There.

If I ever have to make the choice, I choose Africa.

The lives I envy aren’t those of the women clinging to the ladder, stretched taught between the rungs of yesterday and tomorrow. The lives I envy are those of beauty balanced steadfast in the moment. With a hand in the flowers, a babe on the hip, bare feet in the mud, and head thrown back laughing at the sky. The women who are constantly dancing, whose rhythm is contagious, and who chase the adventure with more energy than most can muster.

I could stay in school forever. Invigorated by the passive acquisition of knowledge. I could pass four more years reading and writing and building my brain, and I wouldn’t be unhappy. And I’d get a good job in the end. And maybe I’d taste the top of the ladder. I could that. I might do that.

But that’s just my head talking. It’s my brain tempted by the sweet stimulating high of academia. But it’s far from my heart. I want to head south. To Chile or Argentina or South Africa or Spain. I want to find a little place with a big garden. I want a vast sky and a foreign language and a dirt road and a cowboy hat. I want my pants rolled up and my toes in the mud, and I’d certainly be ok with a little more dirt under my nails. I’m ready to do things. To chase what we can. To see who we are. To live into and up to who we can be. And to build something bigger than me.

And that’s not here. Here’s come and gone and will come back again and we’ll chase it down when it does. But right now, it’s over there. Across that other horizon, in that other hemisphere. Where I can always hear the music and the hat fits right in.

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