Springtime creeps through slowly, this year. The trees and plants bloom lushly, yet some chill lingers in the breezes that come across the coast. I waited, binoculars and Sibley guide in hand, for spring migrants that never showed up. I armed myself with Mr. Clean and Soft Scrub and Windex and attacked the flat surfaces of my apartment, scrubbing until rooms reeked of bleach and lemon. I rearranged my room, hung plants on my wall. Occupying myself with the small things, I passed the days.
Now it is Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer. Uniformed service women and men flood NYC for Fleet Week. My friends fire up their grills.
Work always slows a bit with the approach of summer, and it is a welcome reprieve from the tidal wave of March through May. Interns arrive in Tanzania soon; the APW staff becomes preoccupied with settling them in. Fiscal years are finished, websites updated with brand new corporate responsibility content, PDFs are uploaded. Last weekend as I rode the Staten Island Ferry with friends, I looked west toward the fading daylight and our lady Liberty and felt the merciless hook of wanderlust. Maybe I've been reading too much; books set in Beirut and Rome and Kerala aren't helping.
Next weekend, though, I'll be on the shores of Lake Geneva for a family reunion. It will be the first time in almost a decade that I have seen most of my dad's side of the family. My Aunt Lin is the only one who knows the Chin family history, who has visited the ancestral village of my father's parents. I do believe that we cannot truly know ourselves without knowing first where we came from. I also believe that all of us from immigrant families (no matter how far back) have something in us that seeks, that causes us to leave what is known and look for opportunities and adventures. I can't wait for the flight to Chicago, to alight in that glistening city by the shores of Lake Michigan, to be in in the circle of family.
A mentor recently suggested, "Live by wants, not by should-haves." Doing what I think I should be doing, or what other people think I should be doing, will never make me satisfied. I can pursue wholeheartedly the things that I want, to revel in the life that I have.