I am officially naming May 2014 the longest month of my life so far.
Around 5 months ago I bought my round trip ticket to Tokyo Japan. When I did, I was excited to say the least, but I knew that the actual trip was pretty far off still. I was okay with that and for a time the months passed unnoticed at a comfortable pace. I went to school, I came back, I did my homework, I went to work, and so on. Like this I completed each day the same as the next and passed the time not thinking much about how long I had until my trip.
But... can you hear it when something you have worked so hard for is finally nearing you? Or perhaps you can see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, I don't know. But when that train that is carrying your hard work is nearing the end of the dark tunnel that is waiting... things start to change. Seconds become minutes which turn into hours and from there days feel like years. The closer it gets, the more the world feels like it has stopped turning.
As of writing this post I have 16 days until I can finally board my plane. If this month has felt long, these next 16 days will feel like an eternity. I try not to think about it because I don't want to be just sitting in waiting. I try to keep my mind occupied with meaningless things but the thought invades my mind all the time. I am constantly thinking of what I will pack, changing my mind about this and that from one hour to the next. I can't help it.
Am I excited? I can't explain what I feel right now. I have been excited about many things before. Nothing has ever felt quite like this. I am excited, but that is not the only thing I am feeling. There are other emotions as well.
Worry is one of them and for many reasons. I am worried about the usual things of course. How much or how little to pack, how to find the place I am staying at and so on. But the worry extends beyond that. I am worried about my family for one. I have taken it upon myself to be a strong person for my family. I have always wanted to show them that I will always be their support if they needed it, and in the end I will do the dirty work they cannot. I will be the bad guy, or the good guy, when they have no heart to do so and I have always tried to be the voice of reason or sensibility regardless of whether they listen or not.
My role within my family is a complicated one, but it is one that requires me to be within arms reach. I see myself as a shield for them from everything outside or at least I try to be. I think they deserve this. However, I feel like their shield will be half a world away from them for a month. Don't get me wrong, I know my family will not completely fall apart in my absence. I do not lend myself that much importance or think they are that dependent on me. It's in the back of my mind though, this feeling of not doing my job or my duty. What good is a shield without someone to protect? Without my family I truly am lost.
I will miss my family. I will always worry about them. Now on my trip, and forever in the future, until the day I die my duty will never be fulfilled. It is not something they ask of me, nor something they expect of me. None of them have ever told me, "This is your role." In fact at times they probably wish this shield had a slightly softer side. For that, I must apologize to them. That is a side they will always have to struggle to see.
I am torn of course. On one hand I have my wants and wishes but on the other I have my self-appointed sense of duty to my family. When my mom reads this I will know her response. She has always wanted us to have strong family bonds (in which she succeeded) but never so strong that it holds us back from the things we want in life. For me at least, I listened to both teachings all too well. I have a very strong bond with my family, but a strong desire to do things that will eventually take me far from them. The question there is, how far can a rope be stretched?
You might be thinking to yourself, "Don't worry, it's just a month!" But it is not that simple. This month in Japan begins something far bigger for me in the future. To put some sort of simplicity to this, I have one life to live and a whole world to see.
It will be tough, but I will cope and my worry will be as minimal as possible. My family is strong and we always take up the slack for each other when we need it. I know that my worry is for nothing.
This helps a little, writing about it openly like this, I think. Before I started my first blog, I spoke to someone who has been very important to me about my plans. They told me that a blog should be open, truthful, and honest. I have always thought of myself as an honest person. I do not lie even when I probably should. In my writing, I try to express my raw thoughts as best as possible and I think I am fairly good at that. So, by extension, I have tried to keep my blogs posts as open and honest as I can. In doing so I think that, at least tonight, it has proven to be a good way to expel some of the emotions that plague the human brain from time to time.
My month in Japan will certainly be interesting, I can tell you that.