Homecoming: Two words stitched together with a thousand stories.
Next week I will return home for my graduation ceremony from University. It has been a full year since I have studied – A year and a half since I have been home. Hours in transit are hours full of thought. I’ve been thinking about education, what it means to me.
It’s normal to call a year away a “Gap Year’. I don’t think it should be.
The word Gap evokes a void, an emptiness in between. When we call it a Gap Year we suggest that it is a break from the real world – a schism in life, growth and learning.
Some hidden truths: Education doesn’t stop when we finish studying. Life doesn’t begin at graduation. Reality isn’t suspended when we travel.
At university I studied International Studies to learn about the world so that I could find my place within it. Over the last year I have searched for the same knowledge across six continents. Now I will go home – at least for a little while – and I will keep looking, keep learning.
I once heard a poet say that we spend our life rewriting the same poem. I will try to learn about the world so that I can find my place within it. I think this will be my poem, the one that I rewrite over and over.
I couldn’t list for you everything that I have learned in the last year. Putting it into words would somehow limit it, diminishing nuances and half-truths. I can, however, tell you those words that have completely changed meaning for me over the last year.
Success. Health. Work. Love. Food. Beauty. Fear. Family.
These are the words that I will write, then rewrite, my poem with.
Think about them: what do they mean to you? Now imagine what they will mean to you in a years time… Your mind is malleable – over the next year your consciousness might bend in ways that will twist new meaning out of old words.
I think that’s pretty wonderful – A truth worth coming home to.