam left, and as time goes on I become increasingly nervous. I've had so much time to study and I still feel like I don't know anything. I don't have grade conditions for uni either, so when my motivation runs out all I can think is, why am I doing this? It's hard to be motivated when you don't see the point in something. But as I read back over words I wrote nearly a year ago, one line sticks out at me: I know it will all be worth it in the end.
If there is anything I've realised this week it's probably that success isn't everything. You are not your job or your income or your exam results or the people you choose to spend your time with. Just as you are not the way you look, your insecurities or your resume. I find it difficult to remember this sometimes – other times, I know for sure that importance lies in the small, good stuff: the dinners, the morning hugs and the afternoon walks, the things that fill you up with happiness and make you forget the hard parts. My task is to remember this all the time.