As someone who has not only switched careers, but has also moved approximately 11,197 kilometers in the past month, you would think that I’d be feeling overwhelmed with change; you’d think that the perceptible shift in my life would be profound enough to notice on a constant basis.
You’d be wrong.
I sat here, in my apartment last night, having a chat over milk tea with a friend, remarking about how everyone at home seems to be making changes; whether it be getting married, having (or adopting) babies or moving in with loved ones. I noted that I’m just staying the same (or even worse, I noted that I’m delaying my life by moving to China).
This evening, as I got into my jammies and checked on my laundry, I thought about how silly this would have sounded to an outsider. Two girls (women) who both packed up their lives and shipped themselves to the great unknown at a time when they could have been settling in, talking about how nothing seems to change in their lives. That outsider would laugh, I’m sure, and say that getting on a plane is a pretty big change; it’s just that it doesn’t feel that way when you’re on it – it just feels like life, jammies and laundry are the same in China too.
Today, the following words escaped my mouth: “people are out there doing [whatever], while I just pressed pause on my life and moved to China”; and the moment they were free, I wished I could grab them back, crumple them up and shove them back down where they came from.
That’s craziness! You can’t press pause on your life. Life is not something that you can put down and pick back up (like a novel that you can’t seem to finish, or that container of Chinese takeout on your counter).
Some days, I feel that way here. Because people back home are doing things that I think are part of the clickety-clack of moving forward with life. Some days, I forget that this adventure is part of the clickety-clack of my life. My friend Littlerain phrases it in a great way; she says “because this is my life, this is what I do”. She means, “I am an English teacher in China”, but the wording really hits home for me. Whether you’re taking a year off work to travel, moving out west for a few years, doing a stepping-stone job, or standing on your head, this is your life – it seems small, but the perspective change is huge.
Nothing is a waste of time. You can’t press pause.
For me, the biggest indicator of change (even though, somehow, life feels strangely similar, even here in China), was this morning when I woke up, my alarm went off and my feet hit the floor, I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face and was excited for the day. Tonight, I got to tell someone that I love my job and that it doesn’t feel like work; six-months-ago me is dancing a jig somewhere. Change is awesome.
Tags:Travel Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales
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