Letting Go of Experiences, Not People

Since preparing to leave Ghana, returning home, doing Christmas and New Years, beginning school and thinking about my future…I’ve been busy but never quite satisfied.

I’ve been happy at times… I’ve been happy for days at a time. But never completely, wholly satisfied.

My natural wonderistic (yes I made that word up) mind can’t help but wonder why. Why it’s harder for me than everyone else. Why I’m here and not there. Why here isn’t more like there.


I’ve never quite felt comfortable in clean spaces. It’s scientifically shown, even down to the molecules within an atom, that it’s easier for things to be messy. It’s an exhale of energy…and these things need an input of energy in order to become clean again. So when people gawk at my experiences and comment on how they’re sure that I “appreciate more of what I have here”… I can’t help but nod and smile while desperately wanting to get away.

The Sad truth is, where most people are thinking “Ghana is so dirty”, I’m thinking “America is so clean”.

And I never quite wanted to be in clean.

I remember once when I was around the age of twelve I went to the beach for a week on a family vacation. When we came home, I remember being deeply sad…crying from the depths of my stomach as if there was no hope for me. It was as though the world around me was falling and I could feel the pieces hitting my arms, back, and stomach. All simply because I wanted to be back at the beach in the happiness feeling. I wanted to stay there, in those moments with my family, forever.

“You don’t like change” my mom said to me at this time, she was referring to my Asperger’s diagnosis. Although those words seem to make sense on paper, internally that reasoning does nothing for me.

So, over the span of a few days, twelve year old Emily got over it and moved on. However, in present time, when I find myself spiraling out of control and the world is spinning around me and I can’t physically get the tears out of my stomach fast enough… I think about this time when I was twelve years old. It’s the last time I remember having a similar feeling.

I don’t want to forget Ghana. I don’t want to forget it so much that I torture myself with it. It appears as: “I can’t forget this or this basically never happened”. As if these memories were a really good dream I just woke up from.

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If we had the best experience of our lives in a dream that we forgot 12 hours after waking up, would we be better off? Or would we rather remember and know we could never get back to that dream again?

Here’s what I know:

  1. I’ve documented through pictures, my private journal, and this blog, multiple experiences of my time in Ghana.
  2. I couldn’t tell you anything I did on that family vacation when I was 12, but I could tell you who I had an amazing time with.

Don’t you love it when something reminds you of a past happy moment? Don’t those moments usually appear for you when you’re with the people in said memories?

It’s natural psychology that we can’t remember every detailed experience of our lives at every moment…but we can be easily reminded. Those people who shared in our happiness and joy… they can bring it out in us again.

So maybe I’ll lose some experiences from Ghana…but I’ll never lose the people. And I’m O.K with that.


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Maybe if the past we love is maintained through the people around us…wouldn’t our future be also? Maybe we shouldn’t live life for the experiences.

Maybe we should live life for the people.

That’s how I’m choosing to live my life, and I’m starting to feel satisfied.


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