Sunday, October 26, 2008

Citizen of the World

Ashley and Ben have helped me figure out my life...again. Yes, even we joke about the many times we have sat around their table and talked through, "Well, do these classes sound interesting?" or "What about journalism?"

Tonight we talked about college, classes, plans, and the future. As I am usually stressing about my lack of plans and direction as far as a major, Ben said, "Call me crazy..." and just sat there.

"Oh, umm, you're crazy!" I said.

"Well, call me crazy, but, what if you did what you want to do right now and enjoyed the college experience instead of waiting to be happy until you have life all figured out? Because your "ducks-in-a-row-ness" just isn't realistic. What if you were happy now?"

There's an idea. But Ashley added to it.

"What if you just took classes that sounded interesting and you enjoyed now, then decided on a masters program you are really passionate about 3 years from now?"

So instead of feeling like I have to necessarily pick a major and be tied to it, we looked at classes that just happened to look really good, like: Creative writing, Magazine writing, World Literature, Introduction to Teaching, and so on. Huh. So, I guess that means I'm an English Education major and then in 3 years I can be more specific if I even want to. I could change to highschool counseling, or journalism, or social work, or whatever.

For some reason, looking at it this way, made life seem so much easier and gosh darn, exciting.

Ashley and Ben are the two best listeners and communicators I have ever met. They remind me that I am ok, or even great, just how I am. They let me vent and share my struggles, insecurities, and mistakes. They celebrate with me in anything whether it is a successful new recipe or catching a touchdown pass. Ashley and Ben are insightful, open minded, accepting, and hilarious. Sure, our humor might not make anyone else chuckle, but it makes us giggle uncontrollably for hours.

A & B are not your typical married couple. They talk things through. They communicate well. Sometimes I ask them, "What is the hardest thing about being married?" and they answer honestly as if the other person was not in the room, because they've probably already talked about it with them.

Somehow I've never been bad enough, ugly enough, ridiculous enough, or awful enough yet, because I've never felt so much genuine, love directed at me. They actually convince me that I am loveable. Eventhough I often tell them that they must live in some imaginary world where life is much simpler and I make sense, they convince me that maybe I am ok just as I am.

Last time I called Ashley to tell her I had thrown up again, she said, "Yeah, I could already tell from how you've been talking" even before I told her. Ben hugs me and kisses my forehead as if I was his own daughter and I'm convinced he would really inflict a lot of pain to any other male who hurt me. Ashley lets me get my own food when we eat together because she knows it's easier for me that way. Ben jokes with me and is never afraid to tell me the truth as painful as it may be sometimes.

Before I left for Cambodia we sat at there kitchen table and I talked about wanting to be a citizen of the world and what that looked like.

Straight from the website: "A World Citizen is a human being who lives intellectually, morally and physically in the present. A World Citizen accepts the dynamic fact that the planetary human community is interdependent and whole, that humankind is essentially one. A World Citizen is a peaceful and peacemaking individual, both in daily life and contacts with others. As a global person, a World Citizen relates directly to humankind and to all fellow humans spontaneously, generously and openly."

It goes on to other things, but I told them that I had goals for what that meant to me.

As a citizen of the world I told them I wanted a broader worldview that included more cultures than just the American one I've grown up in. I told them I wanted to spend less money on clothes and wear what I really wanted to, not what I thought I should be wearing. I told them I wanted to wear less makeup. I told them I wanted to be a better communicator, be more knowledgeable, and be eating disorder-free.

As I walked out the door tonight, Ashley said, "Ya know, it seems to me you are becoming more and more of the citizen of the world that you want to be."

That is one the best compliments I could ever recieve and I'm convinced that she genuinely meant it.