There have been more tears this week than I care to admit.
It would be easy to blame the tears on the Connecticut tragedy, as that truly did upset me on a very deep level, but that was really only one dip in the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been riding lately. The end of the year is drawing nearer, and before everyone disperses for the holidays my friends and I have been getting in the last of our celebrations, reflections on 2012, and projections for what the new year will bring. And with those conversations inevitably arises the subject of my upcoming departure to South Korea.
For a long time the date always seemed so far in the future, almost as if it would never arrive. It felt like we had forever. But time has a way of accelerating when you least want it to, and I am now facing the reality that I will be leaving Santa Barbara in a little over a month. I should feel excited; I’ve gone to great lengths to put this plan in motion and it was entirely my own idea, after all. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it all, particularly due to the mere fact that it’s not actually set in stone yet.
“Umm, what? But haven’t you told your job you’re leaving and quit your gym membership and set a date to move out of your house?”
The government organization in South Korea that handles the hiring of ESL teachers has accepted me and received all of my paperwork, but that doesn’t mean I actually have a job yet. They now have to forward my documents to schools in the areas I’ve requested and shuffle the papers around until a school approves and accepts me.
Theoretically, there is no reason why I shouldn’t receive a job offer, but there is always room for errors and surprises. I was told it could be the end of January–just weeks before I would need to be in Korea–before I am officially offered a position. The Korean government apparently doesn’t give a pile of kimchi about the fact that I need to get the rest of my life in order to prepare for this little move I’m making.
So for now, I am stuck in limbo, and it sucks. I see now why some view purgatory as a state worse than hell.
I am doing my best to proceed as if everything is a go, but the lack of surety about it all makes it difficult to mentally prepare. It doesn’t help that my best friends fought back tears this week while we talked about plans for my going away party, that this weekend marked my last aerial performance, or that I’m still trying to find a new (temporary) home for my kitties. As I write this, I’m sitting in Starbucks doing my best not to dissolve into a sobbing heap of coffee and reduced fat muffin.
I’ve let the tears flow, but found myself wondering why. Why am I so upset about this new adventure? And if the idea of it makes me so sad, why am I doing it? Sometimes I question if I’m making a huge mistake. I’m leaving behind a secure job, a loving group of friends, a hobby I’m passionate about, a beautiful city, and an overall pretty high quality life; I know that taking a risk to open a new chapter of life is something I need to do, but what if it all amounts to nothing?
Most of all, I can’t help but ask myself despairingly, “Why can’t I just be normal?”
Why can’t I be happy with a 9-5 and working my way up the corporate ladder? Strangely, it’s something I used to dream of. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it–it’s just that when I envision that scenario for myself, I feel empty.
Why can’t I be happy with the typical American dream of job+marriage+house+kids? I actually thought I was on that track with my ex-boyfriend; then, on the day he ended it, I stood there like a scene from Inception, watching the world and time and all my understanding of reality crumble around me in a deafening roar. Maybe someday I’ll thank him for giving me the opportunity–or forcing me, really– to reevaluate and rebuild my life. I have not simply redecorated the interior; instead I’ve torn down the walls and am slowly, brick by brick, relaying an entirely different foundation.
I only hope that once it’s built it’s as sturdy and beautiful as I envision.
Regardless of my doubts and questions and near emotional break downs, I am strapping on my boots and fording the river, Oregon Trail style. Deep down, I am excited about my upcoming adventures and I know that once get out of limbo and actually make it to Korea I will have the time of my life. While I will miss my family, friends, kitties, and good cheese (yes, that’s top on the priorities list), I have faith that I am going down the road that I was meant to take. It may be a longer, windier, and more unconventional route than many others’, but I shouldn’t be surprised; for better or worse, I’ve always had a tendency to march to my own beat. I believe in my dreams and know that this journey is going to lead me somewhere incredible. Thank you to everyone who supports and believes in me, even when my crazy dreams bring us to tears.
‘“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”–Eleanor Roosevelt