“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein
As usual it’s been quite a while since I last posted. At this point I should probably stop prefacing entries with this statement as it’s become way more of the rule rather than the exception. I had kind of sworn off keeping a blog after leaving Jamaica – a travel blog is one thing but I felt like spewing my thoughts on my mediocre life would be a little gratuitous and quite frankly…boring. But, as I’ve said over and over I think there’s definitely a therapeutic aspect to writing – and with all the changes going on in my life recently I’m pretty sure I can use all the help I can get…hence this post. It’s been a couple of months now since getting back from Jamaica. I won’t bore you with the timeline of events during that chunk of time – mainly because there isn’t that much to tell – but I guess to sum it up, a lot of things have gotten easier and a lot of things have gotten much more complicated and hard in new and different ways. It’s not much of a surprise and it’s how most difficult decisions work out I suppose… whenever there are things to be weighed and considered and a lot is at stake, it’s kind of inevitable that something is going to be lost no matter what decision you reach – and with additional unanticipated repercussions to boot.
Life in the Peace Corps was pretty straightforward. That might seem pretty contradictory to what I’ve said in the past (see previous 10 posts of me griping about how complex Peace Corps is) but in the sense of your daily obligations, your source of income, where you are physically going to be for a specified amount of time – your life in Peace Corps is pretty clear-cut. There are definitely decisions to be made and a plethora of unique and unusual obstacles to overcome, but because the job is so all encompassing, it makes your world pretty confined and defined…and there is something strangely comforting about the raw and basic way in which you live in this vacuum of space and time. This is a big part of what made the process of deciding to leave so difficult – because no matter how hard a time I was having, this was the bubble of people and routines that I had grown accustomed to living in – and it was where I had told myself I was supposed to be for the next year of my life.
Clearly, the bubble has popped and the past couple of months have definitely felt anything but defined. The world is now my oyster… and it’s pretty damn terrifying. I did the whole interview process thing – got a job that I certainly enjoy but would not necessarily categorize as something I’ve dreamed of doing. Relationships have been ended, for the better for both parties but still with poignantly painful moments and challenges to this day. I’ve moved back home – reconnected with many people and unfortunately fallen out of touch with many others. I’ve gotten a handle on many emotions I struggled with while I was in Jamaica – while falling prey to a whole new set of others. There are many comforting things that the familiarity of home offers…but also just as many anxieties and a lengthy history of past issues and stresses just waiting to be triggered.
Tough decisions are pretty inevitable in life – and some people face a lot more than others. But twenty-somethings face an unusual amount of these decisions in an unusually short amount of time – and at an age when you aren’t necessarily the person you ultimately will (or want) to become. With all this change and chaos going on around us, it can be easy to cling to things that are comfortable and familiar despite our best judgment. And when something is going to be lost no matter which path you choose, many people choose the known and visible road – regardless of how downhill its slope may be – if the destination of the other path is out of view. I think that this is and will be my biggest struggle both now and for quite a few years to come – this disconcerting uneasiness and restlessness that comes from never being quite sure if what you’ve done or plan to do is the right thing. Agonizing over the balance between what you want, aspire for and feel you are worthy of – and what is practical and/or realistic for you in any number of ways. And the terrifying knowledge that any movement you make – no matter how seemingly small – could be the one touch that sends your spinning mass of clay horribly off kilter and fumbling awkwardly to the ground.
My life is good right now. I wake up every day and drive to work with a lightness I haven’t felt for a long time. I let myself get lost in the rhythm of the blasting music, singing along shamelessly as the sunrise begins to wash over me… and things feel right. A lot of things are still very hard – imminent changes and decisions to be made can weigh heavily at times… but they are not a daily burden. I’m battling new feelings of solitude very different than those I faced in the Peace Corps – readjusting and still having to remind myself regularly that certain changes were and will be for the best. I haven’t quite gotten over some of the things and people that I have lost recently… but I am basking in the friendships of the amazing people that are here with me and thankful for those that have been rekindled. Things are definitely not perfect – I’m not as fulfilled as I’d like to be and my legs are not nearly as sturdy as I hope them to be someday. But I’d like to think I’m at least starting – however cautious and unsure my footing may be – to journey down that unknown path, and trusting myself enough to believe it could lead somewhere pretty great.