As I sit here, on the floor, in my empty apartment, I can’t help but reflect upon the choices I have made to get me here. This is not the first time I have sold, donated, trashed or given away most of my worldly possessions to start anew – this is the second time. The first time, being four and half years ago, having quit my job as an account executive with a global PR firm here in Phoenix to head off to graduate school. Although, that move seems to pale in comparison to the one I am about to do, as I was moving 45 minutes west, and still relatively close to my family, and still had an entire room full of clothes stowed neatly at my mom’s house in New Mexico.
Every so often, I catch myself caught up in the “WTF am I doing” train of thoughts – which, I have to cut myself some slack, as I am guessing that’s got to be pretty normal after having literally given up my entire life to move 9,000 miles east to a city that is in the heart of one of the most culturally-complex countries in the world!
What I could not fit into the three suitcases I have packed for India, I have donated or trashed – a part from the trunk filled with worldly possessions I have accumulated throughout my travels coupled with sentimental items from the past I could not bare to get rid of just yet like my varsity letterman jacket and 26-year old cabbage patch doll my mom gave me when I was just three years old. My car is temporarily in the hands of my little sister – and everything else, well, it’s just gone, donated.
As I type even, the sounds of the keyboard strokes are echoing throughout the room because there is nothing to absorb the sound. I am staring at three suitcases – but they’re not just suitcases – they are my entire life, really. I have boiled down the contents of 29 years into a few suitcases. Holy shit! But you know what – none of that really bothers me. It’s okay, it’s just stuff, I will amass more things, no doubt. And, I am not apprehensive about moving so far away. Sure I will miss my friends and my family, but I know they are just a skype phone call away. However, I can’t lie – the goodbyes to some of my friends and co-workers here in Phoenix were really quite upsetting. I will miss them… a lot!
So, back to the point – the “WTF” moments are not skepticism for marriage, or moving or consolidating my things — it’s really about my career! Can you believe it? For the last nine years – ever since I gave up my job as a lifeguard and swim instructor, and scored my very first internship with the largest conglomerate in the world – Siemens – every choice I made, every step I took was calculated in an effort to advance my career. It is so weird to type that – as I used to feel sorry for people that placed their careers ahead of everything else – but I, admittedly, was one of those people. Initially, I rose the ranks from intern to marketing team member, and it was exhilarating doing more with my career by the time I was 21, than most people had at 31. And then, what became “fun,” became a necessity, as I wrapped my own happiness in the occurrences at work. I had to succeed professionally – it was what I lived for. My parents divorced, my biological father became gravely ill – but my career was taking off, it was my outlet.
For 9 years, I have placed my career first, now, for the first time, I am placing life, love and happiness above all. I am taking a step back from the path I was on, to venture down a new path – abroad – with my best friend and love of my life. It was not an easy decision for either of us to elect this option, as he was scared I would not feel comfortable in India and would regret the decision to quit my job; and me, scared that I would not recover from this temporary break from my current career path. But, having weighed the option to be apart for an undetermined amount of time while we go through the green card process, it was just something we were not prepared to face. It’s time to move on with our lives – together!
So, as I prepare to set sail on what is sure to be one of the greatest adventures in my life, I am learning to let go of that security blanket that I have wrapped myself in for nearly a decade. It’s time to live… to REALLY LIVE, and not be bound by the shackles of safe decisions for my job. Everything will be OK. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to live and work in a booming city like Mumbai. And, it’s a decision that affords me the chance to be able to get on with my life with my soon-to-be husband sooner, rather than later. And, more importantly, even though there are still those fleeting moments of “WTF” … I know in my heart, that there is no other place I’d rather be.
So, after having spent nearly a month preparing for this big move… packing, organizing, consolidating, donating, selling, “immigration-ing,” saying goodbyes, quitting my job, and basically running around like a crazy person, I am READY. I have never been so stressed in my life, but I have also never been so excited. I have never been so scared, but I am also optimistic about all the possibilities in India. It’s a dichotomy of emotions on all levels – and poor C has faced the brunt of several emotional outbursts on my end, as sometimes I let the process get the best of me, and fight and argue with him for getting to still have a “normal” life, as I am sleeping on an air mattress, saying gbyes to friends and family and packing up my life in a handful of suitcases. Even though we made the decision together – that doesn’t change the fact that it is still difficult.
However, the time has come – 29 years of my life have prepared me for this moment – in 2 weeks I will marry my grad-school-sweetheart, and we will set sail on a new phase in life – abroad – together. And you know what, even with the stress, the goodbyes, the all around craziness, I am happy. I keep reverting back to one of my favorite quotes that seems to ring SO true in all that we are going through right now… that you have to let go of who you once were to be all that you can become. So, courageously and with C by my side, I am leaving behind familiarity and the past, I have let it go, the shoreline is about to disappear in the distance – it’s time to discover new lands – to embark on a new adventure in life – together. It won’t be easy, but nothing in life worth having is ever easy. It won’t always be roses and funny saree-shopping stories… it will be tough, it will be frustrating at times – but above all – it will be exciting – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!