Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Striving to Untether Ourselves

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

For a girl whose identity thrives on evanescence, this question is music to my ears. For me, it’s a lifestyle, sewn into my roots by capricious parents whose home was the road. Back then, I was a participant in their incessant relocation, and begrudgingly so. Every two years, I adjusted to a new school system, a new social system or a new weather system. Alaska, Florida, Montana, Virginia, Hawaii — the list goes on. The two years would allot me just about enough time to unpack, introduce myself, pack up again and say goodbye.

Certainly, it was an acquired taste. Travel — especially long term — imposes an isolation that necessitates our most adaptive natures. For me, it encouraged a personality of independence and self-sufficiency. Even more valuable were the multitudes of people I encountered, so colorfully variant in their individuality. So then, why doesn’t everyone else live that way?
Though in my younger years I was naive to the alternative, since I’ve been at Georgetown, I have begun to understand the more cyclical lifestyle approach that fosters advantages of its own. For one, it establishes a setting, a constant upon which we interpret and understand the variables in life. It grants us the freedom to cultivate enduring relationships, or at least the time to try. But we all eventually graduate from Georgetown, and so imposed on us will be the obligation to make the first adult decision of our lives: “Where do I go from here?”

The choice is daunting, and for many of us, the outcome will play a pivotal role for our futures. Opportunity will beckon, and our hearts will tug us obstinately in different directions. And yet even though our freedom is ripe, the sprouting of obligation is as inconspicuous as it is insidious: You get a job, then a dog, a significant other, a lease, a better job (with benefits), a child, a house — and in all the commotion you may not even register the tightening tendrils of liability around your ankles. And thus, you are rooted.

There are still more doors open to us than we can fathom, but some of those doors close if we wait too long, and others lock behind us as we walk through. Some paths might promise success. There are some that ensure tranquility. Others still which promise nothing more than a good story to tell afterwards. Whatever the route I wend, a simple and unwavering aim endures: to live a fulfilling life.

To be happy and successful requires more than simple elbow grease; it is a blossoming, an upward and outward growth to our matured forms. I’m not saying jump ship and swim to Cancun. Rather, there is a way to establish balance between the search for novelty and the gradual institution of routine.

When we live a patterned existence, we stop processing or remembering periodic activities, such as the routine drive to work, another morning lost in its own shuffle.

Now and then, I grow restless. Partially, it is a product of the wanderlust that was disseminated to a young pup by her pack of frontier hunters. More than that, though, it is that I now have familiarity with the urge myself. It grows first as a curiosity, then before long, it metastasizes to this extensive, immutable fascination. Often times it is a place, but more generally it is a concept that commands my attention. But back when I was a child, I had no say in where I was taken to, skipping what was arguably the most profoundly rewarding element of the entire experience. As my father called it, it was the “anticipatory delight.”

I know that one day I will tether myself to obligation, but part of this balancing act is learning to live in the present. There is an unmistakable irony to it: You consume the majority of your adolescence pushing for acceptance to your dream university, you devote your collegiate life to the prospect of a respectable career, you dedicate your paychecks to educate your kids and they lather, rinse and repeat. When everybody lives for tomorrow, who lives for today?
So, take those chances of yours and shelve them if you want, but Drake counted right when he said you only live once. That foreignness is out there. It waits for me, with a magnetism that is authentic and palpable, and I embrace it. I want to embody it, to become it. Because I know what people mean when they say I’m not “from around here.”

To me, it says, “You’re different, and I can tell.”

CELESTE CHISHOLM is a junior in the College.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *