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Thu, Feb. 2nd, 2006, 01:49 pm
I’m Not A Joiner

As I grow older, I think I’m getting grumpier.

I love to travel, and I’m always on the lookout for excuses to get out of town.  Traveling for free is even better, particularly now that I’m an impoverished grad student.  So you’d think that I’d be salivating at the Crimson Summer Exchange program - a chance to spend a month in China, all-expenses-paid, with the option to fly into Hong Kong as early in the summer as you like.  I’ve always wanted to go to China (and regretted not going when my parents went several years ago), and I love to teach so the work wouldn’t be too onerous.

Nevertheless, I find myself looking at the site and grumbling.  “I’ve lived on my own for six years; they want me to go back to sharing a dorm room?”  “What about these mandatory social events?  Sounds like a thinly disguised bus tour.”  “Is anyone over the age of 21 actually going to apply?  Most of my friends are younger than me, but I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to college.”

It’s always strange when I look at my nearly-thirty-year-old self and realize that I’m not the person I used to be ten years ago.  At 19, I would already have the application done.  These days, though, I’ve got other priorities.  It’s not that I don’t still want adventure, excitement and travel.  It’s just that these days, I’m pretty sure I can make it happen on my own terms.

The current adventure-and-excitement plan, by the way, is to take a year off after finishing my doctorate, and sail around the Mediterranean with my boy while writing my first(-ish) book.  I’ve got a couple of years to plan; so far we’ve got a savings account labeled “boat” and a dream itinerary.  And instead of going to China, I’m going to take sailing classes this summer.

My life, my terms.  Crimson Summer Exchange can keep their mandatory social events to themselves.