Two Years and Change

Two years and two months, that’s how long Thoreau was at Walden Pond. I’m not the first nor will I be the last Peace Corps Volunteer to see a correlation between what Henry David did and what many of us are doing in our service:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” he writes to start his book, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

We spend two years and three months of our lives facing life in a much more raw way than many Americans ever choose to. We do it deliberately because we believe in it and we hope to come out the other end wiser and better as people. In Peace Corps there is an incredible amount of time for introspection into who we are, what is important in life and what the world has to teach us if we are awake to it.

“I have never met a man who was quite awake,” Thoreau writes in his closing lines, “Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” The question is then, of course, how do we become awake?