(Distant thoughts from March)
The world slips between fantasy and reality more often than we know, every day. One day you’re slathering butter on toast, fending off the hungry glares of your ungrateful cat and waiting for your delicious and delightfully unhealthy Spam to finish frying, dreaming of seeing some part of the world beyond your water-stained apartment, and the next day, your dream is reality. You’ve been accepted into a program through which you will begin your first steps to journeying the world.
It’s real, but it doesn’t feel real, even though I’ve completed every pre-departure requirement, made all my payments, signed all my signatures. It’s as real as it can legally be, yet I sit here pestering my ungrateful cat as if it’s any other day, back when reality was still fantasy. It doesn’t feel real, but in the distance I see it stampeding towards me. Its vanguard, the empty horde of time between now and July, still feels so massive, even though, sitting amidst its onslaught, I can already see the last line of attack. I can already feel the ground quaking beneath the footsteps of this fantasy become reality. Yet all that roils in my chest is excitement. Excitement to face the unknown. Excitement to leave behind my ungrateful cat (in the care of those she loves more than me), and find my place in a world wider than my water-stained apartment.
But excitement forgets my fear. It’s a fear I don’t have yet, but I foretell its growth as the departure date grows nearer. I need to purchase flight tickets soon. I fear doing this. I need to figure out how to move stuff out of my apartment. I fear doing this. I need to make sure all the money I need will be ready. I fear doing this. Researching international cellular things. I fear it. Anything that makes this real. Fear. But why? I look at my ungrateful cat, and she trots through every day fearlessly. Her greatest fantasy is her next treat, which she’ll accept without gratitude. Why are we so different (minus species)? Well, I’m grateful. My ungrateful cat would never be so excited and thankful to have the opportunity to study in London. My ungrateful cat would never be so dedicated to making the most out of travelling to London. My ungrateful cat also doesn’t have any responsibilities. I do. All those fears I mentioned—fear of responsibility.
This trip presents me with some of the greatest responsibilities I’ve ever faced, but facing responsibility is crucial for independence. Today I conquer one responsibility. Tomorrow I’ll conquer another. Every day London will become more real, and, as I tackle these responsibilities, my fears will dissolve. But I’m not yet ready. I live like I lived before, shamefully unimpacted by any of this, even though I know I will be soon enough. I cook my breakfast, I chase my ungrateful cat, I write my stories and procrastinate on writing my stories, and I imagine the thrill of adventure in London. It’s all very unreal. It’s fantasy. But not for long. Soon I will be ready, and I can’t procrastinate on that. We can’t be like our ungrateful cats.