In Which I Consider The Future…and Feelings of Doubt

Moving to a different city without any job security waiting for you is scary. I’m so glad I did it. I feel more at peace about where I am than I have in ages. It’s still scary, though.

I went to brunch with a fellow graduate from my alma mater a couple weeks ago-she recently acquired a job in DC and moved here–and we were sharing stories about our experiences abroad. She had recently studied abroad in Europe and I, of course, am a few months back from Thailand. We started talking about places and the feelings we get from those places–how she enjoyed her time abroad, but how the city she was living in during her study abroad experience just didn’t feel right for her. How she didn’t feel inspired or alive in it. I was able to relate so much with her because that’s exactly how I felt about Thailand. That’s why I moved placements at the beginning of November and why I ultimately left Thailand in the end. While my second and final placement felt more right to me, it still wasn’t enough. While I will always love Minnesota because it’s my home, living there didn’t feel right, either. Now that I’m in DC, I just know this is where I’m supposed to be for the time being. I think places are like books–the best books are the ones that you read at a time in life when you resonate with them most. Likewise, the best places are those that you can resonate with most at a given time. Thailand was a fantastic place for me to travel through at this point in my life–but it wasn’t the right place for me to live…and maybe it will never be. The DC area, likewise, felt right from the moment I was driving on the George Washington Memorial Parkway–fresh from Minnesota via Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland–and realized I was home.

So yes, I’m glad I moved here. I’m glad this college friend took me in and that I have a place to stay while I look for a place of my own. I’m glad I pushed myself to follow my dreams and left without looking back.

There are days when I’m filled with optimism about the future. I feel confident that I’ll get the jobs I want and that I’ll find a housing situation that works well for me and that I’ll thrive here.

Then there are days where everything seems so uncertain. Where I question if I’ll be successful. Where I start to look back at my past mistakes and wonder if I’ll make them again.

It’s that painful little thing called doubt.

I don’t think that doubt is necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Doubt can keep us from getting ahead of ourselves; doubt can ground us in the present.

However, too much doubt is detrimental. Counterproductive.

If I’m being honest, I left Thailand with a lot of regrets. About the way I handled certain situations and relationships. About how I used my time while there, about how I didn’t see as much as I wanted to or put myself out there as much as I feel I should have.

I generally consider myself to be an overly optimistic person. I believe that positive energy is contagious and if you carry positive energy around with you, positive opportunities will come your way.

I generally try to be positive. I generally don’t like to focus on the past and when I do, I like to turn those regrets into lessons–we all mess up in life and every missed opportunity or negative situation or interaction can be turned into a moment of learning if we allow it to be.

That said, when I’m feeling that doubt, when my anxieties about the future become overpowering, I turn to those regrets and they consume me. And I wonder–can I really make it in this city when I couldn’t make it in Thailand?

But of course I can. Because I know I actually want this life in this city for the long-term. I didn’t want that in Thailand–I had just convinced myself that I did.

Yes, it’s hard to move to a new city, especially without a job waiting there.

Yes, we all experience doubts, whether we’re experiencing transition periods or not.

But, in the end, with the right attitude and the willingness to be flexible, everything will work out in time.

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Here’s to new life in the US Capitol!
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