“Seven days” when whispered over the phone is a famous little saying from a decade old horror movie. But seven days has taken an entirely new meaning in my life today. I have 7 days left in America. Just one week to completely prepare to be a lifelong nomad and join the expat life.
While that may still be the equivalent of a horror movie to some people, to me it is anything but.
It is however, odd to me that I am becoming an expat at such a young age. In my head, expats, and people with careers are much older; like in their 30s; never fresh out of college. So that made me think. At just 22 years of age, I have done so much and I’m so damn proud of myself but in a way that I would be proud of my sister, if I had one. It doesn’t feel like I am the one I am proud of, because none of this feels real. I don’t know what it is about my life or mindset that makes me view my life in a sort of birds eye view, but its exciting nonetheless.
While my childhood was relatively uninteresting, it still consisted of a great many adventures. I mean, in Kindergarten I was chosen as the new student leader so I had to be friends with literally every student which was fine to me! I was also chosen to go on a shopping spree with some company for having perfect attendance. (For some reason when I got back, I thought I was making an analogy when I said the bus flipped over, but apparently thats not how analogies work and the school contacted the police for a full on investigation and I was like… uuuhhh well I guess I’ll play along because I’m in too deep now). Then in first grade I won an award for reading the most books in the school. In 3rd grade I was given the option to skip a grade because I was a high level learner and I apparently fucked up the teaching curve, because they had to teach all the other kids in addition to giving me more challenging stuff, I declined this offer (they probably did not appreciate that!) So in 4th and 5th grade my teacher would give me about 3x as much work as the other students, and she instructed me to be the teacher of random topics and I absolutely hated that. I was doing calculus at just 9 years old. But it was also around this time that I started researching animal welfare topics ( I was 7 when I really got into animal rights) which led me to go vegetarian at 12 years old.
Then at 13 my parents went through a very shitty divorce and I still to this day do not have a relationship with my mother; and truthfully I dont ever see a time for reconciliation because we are just too different. But I also got my first job at 13 working in the cafeteria, and have worked at least 1 job since then.
At 15 I went vegan, and at 16 I developed anorexia. At 18 I was recovered. Those two years are a blur and to be honest I dont remember really anything, not that I’d want to honestly.
But at 18, I realized that happiness is a choice and we alone choose our emotions and our vices. I didn’t want to die young due to a mental illness I could stop; I still had the whole world to see! But it was that moment, and that dance with Death, that I realized how fragile life is and how I need to start living like its my last day because it very well could be.
I started to reach out to old friends who I shut out during that time, and started hiking and working out. And that made a world of a difference.
Then I started college a whole new person, I was able to befriend a ton of people and talk to strangers and it was great!
I also started traveling around the country a ton with my best friend at 19; we did an east coast road trip which was absolutely breathtaking and wondrous. Just after that, I took my first flight alone to visit my aunt. Then I won a 4 pack of Disneyland tickets from a contest I entered at Cinemark (it was crazy because it was a country-wide contest and I was an employee sooo….) and I went twice; once with my dad on Christmas day and once with a friend.
At 20, I went on a three country cruise with my best friend, then a two week vacation to Ireland.
At 21, I got into the business of solo traveling. I backpacked Europe, studied abroad and taught abroad in Korea.
At 22, I celebrated a whole decade of being vegetarian/vegan, as well as volunteering at an animal rescue in Thailand, then an animal rescue in Costa Rica. Then I went to Hong Kong as a spur of the moment wave of wanderlust. At 22 I graduated university with honors while working 2 jobs throughout. Then I went to Prague to celebrate. And now, at 22 I am moving to an entirely different non-english speaking country in another continent to live out the rest of forever teaching and traveling and touring around.
I have made friends and connections and helped animals around the world. My biggest accomplishment however, is my self growth. I was forced to realize early on the importance of self love. And that was critically important for my survival. I realized that you alone choose your fate, and you are the only one that gets to decide how your feel or react to things. If a person only gets 28,000 days of life, why would be consciously choose to spend any of them unhappy?
At 16 I was sad.
At 22, I am free;
I am accomplished;
I am strong;
and I will make the 28,000 day old Megan proud.