Now that I have officially unofficially given sufficient notice to my current employers, I feel slightly less guilty for admitting that I am leaving my current life – yes, the one I just raved about loving – for a scary new shore.
So, to set the mood, here’s a soundtrack you can enjoy that more or less sums up my feelings:
I love the unknown, but I also love to be comfortable. Right now, I’m very comfortable where I am: I love what I do, I love (most) of the people I work with, and while I don’t make much, I make enough to put a little off to the side each month. Also, I love my cat and my bedroom.
Where I’m going, I’ll make barely enough to scrape by (darn student loans). I don’t know any of my new coworkers. My cat and bedroom will have to stay here, because it’s a dorm-type situation. The only thing I know is that I’ll love what I do, because it’s education, even if the setting is entirely different.
What’s more to the point, though, is that I know exactly where I fit in with the world right now, even if it’s not exactly where I want to be. In fact, a large portion of my identity is an aquarium educator. When that time is up, will the last three and a half years have really meant anything?
Even though I only have a month left, the future seems so unreal! It feels like I’m just going on a vacation, and I’ll be coming back to be an educator at the end of it. But in all likelihood, this is a chapter of my life that’s closing. The things I’ve accomplished there will be left behind to be passed on to the next person, integrated into the fabric of daily operations, remembered fondly, or completely forgotten. That’s the way it goes, right?
But it sort of breaks my heart all that I haven’t accomplished. Yes, there are a few things I have accomplished and, though very few of them have my name on them, I will have to be satisfied with my legacy. There were so many ideas that I had, so many more things that I wanted to get done. Now, it looks like that won’t happen there.
However, I have to believe that they didn’t happen for a reason. That reason is, the company that runs the aquarium stifles creativity and passion. It demands so much energy in the here and now that future growth is almost impossible to actively work towards. It demands immediate profits, so the idea of spending money (even to make money) is shot down. Anything remotely controversial, like evolution or climate change, is taboo.
Living like that was killing my soul. When I started, I was such a happy and positive person! I smiled at everyone, wanted to solve problems, and just thought everyone was the bee’s knees. Now, I feel like I hardly ever smile, I resent some of the duties that I should love, and I complain about things without bothering to think of a solution. Worse, I’ve become unfriendly and unkind towards perfectly nice people. That really isn’t me.
There’s a reason I’m moving on. I need to regain what I’ve lost, nurture what few good facets remain to my personality, and find my optimism again. I need to live somewhere new, and in a place where I won’t have to worry about awkwardly running into my ex. Living right by the shore has been my dream since college and, though it won’t be the coast I wanted, it will be good for my soul.
Plus there’s something exciting about the new and wonderful unknown. I don’t know what the future holds. True, nobody ever knows what the future holds but there’s something to be said for having a pretty good guess. “If I don’t figure something else out, I guess I’ll be here,” I said to myself for years.
My new job is seasonal, so I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next summer or the fall after. It’s terrifying to have enough faith in myself to take this step into uncertainty. Maybe it was less faith and more desperation, or maybe it was just my noncommittal spirit. I don’t know anything! It’s scary, but it’s even more liberating. New starts shake things up. Facing the unknown fills me with a wild kind of hope.
I’m already sure that, whatever lies ahead, I will make it good. And if I can’t, well, I’ve always said that adversity is good for a person.
Despite my eagerness to get the next four weeks over with, there’s a lot of dread, too. First of all, I have many fantastic friends here. I moved far away from college and made a few fantastic friends there, too. It was hard to leave them, really hard, but coming home, I got to reconnect with people I had missed out on. I made some great new friends here, too.
Where I’m going, I have one friend that will live about 5 hours away from me. My grandmother lives that far away, too, but I haven’t seen her since high school, and I’m afraid I’ve fallen out of favor with her. Even an introvert like me loves her friends and misses them. Luckily, I’ve moved away to a new town before and survived, so I can do it again.
Furthermore, I will miss my coworkers. The ones I see every day feel like family, and I’m willingly giving up my place in the family. We have a pretty great dynamic. I’ll miss them like crazy. But I’m already feeling nostalgic even for the people I barely see and rarely talk to! Just because I’m actually really shy doesn’t mean I don’t respect the heck out of them and like them as people!
The moment after I signed up, for sure, for this new position, I had a brief moment of panic. What am I doing?! Am I CRAZY?! It passed, sort of.
I just have to remember that everyone moves on, or everyone gets too comfortable. I was comfortable, but more comfortably numb and less make yourself at home. Even with miles of land or oceans and years between us, the people that I love will still love me – and I can love them better if I’m happy. Time and space aren’t enough to cut the ties that bind if I work hard enough to keep that connection.
So now my life is in boxes. I have a separate box of work pants, jeans, shirts and dresses, bras, underwear, socks, shoes, jackets, towels, bedding, toiletries, and canned food.
I have my anticipation in one box, my breaking heart in another. My hope is totally separate from my relief, but a little bit tangled up with my fear. Guilt is in its own box, right next to the one full of all the people, places, and pets that I’ll miss here. I have yet to sort the bitter from the sweet.
But the good news is, I get to take my gerbil with me! He’s all settled in his box, too.
To all the people that have supported and nurtured me over the years, thank you for that. To everyone who has listened to my endless anxiety, thank you. To those who have told me exactly what I needed to hear, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, thank you because that must have been hard. To all who love me and whom I love, I wouldn’t have had the courage to change without you. And to those that have given me hell, it might not have been your intention but it made me stronger so thank you.
Now, “Here we go, going in alone into the dark and wonderful unknown, let us go.” Let’s find out What Adventures Await us.