I got another Peace Corps email yesterday listing upcoming recruiting events in the bay area, and as it always does, it made me stop and think. Every time I get those emails I feel a tiny pang in the pit of my stomach. Of what, I'm not quite sure... longing, regret? It's true that I can't quite help feeling a little like I sold out, taking my current job when I was finally right on the verge of applying.
But then I remind myself that it was the right thing to do. After all, if the whole application/interview process is supposed to take at least a year, there was no way I could realistically sit around waiting with no steady source of income and no foreseeable job opportunities. At least not without moving back home (and anyone who knows me knows that's not going to happen if I can help it). And more than that, as antsy as I sometimes get to just take off, deep down I think I knew I wasn't quite ready, that it just wasn't quite the right time.
But I still get that little pang when I see the emails, and I welcome it. Because it serves as a reminder that the opportunity is still out there if I want to pursue it in the future, a reminder to prepare myself for when it might be the right time. I'm still not sure if I would be qualified or if I'd even definitely want to do it, but it's something I've thought about ever since high school and I don't want to lose sight of the possibility. I kind of feel that if I don't at least apply and see where it takes me, I'll end up regretting the wasted opportunity.
The thing is, sometimes I get scared that I’ve become too comfortable, and too materialistic. Sometimes I stop and look around at my life and wonder where the need for all these things came from, and how it became such a natural feeling to want them, to feel like I need them even. How does want so easily become need in our society, when so many people around the world are living on so little?
And then it occurs to me that I don’t want to get caught in the trap so many fall into; I don't want to spend my life doing unfulfilling work and chasing things that in the end will never make me happy. Because the thing with material possessions is that there will never be enough, there can never be enough to bring happiness, and so the endless cycle plays on, the need for more, always more, in vain.
So the idea of just saying fuck it all, fuck all these things… to leave, for a little while, the privileged life I know and go off to some far away place where the people, in comparison, have nothing… to maybe be able to help them in some small way, and to perhaps learn something about myself and about life in return… well, you can see how that sounds pretty appealing.