In the face of unprecedented pressure to succeed, today’s young adults have less time than ever to form their identities and discover who they want to be. The narrow, sheltered world of childhood can only prepare you for so much and offers little chance for kids to expand their perspectives and nourish their souls. All of this is why I’ve decided to take a gap year before I join ISIS.
As I see it, I’ll have the rest of my life to concentrate on violently establishing a universal caliphate. Why not have a little fun first?
People might look at my desire to take a gap year as a sign I’m not fully dedicated to jihad. But it’s quite the contrary. I just want to be prepared to take on all of the things I’ll be learning. When I sit down to learn to field-strip my AK-47, I don’t want to be daydreaming of what it’d be like to walk along the White Cliffs of Dover. I want to know what it’s like firsthand.
Do I want to establish Allah’s kingdom on Earth? Of course I do. But I can’t think of a better way to prepare to destroy every country in the European Union than to travel through them with nothing but a change of clothes and a few Kerouac novels in my backpack. Being able to take in the collection at the Louvre with my own eyes will not only be a mind-opening experience; but it will also help me prepare for the work I’ll be doing with ISIS destroying priceless works of art around the world.
ISIS is a demanding environment, and once you start there’s no vacation.
By the time I don my first balaclava to make my first beheading video, I want to be sure all my wanderlust is out of my system. I want my feet to be callused by weeks on the Appalachian Trail. I want the sights, sounds, and smells of the back alleys of Laos to be fresh in my memory. I see all of these young kids leaving high school early so they can join ISIS, and I’ve got to wonder if they don’t end up regretting joining before having a chance to get out in the world. That’s not me. I want to spread my wings and fly before I start my lifelong commitment to the destruction of infidels.
It’s not that I don’t care about impaling the heads of every Western leader on a flagpole flying the black flag of ISIS. It’s that I want to have lived my best life when I finally do.
ISIS is a demanding environment, and once you start there’s no vacation. You complete your training and then you’re off to the rat race fighting a guerrilla campaign against the Syrian government. I’m going to have the rest of my life to sleep in the networks of interconnected tunnels my fellow ISIS recruits and I dig for shelter from airstrikes. Before that, I want to sleep in shacks on the beaches of Phuket, on old couches in dingy hostels in Eastern Europe, and in hammocks in the mountains of Utah. There’s no doubt that joining ISIS is where I want to end up, but I want my path to getting there to be my own.
ISIS will always be there waiting for me when I’m ready. Sooner or later, we’re all going to die in the name of global conquest. We might as well live the lives we want before then.