Everything in life has a learning curve. Some are instantaneous, while others are seemingly insurmountable; but we’re always learning. The last 5 years of my life have been packed full of life experiences and learning curves. In college I learned quickly the people with whom I had a deep, soul-to-soul connection, and more slowly who hung around only for circumstantial reasons. I learned that I love the excitement and buzz of interacting with a big group of people, but crave quiet time by myself.
Though college was, for me and countless others, a time of tremendous personal growth, I was so constantly occupied with the busyness around me that I had little time to reflect on all these changes. Just a few short months after graduation, when I moved home, all this changed. I had literally nothing but time. Though change came slower during this season of my life, when it did come I noticed it. In the year I spent at home I learned patience and to trust in God’s providence. I discovered a few things I’m good at and some things that I’m not, and the picture of what I want for my future slowly became clearer.
When I finally landed what I didn’t even know at the time was my perfect job, I was sure I’d learn a lot but I wasn’t prepared for the total avalanche of discovery, both in the workplace and in myself. Just as in college I’m busy and engrossed in the changes around me, but the extreme environment change and large chunks of time spent alone provide a fertile climate for introspection.
Living in a foreign country is a trip; literally and figuratively. It gives you the unique opportunity to truly miss the little details that make your country home. Although England is very western and therefore shares lots of characteristics with the states, being away makes me realize how much I love Texas, and love being a Texan. I love that you’re never more than a short drive from corn fields and pickup trucks. I love that everyone says y’all and most people are just as kind to strangers as they are to their neighbors. I love that people get what an awesome place Texas A&M University is, and I love that people understand that cheering for a football team is about more than sports. There’s a million things I love about Texas, and I wouldn’t have realized most of them if I hadn’t had the opportunity to step away from my southern bubble.
I’ve learned so much about myself in the past year, and more since I’ve been in England. It seems a strange concept, learning about yourself, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever stop finding out new things about the person that I am.
Starting in the professional world has opened my eyes to a whole new side of my personality. I’ve always thought of myself as completely all over the place, disorganized to the core, but I’ve realized lately that that’s not the case. When I have a free minute at work, I straighten. I like my workplace to be clear of clutter and free of distractions. I’ve known for a while that I like my time to be used efficiently, but I’ve also recently realized that I’m a planner. I like to look at the day in front of me and have a plan of attack, even if it’s inevitable that the plan will change. Things my bosses praise me for take root in things I’ve always known I’m good at, but in application are new. I’m good with the kids and good with the parents (which I’ve been told is going to make me good at helping Explore retain members), and I learn and take direction well. It’s a nice thing to know that not only is this job good for me, but I’m good for this job.
Being away from home I’ve realized that I like to travel, but with the ones I love. I could never up and move to a country (permanently, that is) without bringing a piece of home with me. That’s the biggest part of home for me: it has the people I love. Seeing new things and new places means a whole lot less when you don’t have someone you care about seeing them with you.
The father of the family I’m staying with gave me a great complement today. He told me I was brave. Brave to come to a country I’d never been to, stay with people I’d never met, and do a job I’d never done. I’ve never thought of myself as brave, and I was flattered to be identified as such. But in the end, I couldn’t not come. You have to make “brave” choices in life or you’ll look back at the end at a life unlived. And I fully intend on living my life.