Gently, like the Nile.

Sitting here drinking Sleepytime tea, in my sister’s hand-me-down Jimmy Carter shirt, with an atlas splayed open in front of me, listening to fine music, contemplating the fact that this mess of a room will be empty and deserted in three days, and I’ll be traveling east or west, depending on how the chips fall.

Something I have not been considering enough is how lucky I am to be in this situation. In one corner is a bustling, young, political city and an internship with an organization that informs and advises Congressmen and -women on foreign policy. I would see politics as it plays out, and be right in the center of the research as it’s happening… and on Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular, two of the most dynamic and relevant regions right now in terms of foreign policy.

In the other corner is the magnificently happy city of Boulder, a likely job in the most happenin’ bookstore, experience with a local NGO, my sister, a whole bevy of friends, an outdoor wonderland, and a university to explore. Different, but still very refreshing.

Early last year, when I was experiencing ritual bouts of panic regarding my BA thesis and its level of completeness, I took some sticky notes and wrote out three things: “Be grateful,” “Be calm,” and “Be optimistic.” They were very self-helpy, obviously, but unlike most self-help I’ve encountered, after I stuck them on my atlas and looked over at them every so often, the words started to sink in. I calmed down, I considered what I had to be grateful for, and I channeled my natural optimism. I’ve found that those three things are a pretty powerful cocktail for pulling you out of a mopey state.

My only real issue now is that of regret. And if I get the internship, with its length of ten weeks or so, there’s not much to really commit to. I really could have, or try, it all.

Uncertainty, though, is the least friendly state of being. And so I sip my tea and distract myself with my atlas, tracing roads in Asia from city to city, reading elevations, trying to remember the capitals. Places to go, eventually.

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