This Just In: I’m Lost

I’ve been having such a hard time writing anything to post here recently because it feels like everything about my life is changing from day-to-day, or even hour to hour.

I was accepted to my first choice university for grad school, then I found out that I couldn’t go to grad school at all because it was too expensive. Then I received a funding offer from a school, but it’s from my last choice school and I’m not sure I want to go. So now I’m facing the terrifying prospect of trying to find something new to do with my life.

Grad school has always been my plan. Even when I didn’t know what I would be studying, I knew I would be studying something. I haven’t considered any other options for my life in a long time. Now I’m having to face the reality that I might have to find something new to do when I leave Japan in July, and it’s…not great.

I don’t want to move back to Arizona and find a job that just pays the bills. That life is necessary, but the idea of working just to survive honestly makes me really, really depressed. I just feel that my life needs to have something different in it to make it worth living. But what other work could I even do?

I could accept the funded grad school offer. I know I’d make the most of the opportunity and it would sort of keep me on the track I had planned, but I’m not sure those are good enough reasons to commit two years of my life to being in a place that feels like moving backwards.

I’m toying with the idea of finding work in another country, but the problem of what kind of work I could handle makes it very difficult. I don’t want to go back to the US just yet. I do believe that I am meant to travel for a while, although I don’t know where I should go next. I’m feeling like somewhere in Europe.

I don’t really want to keep doing TEFL. It’s something I can do, but it doesn’t make me happy. I’m not qualified to teach anything else. Tonight I came up with a list of things that a job needs to have for me to be happy. Here is my list:

  • Can’t be the same thing every day. I can’t handle boring.
  • I need to be creatively creating something.
  • It needs to be intellectually challenging and fulfilling.

These are the things a job needs to have for me to feel fulfilled in my work. I’m not sure, though, what job apart from working in academia fills all these requirements. If you, dear reader, have any ideas, then please let me know. Sadly I don’t think I can monetize this blog with my one sad post a month.

On one hand I know that my life so far has been incredibly lucky. I went to college, have lived in Japan for 2 years, and have been able to travel to many places (although I had to cancel my trip to Thailand that I’ve been looking forward to for over a year, which was the first devastating decision I had to make this year). On the other hand, I feel like all of the things I have accomplished in my adult life have been the result of a constant and often painful struggle to succeed. I have worked unforgivingly towards creating the life that I want. I have alienated myself, driven away friends, and missed out on many “normal” experiences to create a life that is abnormal–the life that I want. I do not want to stop until I have reached my goals.

But now I am trying to process the idea that sometimes your hard work can pay off but still not get you what you want. I was accepted to my dream program, but I can’t go. It was the most crushing thing that has happened in my adult life. What does that mean? Does that mean I’m meant to be doing something else? Does it mean I need to change goals, or keep working even harder? It might even mean having dreams is altogether meaningless, because that is how I’ve been feeling.

The only thing that I know right now is I will be leaving Japan this summer and turning 25 in August. Those are the things I can’t control and know are happening. Apart from that, I’m currently just drifting. I have no idea what I want to do next or what would give my life any meaning. I have no idea where I want to live or what kind of job I would enjoy.

At this point it seems like my only option is to step back and trust that the right decision will make itself clear. As the chrome extension momentum told me today, “Muddy water is best cleaned by leaving it alone.” Perhaps I just need to take a step back and stop trying to figure out what I’m doing next. That seems like it’s maybe not very realistic, but also maybe worth the effort. Right now I’m in a constant state of panic over my life going nowhere, and it’s honestly exhausting. Maybe I’ll try to just not think about it for a while.

In the mean time, if you know of anywhere I should look for my next opportunity or hear of any jobs you think I’d be good at please let me know. I’ve got nothing else going on as I wander through my twenties with a passport and the anxious fear that my life will amount to nothing.

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2 thoughts on “This Just In: I’m Lost

  1. Why would the fully funded school be like going backwards? I know it was your last choice, but you still applied there, so you must’ve applied for a reason. If you really want to work towards something in academia, sometimes you just have to make due with the options you have.

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    • I know I would be successful there, and it would keep me on track, but I’m just not sure it would be a good fit. I’m just not sure I want to sign myself up for two years in a place where I’m not necessarily happy just on the hope that it will lead to something better. It’s definitely still an option I’m considering, though, because I know it seems like the most logical choice.

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