By Catherine Scallen, CVN Recruiter
To be honest, I didn’t think too much beyond completing my year of service. I was going to do this year of post-graduate service with Good Shepherd Volunteers in New York City, it was going to be fabulous, and then I’d return back to my regular life. It was to be just that: a year-long exploration and adventure, learning about myself, the bigger picture, and how the two coincided. I didn’t think I’d be a traveling nomad in the months following the end of my time in New York, and I certainly didn’t think I would find myself enthusiastically dancing the Irish reel with a group of recruiters in a small pub in Dayton, Ohio on a Wednesday evening in October. Which is all to say—I (naively) didn’t anticipate exactly what everyone tells you about a year of service: it changes the course of your life. How I didn’t put that together earlier is beyond me, because it seems so obvious now.
“Real life” is coming to the realization that plans will inevitably shift and shimmy around, and rolling with that is what living a real life means. Everyone has a different name for this: grace, sitting with open hands, the classic saying: ‘If you want to make God laugh, make plans.’ But it all boils down to the same thing: living your real life means pursuing your current path fully and enthusiastically, with the full and complete understanding that at any given moment it could shift shapes. The next thing you know, you’re sitting in a diner in Cincinatti, discussing Eskimo Olympics, traveling rubber ducks, and ancient mountain-top Greek monasteries with a group of people you hadn’t met before yesterday. Then you just smile, take a deep breath, and realize: this is real life!