I recently returned home to the US after 14 months of living in Spain and after many weeks of tangled emotions, I realized that my heart was broken.
I am listening to endless amounts of Adele, Celine Dion and Sia to fill a void in my stomach of angst, helplessness and anxiety. I could not pinpoint before exactly what I was feeling before but after a bit of time I realized the pain was/is one key thing: I am going through a breakup, my worst breakup at that.
I always thought only a person could be the source of a heartache. Only a person could cause me pain and worry. Only a person could make me randomly cry on my way home or remembering happy memories that could trigger such strong emotions.
I realized that like a person, a place can hold these same strong emotions, memories and personal significance.
I spent a large portion of my life in one country and made life-long memories that I will always hold dear. I have met people that taught me so much within such a short amount of time that it is mind boggling. I have seen beautiful mountains, natural areas, historical landmarks and buildings that are older than the United States even. Breathe taking. Absolutely breathe taking. (*insert a moment of being distracted by memories here*)
I still have not completely figured out my emotions either. I am back in the States and really don’t know how to feel. I am on the job hunt and felt that being an au pair or English teacher again would be unfulfilling, and I need to utilize my degrees I worked hard for in a field I am passionate about. However, being in Europe and continuing to travel would be worth that cost for me.
To be honest, I still don’t know what the hell I am doing with my life. I firmly believe that not everyone knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up, but you have at least an idea or know what you do NOT want to do. I turn 27 on March 30 and hot damn does that make me feel old.
I have pressures all around me telling me I should have it figured out by now, have a career, a steady in-flow of money at least but right now I am unemployed, waiting to hear back after interviews, and needing to plan my next move. Pressure from people who don’t understand my lifestyle choice of travel and my career path.
They think that a husband, family and a white picket fence are my only ways to become happy and live a fulfilling life. It is terrifying in one aspect. The other aspect is that this is an exciting moment for change, minus the husband and white picket fence.
I am ok with change and new adventures but I do like eating food so ideally, a job will come out of the ever-slow (and self-confidence crushing) experience of searching for jobs. If anything makes me want to continue traveling and living a simple life, it would be these external pressures.
I miss most from my experience in Spain is the excitement of meeting new people, trying new food, practicing my Spanish and learning new things every day. Back here in the States I haven’t experienced that much learning since I went to university. It’s too comfortable, too normal here. Ew.
I am heartbroken for the ending, not the beginning.
I am heartbroken for the love I felt from my Spanish family and friends and that I no longer get to see them on a daily basis.
I am heartbroken for the connection I made with people but no longer can connect with them.
I am heartbroken for feeling at home in a foreign place but now I feel foreign in a country I grew up in (current political climate aside…jeepers).
I want to feel whole again. Alive. Driven. Filled with purpose.
I want to feel the way I feel while traveling and seeing things for the first time. The thrill and excitement each time I walk through a door is now absent in my daily routine. Now, I feel lost and unsure of who I am or what my next step should be.
I look at pictures to get closure and talk to friends by Skype and WhatsApp, but that opens the wound a bit more than actually closes it.
I am changed. I am different now from how I was 14 months ago. I understand myself better as a person and have a stronger sense of what makes me fulfilled. My newly found self-awareness is something I could not have acquired unless I went abroad and pushed personal limits. I feel like the people at home haven’t changed much but I have tremendously, so now where do I fit in? I wish I knew the answer to that question.
So like any breakup, listening to Adele, eating ice cream and surrounding yourself with good friends and positive influences are musts in order to recover and recharge. Reminding myself reasons why I chose my current path is important but also not listening to the voices of negativity is key I have found so far.
I can’t let those pressures from people who do not understand me to stand in my way of being happy. Moving forward is needed, negativity is not.
As a good friend would always remind me, I am a strong, independent woman and I will find my way somehow with patience and time. Besos!