something extreme

This Monday, which I have off thanks to the holiday, began well. Waking up early and rested in addition to not having to go to work is such a calming start to the week. I had my favorite tea. I made almost-burned toast and peanut butter. I decided to take a trip to the grocery store because we didn't have much food in the house. I like the grocery store. I like loitering in the aisles. Possibilities on a mundane level. But something happened to change my mood.

On the way to the store I listened to the NC State radio station, hoping to hear some new tunes. During a break they played a public service announcement for the Peace Corps. It was well-done, intended I suppose to get people thinking of all the more adventurous things they could be doing. Meeting nomads in the Gobi Desert or teaching computer skills to young Armenians. The Peace Corps motto, "life is calling," echoed through my Civic as the spot ended and the station went back to some kind of harsh punk that really wasn't very good.

Suddenly the excitement I'd generated at the thought of my impending grocery store visit seemed ridiculous. When I was in high school my initial desires to join the Peace Corps were dashed as I contentedly engaged myself with social life and the prospects of college in Boston here in the States. The appeal of being in a foriegn place - even one that needed me - faded as I realized I just liked the idea of doing something different in a general sense. It wasn't that I wanted to shirk adventure, but more that I was discovering what my kind of adventure was. I wanted to be a writer.

Therefore this public service announcement did not send me back into some adolescent daydream of jetting off to Africa. I'm over that. But I did emit an "oh shit," as the realization sunk heavily into my being, rendering the happy mood I had sustained all morning lifeless.

The realization, of course, is that I want to do something. I want to do the 26-year-old version of the 12-year-old Peace Corps dream.

I do a lot of things. I work. I write for a newspaper and I like that. I walk my dogs. I follow politics. I'm on an committee for a non-profit. And none of these are the thing. Important fulfilling things? Yes.

I talked to my brother about this recently. He is now in a little village in Italy on a study-abroad program. Before he left we talked about him going there - how he was excited and knew it would be good for him. I talked him about how I was feeling and that maybe I needed a second job or to take a class.

No, he said, you need to do something extreme.

I explained to him then that I couldn't just leave. There is a boy here, living in a house with me, that I love. There are two dogs, and various people and routines I've gotten used to, and what's more, am happy to have in my life.

No, he said again, not like that. Not like moving away or anything like that, he explained. In the rest of our philosophic discussion, I gained that what he meant if not so much put into words was that I needed to figure out what this "extreme" thing was for myself.

So after the grocery store and memories of this conversation, I decided that worry is not the correct emotion to bring to this situation. Maybe it isn't going back to school or a new job that I'm looking for. I have always said I would like to write a book. Putting a name on it is a good start - what I want to extreme something.