I’m a different person than I was nine, ten, eleven, twelve months ago.
You may think, “Duh! We all are!” But, when I look at photographs there is a dull ache within me, and I recognize that the person in those images is gone.
I made a decision. I was moving to England, would attend a program, and start a life in Europe. And now (from my computer in Virginia), nine months and nineteen days since taking off, I can say for the first time in my life (about a decision), “I wish I hadn’t gone.”
Don’t worry yourself or rush to tell me “But look at all you learned!” or “We shouldn’t have regrets.” I know the catchphrases, the clichés, and the truth. I know I had a plan, a reason for going, but never have I ever so wanted a plane to turn around. In fact, it’s possibly the only time I’ve truly wanted a plane to turn around.
It’s true. I learned lessons, I realized in a new and more powerful way the ranking that people/relationships hold in my life. I had an opportunity to help educate two children. I discovered a long-term relationship is manageable (with so so so much credit going to my incredible and strong boyfriend, Alan). I experienced love and support from family/friends. And, I began the hard, growing up process of making decisions for myself and not for other people (something I’m still working on).
Yes, ultimately I came back because of a relationship. I’m practicing saying that without feeling twinges of guilt or that I’m less of a woman/person for letting a relationship matter that much to me. It does. Plain and simple, life in a new and exciting place is lonely and depressing when the person you want to experience it with is not there, and on top of it is five hours behind, so while you’re having a great brunch and want to tell him about it, he’s not even awake.
Do I want a career? Absolutely (though, not a conventional one). Do I want to excel in what I pursue? Without a doubt. Do I want to do it alone or thousands of miles away from my favorite person? Definitely not.
I cannot change that I went. Good and bad came from it. Though, I am so much happier and full of life now that I’m back. Is job hunting fun? No. Would I recommend living at home? Not unless you have to (but, I’m thankful to have a roof over my head and family to support me). I’m thankful for the family and friends who love me, support me, and are excited to make plans with me.
I’ve learned this: people are what matter.