As I spend my final week of relative normalcy here in Madrid, a rush of pressures is beginning to hit me like a sudden tall wave on a calm beach. Here I am, moseying through life, when suddenly reality rears its ugly head. Well, I suppose reality isn't such a terrible thing, but I need to make sure my feet are braced so I can handle the inevitable impact.
There are good things, very good things that lie ahead in the upcoming months. Nonstop travel begins this week, and from there a constant stream of visitors will be gracing my presence and giving me not one moment to digest. That means that while it will surely be a memorable adventure, it will also leave me very little time to reflect and absorb this experience before dashing back to the United States in September. Many new contemplations have entered my spectrum of possibilities that I cannot ignore. I am now quite certain that I will return here for another year of teaching and improving my Spanish, pending the proper paperwork successfully goes through. This is one loose plan that must stick because in my oh so indecisive fashion, I needed to make a choice and this one was it. Beyond coming back to teach for the season, I have not a clue where to point myself. I have so many endless options about the where, what, and when, yet I can't seem to make a decision, even after spending so much time on the road. Now there is a new factor, a new person that is also applying the pressure and complicating the issue. It was challenging enough to be feeling my way through life and carving my path, but now when other people begin to walk on that path, a new sense of anxiety about my life decisions are weighing down on me heavily.
These are all good problems, I suppose, but as I continue to drift farther from a life that was, all of my friends back in the States, my lifestyle, possessions, career, I can't help but grasp on to the final strings with an unexplainable desperation. I feel a massive gap between a life that was and my life that is in such a short period of time and fear losing all that was familiar in exchange for an unknown that could turn out to be quite temporary. I wish I had more time, or better yet, I wish my path wasn't considered to be so rebellious to the upbringing I come from. As I traveled through Europe, one thing that grabbed me was utter freedom that other people from other countries seemed to have. My NZ friend could jump on a yacht doing grunt work for a year and think nothing of it; an Aussie I met decided to pick up and set roots for a year with no plan at all; my Canadian friend thinks it's bizarre that my move to be here was considered to be radical at all. But this vagabond lifestyle was not one I planned on and I am having a hard time feeling relatively useless as I float through my adventures. I'm ready for more. I'm ready to grow up a little and begin once again to have an impact. I'm so torn between so many things: my deep values that encourage me to break away from conformity, my relationship here with an amazing guy, the strong bonds with other expats on their journey, the dread of taking a number and standing in line as another unemployed American, the overwhelming decision of where to live if the US will be home again, my desire to see every corner of this planet... I don't know what home even is anymore and I just hope that even with the maddening travel schedule of this summer, I will be able to keep a clear head, gain some perspective, and further decide what is truly important to me and my future.