Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wake up! You can't be a volunteer forever.

When I was sitting in downtown Seattle at a coffee shop looking out the window as the people were rushing home after work, waiting for a friend to finish up with his job, and writing my thoughts about future African adventures, it never occurred to me that I would be overseas for 4 years. I thought I'd be in Africa for 2 and then return to the states in mass confusion trying to determine what to do next. 2 years in Africa was a short postponement of starting a career, a career life I have never dreamed of having, but due to societal norms feel the pressure to have.

Instead I have made a career out of living overseas. 4 years is a long time. In four years, life changing evolutions happen as teenagers move away from home, live on their own for the first time and graduate from college. In four years, personalities evolve as they finish working on a masters or a PhD living in a totally different city than the little traditional ones of their hometowns. In four years, somehow people grow, change, form new habits and new opinions.

I have a friend who after three years overseas has finally changed her tune and now instead of wanting to be a nomad traveling across the world wants to settle down, wants a wife, security, a health plan, and a retirement plan. Why hasn't this happened to me? We're both the same age.

Four years overseas has made me into a SUPER wallflower. In the states, I was a wallflower, but now I am a SUPER wallflower especially around foreigners not around locals. Around locals I am extroverted, friendly, and know how to engage socially, but around foreigners, I clam up. I hide in the kitchen. I decline invitations.

Returning to the states I wonder what kind of community I will find and become a part of. SUPER wallflowers have difficulty finding community. After living overseas for four years, I fear that maybe I will hide in an isolated corner of the states and never come out. I wonder if I will start dating; however, living overseas I have learned that I am okay alone and don't need a partner.

My attitude towards not having a career has been reinforced by living overseas. I feel the joy and peace of having free time, of living on the bare essentials, of not having excess but just the right amount to feed, clothe, and house you. I don't care about having a high paying career, but feel that I can exist anywhere no matter what the salary is.

I wonder if someday a wake up call will hit me. Am I too idealistic and will American reality change my tune?

1 comment:

Sunsethoughts said...

came across your blog through ravelry and i think I read most of your posts lol Love the blog! :)