Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prose and Cons: A Two-Part Discourse

I get to do some amazing things in my life.  I know some incredible people.  I've had some fantastic opportunities.  But I'm also doing some things things that scare me quite a lot.  I live by the philosophy "life begins at the end of your comfort zone."  I even have it written above the light-switch in my room so I am reminded every single day that the scary things are usually the most important and rewarding.  The feeling of standing on the other side of something you were scared to do but did anyway is unbeatable.  There is no better way to see that you can do incredible things in life than to put your fears in front of you and growl at them until they back down.  warning: that feeling is also a little like crack.  Once you start, you end up on the street with nothing to your name except the desire to feel that way again.  Here are a few things that are kind of freaking me out at this moment.

Writing my thesis

No biggie.  Just the biggest part of my degree.  I need to spend hours and hours at the library researching, writing, and editing.  I should be there two days a week, most evenings, and weekends.  But I have been saying yes to too many other things and my time is once again not my own.  In a few weeks it will be even less my own so I have to knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it so I have some time for other things/people that are quite important to me.

Missing my friends  

Three times this summer I had the joy of being snotty and teary-eyed in public trying to say goodbye to some of them.  Ya'll are so fucking awesome!  I have never known such an incredible group of kind, honest, generous, inspiring, sweet, intelligent, funny funny funny people.  You are irreplaceable.  I miss the f**k out of you.  Yep.  That's fook.  That's a whole lot of missing!!!  I don't know how I was lucky enough to meet you.  I frequently have minor panic attacks that you will realize I am not nearly as cool as you seem to think and you will move on to much better friends (I can guarantee they won't rub your head as well though, just remember that!).  These are at least more rational than the panic attacks I have when I tweak out thinking about how lame my life would be if I had NOT met you.  Yeah, I totally do that and have to remind myself, "self!  it's ok!!!  you did meet them!!"  I have no idea where the UK-yous are spending their time.  Surely there are people here whose perfect evening involves Franz, a bbq, book/movie/video-game/tv-show discussions, puns, accents, candy, and laughing until they think they might have peed a little.  I am just starting to discover some of them now and that's been cool.  But I miss you all like crazy!!!

Missing my family

Ditto on the amazing people front.  It's been hard not to be able to weasel my way into fully-subsidized Saturday-morning breakfasts.  I miss my parents every time I go to the B&Q (read Home Depot).  I always feel like I should be going home to work in the yard all day, followed by a bbq by the pond in the evening.  Every. Single. Time.  Sometimes I can't even go there without crying a little.  The hardware store, people!!!  What the hell is wrong with me?!  I also miss talking to my sister every week.  I miss working on projects at the house.  I miss evening picnics up the canyon on a warm autumn night.  Walking in the river, playing in the dirt.  That one has been seriously on my mind lately.  I get really scared that I will miss out when something big happens in my family's lives (a surprise marriage, for example.  Yep Cam, I am going to keep bugging you about that one until we can finally go to Fiji to celebrate!).    

Being a little lonely 
When I moved I assumed that homesickness would feel like a part of me was gone.  Like a breakup.  There would be a desperate desire to be back in the place where I feel safe and comfortable, where nothing changed.  The "home" part made me think it would be for the geographic location.  As it turns out, it is for the people - as evidenced by the previous two points.  For some reason at 1pm nearly every day I have the urge to text/call at least one of you to see what's up.  I'm a religious keeper-in-toucher and try to check in with everyone as regularly as possible.  The only problem is that you are all sleeping when I want to chat.  Stop that!  All those texts and emails obviously still have to be sent and are therefore channeled into the much smaller group of people I know here.  I am sure by now they all wish I could spread the love across a wider population.  Luckily, letters can be moved around the world while you sleep so maybe if you are lucky you will wake to one in your mailbox. :)

Making decisions about which continent I will be living on in six months

Quite possibly the most anxiety-ridden aspect of my life.  Having no idea where I will land is freaking me out.  However, the openness is tempting.  I could do anything really....

Onto the last thing I'm scared of.

Giving up before I start

Ok, so we have firmly established some things that scare me.  With the previous issues, I have no choice though.  I live far away from people I love dearly but I don't have to make the choice every day.  I made it on August 1st, 2010 (although it took me until 3am that night to actually let go, feel my stomach free-fall, and try not to go back on my plan; and let's not talk about when my dad dropped me off at the airport.  Quite possibly the scariest moment of my life).

With my thesis, I also have no choice.  I mean I could just not do it, of course, but how lame is that?  "Yeah, I studied for my Master's for a year.  What's my degree in?  Oh no, I didn't actually finish.  I got to the last bit and was really freaked out so I just stopped."

The goals I struggle with are the ones I have to make a choice about on a more regular basis.  Predictably, these are the ones that are about me doing something I desperately want to do for myself (getting fit for my photo shoot, for example).  It happens often that I really want to do something but will be asked to give that time/energy to something/someone else.  I get that pit in my stomach when I say yes and then think, "right.  awesome.  now i've given up on my chance to EVER do that.  one more thing I can't say i've done and, far worse, will have to say I could have done but didn't!"

I enjoy doing things to make other people feel happy but if it's for me I play by different rules.  That's not ok!  It's not selfish to want to make the most of my life.  Why should I say everyone else's happiness/comfort is more important than my own?  If I view everyone as equals in this wonderful life, why do I give myself the shaft?  That's not very equitable!  To support and prove this, I will share a quote Alex told me recently.
"Rather than rocking the boat, by being who you are you actually give other people permission to do the same" ~ Lisa Firestone
For someone who wants to do as much for other people as possible, that quote is really big.  It is true too, not just a justification for selfishness.  The more you respect yourself as equal and give yourself the same courtesy and care you would other people, the more those people will feel confident to do those things for themselves.  It's a lovely loop of happiness and encouragement.

What I really want to do is travel on a big trip to some places on my list.  I've done an epic trip before but that was a much safer version of what I want.  That time, my food, housing, transportation and basically everything else was covered.  All I was responsible for was getting us from one place to another.  I want to do it again. This time the scary way.  I want to not know where I am going.  I want to do some of it alone.  I want to do it somewhere far far away.  I am scared about money.  I am scared about leaving London for a few months just when I should be getting a job sorted out.  I am scared that the few people I do have in London will forget about me in the meantime and I will have to build a social life all over, once again.

But more than anything, I am scared that I will push this opportunity to the side, yet again, in the face of "rational, reasonable, adult" thoughts.  I worry that a visa-sponsored job opportunity will arise and I will want to take it because it will give me something secure and safe.  But I might not have the opportunity to do this again.  What job would ever let me take a few months off just because I want to?  The timing is kind of great in so many ways and yet the scary parts try to hold me back.

No more!!!  

Tonight Aby and Yafit are coming for movie night (a weekly tradition at my place lately) and we are going to talk about our trip to Thailand in February.  I have wanted to go to Thailand for soooooooooo long and have let the opportunity slide away from me over and over and over.  I want to go so desperately!   I also want to go to Australia.  And I want to go home to see everyone I miss.  So.  Without further ado.  Here is the plan (please note: you are invited to join at any point along the way if you can!!!):

  • Mid-Feb to sometime in March/April: Thailand / Southeast Asia and maybe India?
  • Sometime after Thailand but before mid-May: Australia and maybe New Zealand?
  • Mid-May to mid-July: the States.  Cali, Utahr, Bama, New York, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma. 
    • NOTE: This includes an epic crawfish boil and graduation party at my parents' house in May that EVERYONE reading this is invited to!!!!! (don't worry, we are kicking the parents out after the food so we can properly rock out! - if any of said parents are reading this, many apologies, but it's true).  I am planning on this ticking off the "plan a party more epic than the luau" box on my list.  It's kind of a big deal.
  • Mid July 2012 - July 2013: London!!! 
  • Anything after: let's not get carried away here.  
So that's my life sorted for the next year.  I am freaking out with nervousness but I am so excited!!!!!