Sometimes, we just feel stuck. There’s no way around it: we feel like our life has hit a point where nothing is moving. Maybe, we’ve become complacent and stopped trying or maybe, we keep trying to change things but end up standing in the same place every day anyway. No matter what, it’s frustrated when you wake up one day, look around, and wonder if this is your life now.
It’s okay to be unsatisfied when you feel stuck, even when you acknowledge that your life is good the way it is. It’s okay to still be searching for something else. Life is a journey and part of that journey involves accepting that sometimes, we won’t be happy even when we feel we should be. Listen to yourself and trust your feelings. If you feel you need to travel the world to change your life, then travel. If you are working and feel called to go back to school, do it. Follow the path you feel you belong on.
This fall, I made one of the hardest decisions I have ever made: I chose not to study abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, and instead, remain at Georgetown for the spring semester. Studying abroad has been something I have wanted to do my entire life and I fell in love with the idea of studying European history at the University of Edinburgh. But when I looked at my life, I realized that if I chose to go study abroad, I would, in fact, be stuck.
It sounds crazy: how would going abroad make me more stuck in my life than staying at Georgetown for the semester? Well, it’s complicated. Last fall, I fell into college stress culture and when the opportunity to go to Disney knocked on my door, I grabbed at it and never looked back. I will never regret that decision but knowing I was going away for eight months changed the way I looked at things for the rest of my fall semester. Everything felt like it was transient and nothing in my life felt permanent.
When I went to Disney, I often felt like I was living in a dream. It was all just a break from my own reality. I remember on one of the final days of my program, I said to my roommate that I had loved this program so much but that I needed to get back to my life. I needed to go back to school and back to the organizations I loved.
I went home to New York for the summer and then back to DC in the fall. I came back to campus and felt like I had to play catch-up. Everyone’s lives had moved on, while I felt I had hit the pause button on mine. The first few weeks back were hard– I had missed so much of my friends’ lives and it seemed in some ways, I couldn’t catch back up. Despite my belief that my life had been paused, it hadn’t been. I had changed and so had my friends. Some of us changed too much to be compatible anymore.
I know: this all sounds like a reason to go abroad. School was hard and Scotland was another dream of mine. But, that’s the very reason why I couldn’t go abroad. In six months, I had lived in three different cities, each one being my home now. Each one felt like I was there, the problems of the others faded away and paused. I could jump from world to world and never feel responsibility in any; in no world did I have real roots set to the ground. And, not being tied down is nice except for when you long to have one place that when you think of home, you can picture.
If I went to Scotland, it would be four cities in one year. It would be four different worlds for me to jump between. It would be two years of my life where I never lived in one place for longer than six months. It would be another pause on my reality. And I knew that if I chose to go abroad, I wouldn’t grow because I would be stuck in my own personal cycle. I needed to try to set down roots for a little while, to make a place I call home.
This story is long, complicated, and hard for me to tell. Sometimes, we just have to do what we know we need in our life at that moment, even if it’s a hard decision. We need to think about how we can move our lives forward and keep bettering ourselves. We need to listen to ourselves, no matter how crazy our ideas may be, and follow through with the path we see set forth for us.