Stuck in the Muck
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Let me start by saying this...
I am no stranger to dealing with a bit of chaos, but A LOT of shit has gone down since my return to the US after living abroad over a year ago. And now might REALLY not feel like the right time to start thinking about traveling, studying abroad, making a career change, starting a career in the first place, taking up a new hobby, or even just generally trying to pin down what the f*ck you’re supposed to be doing with your life. But NOW is exactly the right time to start making moves in at least some semblance of direction. While my personal goals were thwarted by my own failings and a system that fed off of those failings, I did not give up on myself and the motivations I knew that lived somewhere deep inside me. Eventually, after careful planning, research, and focused decisions, I built up enough courage and fall-back work experience to follow through with one of my biggest life goals - living and working abroad. After having done so, I can definitively say that following through with my intuitions has not only shown me the greatest reward but has also helped me to remain motivated through these trying times. After three and a half years of working at a reputable architecture firm in Chicago, I had only saved $4500 with a far greater amount than that in debt. Nevertheless, I quit my job to move abroad with no promise of a future job. And even after all of the research and random Q&A sessions I held with friends of friends who had jumped ship for their own reasons, I still made a lot of wrong moves. But I did it. Being able to take such a big risk and feeling prepared and knowledgeable enough to actually go through with it was not without hardship and sacrifice. But, if you're like me and have had dreams of changing course in your career or studies, following your passion, or traveling, don't give up. Start making moves toward those goals now. Though they may seem futile at this present moment, when the opportunity presents itself, the work you do now will allow you to be ready when the doors open to you...
you then find yourself in an Indiana Jones-like scenario where there is an endlessly deep abyss just beyond the doorway that requires a modest leap to reach the stretch of safe ground in the distance… except the booby-trapped floor tiles that could cause the whole thing to come crashing down if you land in the wrong place.
This is life.
You need to have the strength and energy to take that leaps that may be required of you, the education to properly assess the options, and the confidence to take the risk in the first place. Side note, confidence is just what we call acts of bravery that one feels prepared for.
Here are some helpful reflections that helped me to begin to develop the internal motivation to push forward:
Am I happy? (Go deep and consider your job, romantic partner, where you live, how you feel when you spend time with your friends and/or family, etc.)
In what ways do I get in the way of myself?
What would I regret not doing when I reach the end of my life?
Thinking about one or all of these things is taking a step in a direction away from where you are now and toward a light that you may have lost along your journey thus far. I can assure you, the light at the end of the tunnel exists and the hard work ahead is worth pushing through to reach your goals.