To every thing there is a season.
I find comfort in these words as I overstuff my suitcase for yet another transatlantic move. The past six years since starting university have been full of many short and long-distance moves. These moves tend to mark the end of one season of life and the beginning of another. The seasons have different schedules, locations, responsibilities, people, and goals. Though many of them have been short, the seasons of my life up to this point have been accompanied by many lessons. These lessons have helped to shape my outlook on life and help me to navigate the seasons (whether they be welcomed seasons or not). While difficult to explain, these three lessons attempt to sum it up:
- Take chances– It might work out. It might not work out. Either way, you learn a thing or two in the process. In actions big or small, I have learned the importance of taking chances. Do the research, weigh the pros and cons, make color-coded charts, consult your Support Crew, and then take the chance. Two of my most incredible seasons of life (Austria and Scotland) were the result of chances taken. It can be scary, and it can feel as though you’re being pulled in different directions, but that’s okay. It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing. It would be boring if we had it all figured out, right?
- There are things you can control and things you can’t– This can be difficult to accept. My current season of life is coming to an end because of factors I cannot control. Unfortunately, I cannot outrun an expiring visa, nor can I topple the bulwark of bureaucracy that is preventing me from landing a job in the place I want to live. When working towards a goal, I have learned to identify factors that I realistically can and cannot control. On the way to achieving said goal, it is my job to take care of the factors that are in my control. If I’ve worked hard and done my part and the goal is not achievable because of the factors I cannot control, then that goal is not meant to be reached…yet (I sometimes struggle to remember that time is a factor that I cannot control). Side Note: For those of you who are aware of my ability to persevere and endure, I am not giving up on my goal of living and working abroad- I’m just taking a detour on the construction-filled, pothole-ridden, winding road of life. “It’s exciting!” “I’m too blessed to be stressed!” I repeat to myself as I frustratingly shove everything I own into a suitcase, pretending that 20 kilograms is more than it actually is, and wondering why I collect rocks as travel mementos.
- Home is not a place, it’s a feeling– Since 2014, I have been fortunate enough to call three different countries home. The northeast of the States is a place I call home because it is where most of my family is, it is where I was raised, and it is a region of the country from which I am proud to say I hail. Austria is home because it is where I met a few incredible friends, took big steps out of my comfort zone, and became comfortable with my independent self, which gave me the confidence to find home in a third place, Scotland, which has been home for the past year and a half. I initially embarked on this adventure to earn a Master’s degree. Not only did I accomplish this mission, but I’ve also met some fantastic people, run some incredible races, and learned how to look the proper way whilst crossing the street (more or less). Some people think that because I enjoy living abroad, I don’t miss “home” (aka the Northeast). But I am here to report that this couldn’t be further from the truth. While I am quite happy living abroad, I do miss friends, family, and familiar places from all of my homes. These are, after all, the things that make a home. It certainly isn’t easy to miss holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, and impromptu get togethers that turn into the best nights, but through all of this, I have gained so much appreciation for my family, friends, and those familiar places. I have learned to cherish them more, and I have learned how to balance both forces of missing one home and being happy in another. This balance is something that was difficult to strike at first, but understanding that it is possible to feel at home in more than one place has helped me to manage these forces. This couldn’t have been more evident than when I was on the bus to the airport earlier today- a woman wearing a Red Sox hat sat down next to me. Upon seeing this symbol of one of my homes, I got excited for my return, until .03 seconds later when I looked out the window of the bus, the only view in sight being Edinburgh Castle. The forces battled and neither won out.
To every thing there is a season. Taking comfort in these words brings peace to a move that is not exactly on my terms. Luckily, seasons come back around, but in the meantime, it’s time to yield to the forces I cannot control, take a few chances in my career, work towards my 2018 goals, and spend some quality time with one of my other homes. Ready or not, I start my teaching career in the morning. All the best, Christina Rose.