It’s not unlike me to have these occasional “what am I doing with my life?” moments. It’s happened much more now that I’m in my 20s than it ever did when I was a teenager, which doesn’t make it any easier, because aren’t we supposed to know more about the world by this point? However, now the stakes seem to be much, much higher.
This past year I spent my time living, working, and traveling throughout Spain. Madrid was home, where I had my ups and downs. Around January, I decided I would enjoy the remainder of my time there and head home at the end of the school year. I decided that it was time to move on after Madrid, but as the impending departure date neared, I started to question my decision to leave for good.
It happens, right? Well, once I got home, I experienced some post-travel depression. That’s right; I couldn’t believe I was home, and it started to make me miserable. Though I knew I had to return at some point for more school, for a stable job, or something with a better sense of routine, I questioned myself so thoroughly that I even managed to secure a second job in Madrid.
Yes, you read correctly – a job in Madrid, for this upcoming year. I thought I was done with Spain, but I’m currently in the process of assembling my visa requirements. This has done nothing to calm my nerves over where my future lies – if anything, it’s stressed me out even more.
I know that to the outsider, it seems insane that a 23 year old would question whether or not “there’s enough time” to spend another year traveling and working abroad, but I’m doing just that. And it’s not because I don’t want to travel anymore – it’s the opposite, I do, clearly, and will never stop – it’s that I can’t really imagine settling down yet. Or, more appropriately, I see this as an opportunity to get out into the “real world” again rather than being stuck in my hometown, which makes me sadder than sad.
I’m stuck in a limbo phase. I’m gearing up for another move to Madrid, and considering the fact that it’s possible I won’t come back home this time next year. I’ve started to convince myself that even another year in Madrid, where people say I’m “wasting my time” instead of gearing up for my career at home, could be a good career move. Obviously, living in Spain again is a great life move, but for us millenials, we don’t really have the luxury of postponing career boosts considering our setbacks and the economy. We continue to ask ourselves if opportunities like this are stunting our growth as “adults”, and if we really are the “Peter Pan” generation that can’t grow up. I don’t know about you, but all of this unsettles me, especially as this past year in Madrid made me grow up more than any job I’ve ever had at home.
The potential move stresses me out – for the visa, apartment (though thankfully I have help there), and financial reasons – though at times I find myself extremely excited. It’s a never-ending cycle of “I’m so excited” juxtaposed with “what are you doing?”. I can’t help but dread the following weeks, whereas I should be highly excited by my options.
For those of you who are going back to Spain (or to wherever you teach/travel) or going for the first time, what are your thoughts on this? Do you ever think about your age, your need to find a “good job” at home, the pressure from external forces?