When I imagined how life would look like once I quit my job and sailed off into the sunset to enjoy a bit of free time before taking on a new job, this is pretty much what I pictured.
I knew I would have one or two months of summer back home with my family after many years of living abroad and would also get the chance to travel in sunny places. This concept was so seductive that I didn’t even think of the uncertainty and insecurity that comes with having no fixed home or work. (Small side note: to me, it is just as important to be surrounded by loved ones, as it is to pursue a career that challenges me and gets me excited to keep going every day. Perhaps it is naïve to believe that I can have it all, but I prefer calling it optimism. 🙂 ).
Except, life won’t always go according to plan.
I had many interviews, great feedback from several companies but, for one reason or another, it didn’t work out. My friends who believe in faith would tell me something like “if it didn’t work, it’s not the right opportunity for you”. Me, I was mostly fine when it didn’t feel like it was a right fit, but crushed when I truly wanted that chance.
Times goes by and it suddenly hits me: September. How did one or two months turned into a whole summer? F*ck, f*ck, f*ck. This realization, combined with being sick and alone at “home” for a whole week (boyfriend away on business, friends & family all in other places, no fixed activities to go to) sent me into a roller coaster of emotions, that culminated in a tiny meltdown.
I am not yet able to go into the details of how I felt, as every time I try I end up not expressing what I think the lesson was for me. However, I did find this cartoon which pretty much sums up how these days felt like.
The one smart thing I did when feeling like that was to reach out to my friends, which helped me close this Pandora’s box. In Portuguese, there’s an expression that goes something like “if advice were that good you wouldn’t give them, you’d sell them”, but I don’t think I would have managed without their amazing (and I am sorry, friends, but) surprising insights.
Their life experiences — and the lessons that came along with it — were a powerful tool in helping me put things into perspective and accepting that what I felt was normal and that it is okay to change the plan. There’s no shame in adapting the dreams, as long as I feel there is happiness in this new option.
I am definitely lucky that I get to travel (tomorrow, France!), but I still struggle with the fact that I just want to rush this period and know what it is that I’ll be doing next.
I need to learn that all l I can do is keep taking life with a sense of humor, doing my best to love well and working hard to reach my goals. It is not what I planned, but it can be just as good or even better than the original idea.
Have you ever been through the same? Which strategies did you use to keep yourself centered or what helped you put things into perspective in moments of doubt? I’d love to know! 🙂