Okay, I admit – leaping is far harder than it looks. Otherwise, I would’ve just gotten on a plane 4 years ago and brushed away all the “what ifs.”
My dream was on hold until later. Until I could afford it. Until I had X years of work experience on my resumé. Until my parents thought it was a good idea. Until…. My list of “until’s” was extensive, but excuses made it easier to accept that it wasn’t the right time. I tried making it happen in 2012 and because of a long wait list, it didn’t work out. Then I fell in love (with my partner and his dog), got a new job, moved to a new city. I thought the idea might go away eventually – staying was just easier. But every time someone asked me what I did for work, I would always find myself saying “…and I really want to teach abroad someday.”
“Why don’t you teach here?” they would ask. I studied education in college and learned how much of a curriculum is guided by standardized testing. Not my thing. “But you travel all the time!” they continued. As I mentioned before, work travel can be frustrating, and lacks the immersion experience I crave.
So why now? It’s not like the until’s just disappear. Simply put, it was now or never. My partner and I have been together for over two years, and the pressure of the next step was looming in the not-so-distant future. (Luckily, he is 110% supportive of this.) Grad school is also on my list of goals, so now seems like as good a time as ever to spend some time away before hitting the books for a few years. And those student loans will be there until they’re not, so that excuse really needed to be tossed out the window.
The point I’m getting at is that life will always present you with things that complicate other things. There will always be reasons to stay. I struggled with these reasons for a very long time. Honestly, the hardest part for me is remaining confident while some of the people in my life do not think this is a good idea. It’s difficult feeling like you’re letting someone down. What I realized is that not everyone sees the world in the same way I do (obviously, right?). When you make a choice in life, you won’t always have the support of everyone you’d like it from. And that’s okay. Sometimes you have to be a little selfish. Otherwise, what’s the point of having goals? For me, making peace with my desire to live abroad and maintaining conviction in choosing to finally do it has been really freeing.
I don’t consider myself brave or courageous. If anything, I’m silly for ignoring myself for this long. If there’s something you really want out of this life you have to make it happen. Sometimes it feels impossible, but I’m learning it’s a lot more simple than it has to be.