I have always been in transition….or so it has seemed for the last 6 years of my life. This summer has been no different. I came home from France at the beginning of May, and here it is the beginning of August. And all I have to remember of this summer is how much I’ve been working, the beer I’ve been indulging in, and bouncing between my mom’s place and my boyfriend’s place, not really having a space to call my own. So, as you can probably see, I’ve been dying to move, counting down the days until I do so in order that I will have my own space to call my own again so that I can have some privacy and call the shots.
Living in France gave me a sense of independence. I did live in my own apartment, living on my own (albeit small) salary, coming and going when I pleased, and only having to worry about myself. That made coming home to the chaos of calling my mom’s couch my bedroom even harder than I initially anticipated.
So, when I finally got back up to Milwaukee to pay my first month’s rent, obtain my keys, and start moving my stuff (trip 1 of what will be 2), I was overjoyed, but it’s also made me realize that I’ve been on the move almost constantly for the past 6 years.
It made realize that while everyone around me is getting engaged/married/having children/buying houses, I’m still trying to figure out myself. I’m still trying figure out who I am in this world and how I can best be a part of it rather than just being in it, and it. is. difficult.
On the one hand, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have seen and done things that most people in my life could only ever dream of doing. I’ve seen part of the world, spoken two languages, tried to learn a third, gotten lost in the most unexpected places, been challenged in my faith while learning about others, fallen in love with people, places, and food, and learned about what this world has to offer and how it is suffering. I am immensely blessed with opportunity.
On the other hand, I still feel lost. I’m still traveling: physically, mentally, and spiritually, and I still feel like the more that I learn, see, and discover the more that I have to sacrifice, the more that I still have to learn, and the more that I still don’t understand about life and this world we live in.
For example, many of my best friends from undergrad have already gotten married and are starting to settle down. Though we will always remain friends because I’m still in transition, the differences in our life journeys right now, and the distances has made me realize that our relationships will never be the same again. It’s highly possible that we will not be as close as we once were. I will definitely not see them as often as I would like, and our interests and paths will start to grow further and further apart as life goes on. And this isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it is a part of a life, a part of life that I’m not used to encountering, a part of life that makes me realize that I’m already making sacrifices that I don’t necessarily want to make but have to make in order to follow the path that I believe is best for me, that allows me to pursue my passions of becoming more a part of this world and loving, helping, and serving others all over the world, wherever the Lord and my path may lead me. It’s something that I look at and it makes me ache for a sense of security.
I have always been okay with being in transition because it allows me to see more and more of this world, to meet more and more people, and to become a better version of myself, but now that I’m getting older, I have to realize that I will have to make sacrifices and ultimately I will have to land somewhere and choose a place to put down my roots.
Realizing this, as I stood in my what-will-be-filled-with-all-new-stuff apartment, a place that will be completely my own, miles away from anything familiar, holding my keys in hand, I can’t help to come to the conclusion that the journey I’ve chosen, the journey of constantly traveling, meeting new people, trying to find a place to call home, is going to just get more difficult.
So, where does this leave me? Constantly trying to strike a balance and comes to terms with everything I’m having to sacrifice and learning that I must accept the sacrifices to feel the joy and to receive the knowledge that will come with those sacrifices. It also makes me realize that I need to stop judging myself based on other people’s life journeys and paths. I am terrible at comparing my life to those of others, and on this new journey, I’m going to seek to find my home, when I’m ready and within myself and to not only accept how I’m different but to embrace it despite the difficulties.
For all of my fellow expats, travelers, and people in transition, you have to decide, is it worth it? The sacrifices? Constantly starting over to find a place to call home, to learn more about the world, the better yourselves, and to allow the beauty of the world to overcome you?