It’s odd how quickly things can change. I mean this in terms of how you’re feeling, how you see the world, the people around you. All the elements of your day to day that you’ve just started getting used to can so easily snap into something different.
From an outside-looking-in perspective, these bits may all look the same from one week to the next, but your own mind may see and create an entirely different story. Lately for me these changes can come minute to minute.
At 10:02am I’m feeling hyper-focused, enjoying my coffee as I’m typing away at my desk. Then 10:03 rolls around and I’m off, in an internal monologue as my mind spirals.
Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe I didn’t sleep enough, maybe I’m just homesick (for Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee) #SFlove.
Homesick or overcaffeinated
Anyways, one second I’m thinking about my family back in the states and feeling guilty for putting them in this long distance relationship.
The next second I’m worrying if I’ll ever settle on the right guy like I’m Ted Mosby waiting for his wife. I worry if I’ll ever find a group of friends as strong as the ones I made in college, if I’ll ever be as happy as I was last year or if I’ll ever find what I’m always searching for or even know what that something is.
In some sense, this is the beauty of life–the power of the mind and its ability to see what it will. There is a power in being able to make decisions that will shape the rest of your life.
The realities of living abroad
I often wonder how other people’s minds work. I truly mean that. I think about this all the time. I’m going to be honest that my mind and spirits fluctuate so often and rapidly since moving abroad a year ago.
In a way that’s a part of growth. The highs are fun, lows–not so much. It’s all part of the process though towards easing worries–the chasing of happiness until you don’t have to chase it anymore because it’s following you around.
Living abroad you’ll surely be asked, “How are you? Enjoying it?”
And you’ll respond, “Oh it’s great. I’m really loving it.”
And the funny part is that I’d say that exactly and I wouldn’t be lying one bit. Because as hard AF as it is to be miles and miles away from your family and the friends you used to see every single day and fall back on to get you out of your funks that will certainly happen, as hard as it is, it’s true.
Living in Brussels and being in Europe in general, is incredible.
That’s why I’m still here folks. I’m not ready to flip that switch and leave it all behind because the sadness of that outweighs the fact that there are days that are just hard.
I think this difficulty is a mix of overwhelming the mind with so much newness that it craves the comfort of familiarity in terms of culture, food, even the friendly smile or hug of someone who knows you, or if you’re talking about the states, someone who doesn’t even know you but just thinks you could use a smile.
It’s a mix of that and a mix of uncertainty, wondering if you’re doing the right thing.
The experience of living abroad is once in a lifetime but I often wonder about the expense. I’ve become more of a worrier than I have ever been since moving here in terms of how my absence is affecting my relationships with those back home.
If they’re meant to last they will. Family of course is stuck with you, but again it’s the guilt of missing out or as the kids say, fomo. Will my sister forgive me for not being there for her high school graduation…How am I making my mom feel by not being with her and the rest of the fam as they celebrate mother’s day…
Calling them yesterday and talking for a bit through a very lagging, staticy phone connection is just not the same as waking her up with making chocolate chip pancakes and bacon with my sister and going out for dinner in Chicago and bowling and apparently buying a $20 basket worth of skittles that my brother is eating in an elevator.
Which speaking of, the dude has a full lumberjack beard now and I missed it’s growth. Lol. We also both like Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone a lot now and could have gone to a concert together.
My dad is the half Irish half Hungarian one and I’m meeting all of his distant cousins and relatives over here, many he’s never met, but I want him here too.
All the coulds and woulds and I wishes, gives me those moments of wondering what am I doing all the way over here.
I’ll tell you. This above bit IS SO BAD. Location is just one factor in happiness and read a bit futher and my tattoo will clear up this sadness a bit. As much as it sucks to be so far from people you love and have had around your whole life, the only person you can count on for the rest of your life is you.
Maybe it’s the Novo Amor I’m listening to as I write this, but I’m honestly tearing up as I write that last bit because it’s so melancholically true. And also beautiful?
This, this my friends is why it’s so important at the very shaping years (20s) to focus on ourselves. This is where we’ll learn the most about ourselves because as we face life’s challenges we’re making ourselves into the people we need to be.
Girl with the lion tattoo
I write this and think of my tattoo, the first and so far (though not for long) the only. Underneath the huge a** lion that I have on my hip, it reads in French: L’union fait la force.
Unity makes strength.
I got the tattoo done in Brussels while studying abroad here last year and at the time I had fallen in love with Belgium, so getting the phrase of the Belgian coat of arms seemed already fitting. Although, I’ve since learned this line was the motto for the atrocious Belgian imperialism in the Congo so fek.
Yet too late, but don’t worry; my own resonance with that phrase is what made up my mind about getting it permanently written on my skin.
My U N I T Y MAKES S T R E N G T H tat shows my realization that distance in love knows no boundaries. Yes it strains it and it’s not always easy, but if you’re loved and you love them, it’s all alright.
I may thrive in my independence and divergence from normal, but I know I can’t go it alone. As I noted in another blog post of mine, humans thrive on connection. Meghan thrives on connection. I need people around. Strangers, friends, they’re all good.
I studied communication and fell in love with journalism because it was based on connecting with people, talking to people, interviewing them and helping them feel understood, which always inevitably helps you understand yourself. It’s a mind expanding process talking to people and those are what I crave.
So to family and all my amaze pals back home, I may be far physically but I don’t feel so. I’m strong in knowing that no matter the distance we are united.
Unity makes strength.
When I’m in doubt and forgetting this, I look down at my tattoo. The strength of a lion (#Leo), and the strength of feeling united with people who love me and I love no matter where we are.
Some day we ourselves will be all we have, so we better make ourselves pretty strong. We got this.
Yes I took this. This happened.