Every time I have come home from a trip I have suffered from some major post-trip depression. I have written about reverse culture shock a few times before, but nothing has really compared to how I have felt coming home from my 6 month journey that brought me adventure, love and some incredible friendships.
These past two months I have been home have been incredibly difficult. I have been depressed past the point I thought I was capable of being depressed. I left the person I love 5000 miles away in Ireland, and had to come home to a place that has become so strange and yet is so unchanged that I can feel as though the last months never happened. It is a disorienting thing to feel as though you have two separate lives, and you can no longer distinguish which one is reality. Things have been, to say the least, rather confusing.
I didn’t really have a plan when I landed in LA in December. That has been so typical of me over the last year that I figured the flow would continue to pull me forward, but it really hasn’t done that. It is all so confused in my mind it is even hard to articulate here. So I guess all break it down, if not for you but for my own sanity.
Back in November I applied to grad school in Ireland. This was a two-fold decision as it would allow me to legally live in Ireland and I would be getting my MA and would move on to get my PHD. This has been a goal I have had for a while, and actually was what I was going to do in Ireland before I decided to go to Asia and travel. The problem is and always has been that grad school is expensive, it is less so doing it in Ireland than in the US but still it would be adding a great deal of money to my current student debt situation, and that is not something to take lightly.
So when I got home I decided to look for a job, but the thing is, I feel like I shouldn’t settle for an hourly job. I know this may sound snobbish or whatever, but I didn’t go to school for 4 years, work my ass off and pay 25k to get paid $10 an hour. If I am going to get a job then I want to be paid what I am worth. So I applied to a bunch of jobs and finally got a break with this tech company in Costa Mesa. It is an awesome opportunity and I would love to work for them, the problem is that this whole process has been rather long. Lots of waiting to find out if I made it to the next round or got the second interview, and it is unclear when I will find out a definitive yes or no.
This waiting has become a strain on everything, especially my emotions. If I get a good job here I cannot leave for Ireland in September, meaning if I got into school and got the job then I would take the job. This in and of itself has many implications as Alan has to be in Ireland for two more years, and neither of us can stomach being apart for that long. The waiting in and of itself has put a huge stress on things because now there is pressure on the decision. Choosing a job means ending our relationship while choosing school might mean loosing an opportunity for myself.
The line has become so blurred between what I want to do and the pressure on the decision when it comes to the implications on my relationship, that we had to take a step back, break up to gain some insight on the situation. There is nothing harder then loving someone you can’t be with. Knowing that you need to break up even though neither of you has done anything wrong, it’s just timing and distance that stand in the way. Long distance relationships suck, they are god-awful and I hate them. I miss my best friend, the person I lived this other life with, the one I cannot be with because he is Irish and I am American. Because we are young and still have so much we want to do before we commit seriously we have to look at these decisions in the best interest of ourselves as individuals. He has to finish school, and I have to figure out what is the best move for ME, school or a job.
So this is where we stand, in the middle of this game, waiting for the wheel to stop spinning and revealing to us the options we have at our feet. I have always been impatient, even when I was a child I always had to know what was going to happen next. Perhaps this is life’s way of teaching me some grand lesson about patience, but I don’t like it. Its hard and the emotions are raw and it weighs down heavy on my heart. So lets hope Rousseau was right.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”