What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced?
I think I have been pretty lucky. Aside from a few bumps along the way, things are generally footloose and fancy-free. Plus, those of you who know me know I am generally not a big talker about emotional things (until we're having a little porch party and I'm a couple glasses of wine in, but that's only in front of a select few of you!), so this is gonna be strange.
I can't really pinpoint the moment when I started to feel like everything was just not right. On paper, things looked fine - a decent job, a nice apartment, a fantastic group of friends, and a guy that I was planning my life with. But there was a little something that was trying to tell me this isn't right.
I felt completely hopeless. Completely stuck. Completely frustrated. What the hell was I doing? Was this it? I was so unhappy, and I hated the person I was turning into, but I didn't know what to do about it. Looking for a different job was miserable as I had no idea what I wanted to do and nothing looked remotely appealing, and I couldn't stand the thought of staying in the suburbs or moving to the city and where does that leave you? Planning for a future was equally miserable, as it was so dependent on work and I just didn't want to think about it. Going back to school seemed daunting for the same reason. It all came down to WTF am I meant to be doing? I don't think I can articulate how totally depressed I was. I cannot ever remember feeling so miserable and so hopeless and so stuck for so long.
So in typical fashion, it was time for rash decisions and big changes. Move out, break up, quit. Excellent. Except now I'm single, unemployed, and living with my parents at 25. Not the worst thing in the world, but hardly sustainable.
My students always ask me, "Why Prague?" I usually tell them something like "Ohhhhhh, my friend from high school told me it was a great idea/the job market in the US is terrible/I've always wanted to live in Europe/I really like beer/I love teaching (ha! no one buys that, I've stopped trying to sell it)/drugs." I find these are much easier answers to explain that "I was running away."
Because that's what it was. I needed a total escape, from everything. I love home. I love the people, the places, everything that New Jersey is. But I needed to get away from it, desperately.
Getting on that plane was the hardest thing I have ever done. Saying goodbye to everyone broke my heart. I still cry when I think about home, or hear a song that reminds me of driving around blasting it and singing at the top of our lungs, or if I see a boston terrier in the park, or have something super important to tell someone but everyone's six hours behind, but I also feel free. I posted yesterday about how happy I am, and it's true. Coming to Prague has let me leave behind so much baggage, so much drama, so much frustration.
It means the world to me that my family continues to support me, and my friends are still the loves of my life, even if it's weeks since we last spoke. I love that halfway around the world, I still have Peej here as a little piece of home, so when we're sad we can commiserate together about how much we miss taylor ham and bagels. The day I left, Lili gave me a letter which said "I don't know how long you plan on spending in Prague, but I hope you find what you're looking for. Clearly, life doesn't go according to plan but I think you will have lots of fun there and realize what you want to do with your life." (so wise, that young one) There are definitely days when I still think to myself whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat is happening, what am I supposed to be doing?! But I feel much better about those days now.
Okay, that's enough emotions for one day. Hope tomorrow is something a bit more cheerful!
And so, I will leave you with this:
And because I want to be super cheerful, I also find these amusing...
Now, stop reading and go vote.