the truth about fomo as a peace corps volunteer.

When I was growing up my parents were strict. I jokingly tell people that the pastor’s kids had more freedoms than my older brother and me. My parents had parental locks on MTV, BET, and VH1 (Larry figured out the code, P.S. Don’t use your children’s birthdays, hehe). Sleeping over at friends houses were few and far between and I knew nothing about sex until I was 14 or 15, since I was excused from the “Facts of Life” education at school. So, growing up it’s safe to say, I dealt with a lot of FOMO (failure of missing out) because in many cases I did.

As a college student, I made sure I never missed out on anything. Going to the library parties Wednesday through Saturday night, football games, university events, movies, Spring break trips, you name it, I was probably there. This trend continued through my 20s as my way of making up for lost time.

Then, I joined the Peace Corps.

27 months away from my close family and friends.

27 months of missing out.

Missing out of life events such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other significant milestones.

Besides many trivial things I am missing back stateside during my time in Namibia, these are real things. These are times I can’t get back or recreate. These are times I couldn’t prepare myself for prior to leaving for service, although I did try.

It has become so easy for me, and I am sure for other expats, to dwell on everything we’re missing at home. Recently, my friend, Carrie, challenged me to think of things I would be missing if I chose to not come to Namibia. With a little bit of thought, here I go:

    1. Making Lifelong Friends

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      I mean, I could make lifelong friends anytime or place, but in April of last year, I began a journey with volunteers who will always just “get it” and “get me”. Volunteers from all over the States who will appreciate what it takes to be a PCV. I have made friends who continue to challenge me, support me, and relate to me on a daily basis. In addition, I have gained friends from Namibia- from PC staff, colleagues, host families, and neighbors. Being a volunteer in Namibia means gaining a namily, that’s for sure.

    2. Learning a New Language and about a New Culture

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      Why would I want to re-learn French when I can learn Oshikwanyama? I learned a language I never even knew existed in a country I never knew existed before applying to Peace Corps. Each and every day I learn new things about a culture I would have never known about without taking the leap to travel outside the borders of my own.

    3. Traveling to New Countries

      Before Namibia, the only stamp in my passport was from Mexico (not even sure if that counts if you’re from Texas). I have never been an avid traveler, but by the end of my service, I will have a handful (or two) of stamps added to my collection.

    4. Discovering New Skills and Hobbies

      I taught myself to hand embroider. I’ve practiced more of my calligraphy and doodling (yes, there’s an art to doodling). I made my own sourdough bread and reignited my love of gardening. Yes, the life of a volunteer is hectic, but I also have a lot more downtime than I have ever had (or will ever have again). Watching movies and TV shows get old, so learning something new is never a bad idea.

    5. Strengthening Old Relationships

      Although I am thousands of miles away, there is something about distance that helps strengthen relationships. Not only in romantic relationships (but, those too). Being away from family and friends has allowed me to make more decisions about me, and what makes my life meaningful and fulfilling without other people’s anxieties and emotions influencing them. I have gained a greater sense of independence and realize more of my ability to do things (and do them well) on my own. Distance has made me better at planning communication with people back home while also determining which relationships have been worth sustaining in my time away.

    6. Increasing Knowledge and Skills for Future Endeavors

      Peace Corps, for me, offered an opportunity to change my career path while gaining two years of hands-on experience. I have also had the ability to acquire knowledge and refine skills that may make me more marketable post-Peace Corps. Granted, there is still plenty of time between now and COS (close of service), these are still important things to consider IMO.

    7. Realizing How Much “Grit” I Have and How to Survive on Less 

      Endurance. Passionate. Excellence. Courage. Perseverance.

      I don’t think I truly knew what grit was until I joined the Peace Corps. But, I’m positive that I have had in inter-weaved in my personal makeup my entire life. Many days as PCV are disappointing. Many days I must revisit the drawing board. In all of the unpredictability, these things are predictable. So, why do I do this? Why am I still here? Grit. That’s the only way to explain it. I have the desire and need to achieve and love the feeling of accomplishing a long-term goal. Yes, enduring a variety of hardships in my living and working environments may not be for the faint of spirit, but in a crazy way, having grit breathes life into me.

      Also, no promises that I won’t try to serve lentils 101 ways after Peace Corps, but living minimal really makes you think about what is important in life, and what brings true happiness (the secret is: it’s not things).

So, with all the FOMO, there is a joy to be gained. JOMO, if you will (I didn’t make this up). I’ve found joy in having time to get to know myself absent of fears and anxiety. Even if I am missing milestones back home, there are so many experiences I am gaining here. With more one year of service to go, I continue to look forward to the months ahead.

❤ Krystal

thank you for dumping me.

 

Thank you for dumping me.

Because when it comes down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to dump you.

We were great together. We had fun. We traveled. We loved. We started to dream and plan our future together.

In the end, you decided we were better off going our separate directions. And you know what?

Thank you.

I mean that in the most sincere and honest way ever.

It wasn’t fair of me to expect more than you could give.

I’m going to say this out loud. I have dad issues. They are buried so deep and instead of leaning on you as my partner in crime, friend, and lover, I relied on you to fix the hurt from a past that you couldn’t fix. That you shouldn’t fix.

It wasn’t fair to you. 

I gave up things that made me happy, and expected you to do the same. Instead of uniting to make the best two people, I expected each of us to sacrifice everything. We slowly began to suffocate. Our aspirations became a thing of yesterdays.

Emotions aside, I held on to us so hard, because everything around me was crashing down. Instead of being the one by your side or leading the way. I was the one behind you pushing. Ignoring wants, needs, and desires. Pushing. Forcing things in a time and place that neither of us were ready for at the time. Not together, at least.

So, in the upcoming months things are changing for both of us. Things that would have never come into fruition if we were together neither professionally and personally.

Sometimes there is no “closure”, you just move on. And you know what? That’s okay. To come out of this unchanged, would be a disservice to myself.

For the times we had together, I will cherish forever.

❤ Krystal

lets see how far i’ve come…

2013 has been a year of continuous growth for me. I’ve been through a lot of uphill battles and downhill slides this year, but continue to stand in awe of what has come to past this year. I’ve learned some new things, developed relationships, rekindled old friendships, moved on from unhealthy ones, ran a little, cried a little, forgave a lot, asked for even more forgiveness, and here I am.

When I created my 2013 goal list when started this blog last January, I had already set in mind things I knew for certain would be accomplished. Some things kind of fell to the wayside, but I will roll them over for 2014. For 2014, I will try to make my goals more measurable so that I can accomplish them to the best of my ability. In no way am I writing EVERY SINGLE ONE of my goals on this list. Some goals should be kept personal or shared on more of an intimate level. But, to the goals that I would like community accountability, I will share on MWA.

Twenty-Thirteen Goals:
Personal
Give time and money to those who need it more (I am almost embarrassed to have this as a goal, and even more embarrassed to consider checking this off. For me, I feel like I have been blessed with so much, and even in my times of struggle, I still have more than I need. I’ve had opportunities to give this year, and I think that God is continuing to test me in this area in my life each and every day. One valuable thing I learned this year: Some people spell the word “love,” T-I-M-E. Just spending time with someone can be a reflection of how much you care. So, for 2014, I will continue to show my love through time.)

Be more understanding (This is an understatement. For 2013, I tried to do a better job at relating more with people instead of expecting people to think and act like me. I’ve tried to take more time to listen than respond. If we’re honest with ourselves, there is something to learn from everyone.)

Stop jumping to conclusions about things (Still working on this)

Move closer towards professional goals (Back to school, back to school. Although challenging at times, especially after sitting through  my first semester of A&P, I have to continue  reminding myself it’s temporary and to stay strong. It’s going to be so worth it in the end.)  

Move closer to home (See, I told you! Some things had been decided before even writing my 2013 goals. In November of 2012, I had approached a few friends and family members about my thoughts of moving back to Texas. At the time, it was really nothing more than that. I began searching for jobs only to become discouraged that I would be moving back only to find another desk job to hate. Then, one day while listening to The Rich Roll podcast, I began jotting down notes on nutrition and several schools offering nutrition courses. I felt like I couldn’t write fast enough. And there you have it folks -the beginning of my journey into the world of dietetics.)

Read at least 12 non-fiction books (So, do my textbooks count? Can I count half-read books as a whole book? Needs improvement.)

Read my Bible or start (and finish) a Bible reading plan (Needs improvement.)

Volunteer (Check.)

Relationship
Schedule (at least) one date night a month (Discovered that dates are actually enjoyable when 1) The date likes you back 2) The date pays. Okay, okay. I look forward to dates with Josh. He always makes me smile and truly cares (or does a fabulous job pretending.) He’s the best!!!! You’ll hear lots about him in 2014.)

Have lunch or dinner plans with good friends once a month (Sometimes I take friendships for granted, and sometimes I’m just lazy. It’s too easy to be tired from work and only want to curl up in a ball and sleep. But, scheduling, in advance, a date on the calendar gives me fellowship to look forward to after a long week. I thank God for the friendships that I have in my life. At the end of the day, when everything could go wrong, I have an amazing support system and I wouldn’t replace that for the world. People are built for relationship, and I need to not take that for granted.)

Travel
Colorado (Check.)
Austin, Texas (Check.)
Las Vegas – GTC conference in April (Nope.)
Puerto Rico – Arbonne incentive trip in October (Nope.)
Missouri (Nope.)
North Carolina (Nope.)
Pennsylvania (Nope.)

Finances
Pay down debt (tackle student loan) (Work in progress.)

Fitness
Hit Goal Weight (Once I started to get closer to my “goal” weight, I realized I didn’t really like how my body was looking. I was so stuck on being a certain weight, I didn’t really factor in anything else. This year, as I continue to work on my fitness, I will experiment again with how I want to look and feel.)

Run/Swim/Bike 2013 miles this year (Drum roll please, 572.47 miles. It’s not 2013 miles. It felt like 2013 miles. This  is a rough estimate because I wasn’t very organized in recording my distances. I wrote them down on anything I had available at the time, and some miles (not many) weren’t recorded. In saying all this, I could have ran, swam, and biked the distance from OKC to DFW 3.71 times in 2013. That’s pretty cool.)

Train and complete a 1/2 Ironman distances triathlon (Sidelined this summer due to knee injury. Although, I think this will in the future, it won’t be in 2014.)

Nutrition
NSNG (Been off track for the majority of the year, especially after I moved and started school, time to incorporate this again)

Remember to take my vitamins (It’s clearly a miracle that I can somehow get a 30-supply of vitamins to last over 6 months. Does anyone has suggestions of remembering to take vitamins?)

Get enough sleep and drink enough water (There we go with measurable goals again. Also, the irony that it’s after midnight as I type this.)

No fast food in 2013 (Is anyone else still laughing about this? I’m human. I guess, I think I’m not sometimes.)

Here’s to 2014!!! New Goals here!

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