As Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer I have noticed people going through the usual reflections about their summers. When I think about my summer it almost feels like a surprise to remember that I was in Kenya. Now that I have fully adjusted to my life back in the U.S. it seems like I wasn’t even in Africa. Two and a half months ago, when I left, feels like a lifetime ago. Usually I feel like the summer was so short because it flies by, but this summer feels too monumental to have just been a few months in my life. Thinking about the apartment I stayed at in Kenya, foods I ate, and experiences I had, does not feel like remembering things that actually happened in my life. Is it because it was too short that it so quickly has escaped my reality? How do I retain the memories and positive feelings from that adventure?
My initial instinct is to try to have another adventure in the last few weeks before I start my job or even hope that one I don’t even know about is on the horizon. Is this the cure to the slipping away of my latest adventure memories? Is that why people get addicted to this lifestyle? The memories fade too fast and perhaps the only way to retain that excitement is to jump into another adventure.
I recently heard a story on NPR that the best way to spend money is on experiences. This is because experiences not only make you happy looking forward to them, during them, but also remembering them. With my Kenya adventure I am not sure if I would say I was “happy” looking forward to it, but I felt the mixture of excitement and anxiety, like the feeling you get waiting in line for a rollercoaster. While in Kenya I would say I was certainly happy, but the better word would be fulfilled. Finally, since being back I do get pleasure looking back upon my adventure, but the more time passes the more removed I feel from the experience. It does not seem like an experience that actually happened to me. I get the most joy from looking back on the person I was there.
I remember my nights in that large beautiful bedroom where I made myself feel at home and created my own bedtime routines. Perhaps it is not that I can ever channel the experiences I had, but I can channel the feelings and person I was. I was going to go out with S tonight, but all of the sudden I wanted that special feeling of having a night by myself. Watching bad TV (like I did on my computer in Kenya), writing on my blog, and just spending time with myself. Perhaps tomorrow I can try to remember the feeling of not knowing what to expect and letting things just happen without trying to control them. Each day could be a revival of Kenya Phoebe. The memories from this summer will fade, but I am realizing that all I can do is try to retain some aspects of my experience there. I can’t relive my summer in Kenya (and to be honest I probably wouldn’t want to), but what I can do is try to feel here in the U.S., the way I felt there, even if they feel like two completely separately worlds.