*Snaps* For Good Decisions

I had a strange sensation while driving into town this afternoon, on my way to run a few simple errands. The night before had been one of those magical, hot, random summer nights filled with friends, dancing, swimming and laughter. 

As I drove, I replayed scenes from the night before, remembering interactions and unexpected faces. My mind buzzed actively and the muscles around my mouth tugged upwards. What is this? I found myself questioning. And then it hit me. Oh right: happiness. 

Last winter I found myself in a Catch-22. I felt, quite literally, stuck in Colombia. I hadn’t made enough money to move on to another city in South America, as I had anticipated. I was emotionally drained from dealing with visas, the uncertainty of moving to a new city without a job of a plan, being immediately targeted as a tourist. I knew I couldn’t stay, but where to go?

My first instinct was money. Follow the money. Everyone in the international teaching world knows that the money is in Asia. I began searching for and applying to jobs from Japan to Hong Kong, Thailand to Malaysia. The money was enticing. But in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t what I really wanted. The problem was, I couldn’t think of any alternative. And so, anxiously, I dove into the applications head first, despite my better judgement. 

It wasn’t until I a conversation I had with an old friend that I started to reconsider. I still remember this as being one the most influential conversations of my life. Come home, she told me. And finally, I allowed myself to listen. 

It wasn’t an easy decision. I felt embarrassed to be returning home, jobless, with much less money than when I’d left, and only a year and a half into what I had imagined to be a several year long adventure. I didn’t want to look like a failure. 

Thankfully, I’m lucky to have a family that is both understanding and supportive. They have helped me get back on my feet and finally start to pursue my passion: writing. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends who have helped me through life’s difficult decisions. 

Five months after my return, I have never felt more certain that I made the right decision. Not only is this place my home, but it is an inspiring community for writers. I have met so many people of all ages who share similar interests and pursuits. 

At times, I think about what my life would be like at this moment if I had taken a job that brought me to the other side of the globe, far from the people and places that make me who I am. I may have been wealthier in some ways, but I truly believe that my quality of life would have been much poorer. 

Driving this afternoon, the sunImage shining on beautiful green pastures on the side of the country road, a smooth breeze breathing through the open windows, I identified that peculiar sensation: I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

 

A Post-Valentine’s Day Musing

Despite my occasional, personal turmoil the last thing I want is to appear ungrateful. There is nothing like a Hallmark Holiday to make us appreciate all the wonderful things we have in our lives (sarcasm?). Yes, I question myself, I doubt decisions I have made, past and present. But I never want to lose sight of the people in my life that keep me strong, grounded, hopeful.

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive, loving, creative and inspiring people.

My family, even seeing me at my craziest, still manages to love and support me and all my endeavors. My parents who are shining examples of what it is to love and cherish another person, which I can only hope one day to replicate.

I am also blessed with friends who are truthful and brave. My second family, without them I would be a far cry from the person I am today.

On days like this, I find it hard to imagine anything that could bring me down. Almost invincible, close to the sky. If I can give back everything that has been gifted to me, I will be successful. If I can use my writing as a tool to instruct, influence or move people, then I will be successful. I pray to my muse for inspiration so I can continue to share the stories that are inside of me.