I’m going to Hong Kong – no I’m not ready
It’s just over 6 weeks until I depart for Hong Kong on my six month study and travel adventure and it’s safe to say I’m not ready. No I don’t mean I haven’t booked flights or done the visa paperwork, anyone who knows me knows that I would probably go insane if I left that to the last minute. I mean that getting ready for this trip is a lot more than just packing a bag, it’s also about “packing” mentally.
I wouldn’t say that I am scared of what I will encounter overseas, the logistics of settling in, or even the prospect of being away from my ‘creature comforts’ (except my memory foam pillow- that is coming with me). It’s actually the prospect of what I might miss or what might change back home while I’m away. I was thinking about this the other day when I was looking out my office window at the construction across the road and how it would be so close to finished by the time I got back. This got me thinking about what else will be different when I get back and I started racking up quite a list- with not everything on the list being as exciting as the new buildings.
It started with silly menial things like the weather- I will miss most of summer and come back just in time for the coldest time of the year in Australia (yay…) and just in time for my birthday. This led me to all the friends and family birthdays I will miss. Most of my school mates will be turning 21 this year, meaning I will miss some of their 21st birthdays. Then of course this lead me to think about my friends and family- how they might’ve changed by the time I get back. No doubt there will be new haircuts and romances, and my little sister will definitely be taller than me but there’s also the bigger picture things.
Most people say six months isn’t very long, but if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the past couple of years, it’s that lot can change in this time. At this age, we might have stopped growing physically but emotionally, psychologically, we are growing and changing at an astronomical rate. I once read that being 20 is kind of like trying to play a video game for the first time without reading the instruction manual- you’re just kind of fumbling around hoping to find your way eventually, even if it means losing out numerous times. I feel like this is pretty accurate and especially when you think about how quickly you can pick up a game like this, learning by failure- it seems to work out in the end (at least that’s what I told myself that one time I played COD and pretended to know what was going on…)!
I’d say two of the most interesting changes at this point in our lives are in our view of the world and our relationships. I recently went to a party and saw a whole heap of people I had hardly seen since school. It was really interesting talking to them about their degrees and hearing all their new insights into the world that they’ve gained in such a short time. At school we were all in about the same place- we were all taught the same things at the same pace, but now were are going off and learning about our own little sub-sets of the world and finding where we fit in the big puzzle of life and it’s intriguing to watch it unfold so quickly before your eyes. I still find it strange listening to my best friend rattle of anatomical jargon and have to stop myself from saying “How on earth do you know that!?” as I remember that she’s studying Human Movement…
The other obvious big change is relationships. I have loved going to Uni and establishing a whole new network of friends and connections, and with so many like-minded people! But then you realise that it’s not just you with your growing networks, it’s you and everyone you know- all of your old school friends as well as all your new ones. It can get strangely overwhelming when you think about how small and insignificant you are within these huge networks of people which are constantly changing and evolving. How can I know that the relationships I have now will be the same, and just as strong, when I come back? Thank God for the internet and Skype- I am going to make sure not a week goes by without having a cyber cup of tea with my best friend, a glass of wine with my mum , a session to catch up on all the Marketing School scandals with my Uni mates and of course a good social media stalk of everyone stuck back in little old Adelaide just to make sure I don’t miss anything major (Can you imagine? Something actually HAPPENING in Adelaide!? Wouldn’t miss it for the world).
For a control freak like me, the endless possibility of changes is pretty daunting, but I guess that’s going to be one of the biggest opportunities for me to grow…learning to let go (I resent Frozen for making any attempt at using that phrase seriously completely futile…Damn you Frozen and your catchy songs).
So next time someone asks me “Are you ready to go away?”, maybe I’ll just say I still need to “pack”, or freak them out with a strangely philosophical rant like this one. Either way I’m pretty sure the answer is “no”. Unfortunately I’m not sure the answer will ever be “yes” before the 6th of January, but maybe at least knowing I’m not prepared will prepare me in some strange way.