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Transitions

December 14, 2012

Earlier this week I was having a bad day, and sent an e-mail out to a few friends – a distress signal if you will. If there is something I have learned in the past few years, it is the value of friends’ support when I am having a bad day (or week). 

Basically, I was worried. My time in Suriname is now very short (like three weeks kind of short) and I was worried about what is next. I do not have a job offer in hand. I have had only a few phone interviews. I have a vague plan to relocate, but no specifics, nowhere to land/live, and again, nothing to provide me with income when I get there. Therefore, as hard as I have been working in the past three years to live in the moment and trust that everything is going to work out, I was worried. I can’t help it – it seems to be somewhat in my nature perhaps, or is based on my life experiences – I want to know that things will work out.

Therefore, even though I have taken a number of leaps of faith in my life (sometimes I fly; more often I crash), this next one is going to be big. That is what my friend pointed out to me in an e-mail. She is also starting to think about what is next (I don’t know why, because she still has a  year to go in her service!) and she reminded me that I am once again entering a period of transition in my life (I seem to have had many in the past five years). Whereas I never had a real transition from Peace Corps service to the US before re-entering Peace Corps service as a Response Volunteer, this time I know it is ending for sure, and have to readjust.

Not that change is bad; in fact, if there is a constant theme to my life, it is change. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and as hard as it was to always be the new kid, I always adjusted. I continued that theme into adulthood, changing jobs (perhaps too often, but that is a topic for another post), changing locations. Managing change is a great skill to have, if you ask me, and if a person can parlay it into a career, as some do, it is a skill that can make you a living as well. But the transition – the anticipation of the change – well, that seems to be the bigger challenge, at least for me.

Because my time here is nearing an end, I have completed nearly all of the things I was expected to accomplish, as well as those I took on in addition to the ones set out for me. It is the holiday season, so tourists are arriving, work is slowing, and time is going by quickly yet slowly. I find myself seeking opportunities, for both work and living, and doing a lot of thinking; analyzing my time here, the things I have accomplished, the mistakes I have made, the lessons I have learned.

Not that I am talking a great deal to a lot of people about this. There is something that being raised by introverts/loners and living in countries where  I don’t understand a lot of what is going on around me (or sometimes want to avoid certain interactions) has done to me – it has caused me to talk less in general. It has caused me to tune out when people are speaking, and to not always join in ongoing conversations. Now, some people would argue that, because when I am around them, I talk a lot. But in general, I spend a lot of time with my own thoughts, most of which I no longer share with others, for any number of reasons. 

There is a danger of spending too much time in my own head, though. When it comes to transition times, I start to worry, which I have been actively trying to not do. This morning, my counterpart reminded me that I need to be less hard on myself and to let go and have faith that everything will work out. I reminded her that it is not particularly in my nature to do so, but I have come a long ways towards that goal. Even so, I have my moments.

Three weeks from today, I will be on an airplane, returning to the COLD United States, to start the next phase of this journey called life. Am I ready? Maybe, maybe not. Ready or not, though, I am in another time of transition, which means changes are ahead. When it comes down to it, all I can really do is to plan for the things for which I can plan, and take the rest one day at a time.

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