November 18th, 2016 – 10 Months Before
“I feel like I’m living a double-life.”
This is the statement I’ve started and ended every weekend with this school year. During the week, I’ve been teaching my 6th graders by day, rushing home and completing grad school coursework by night, barely time to breathe. Weekends are my space to catch up, and most importantly, to wake up for 48 hours to the dream that Kevin and I have been kindling for the past 18 months.
We are going to live abroad. We are going to live abroad for at least a year. We are letting go of the status quo.
At 26, every step of our lives has been the next step that “made the most sense.” Graduated high school: check. Graduate undergrad: check. First real jobs: check. Grad school: check. Get married: check (that one I’d argue was more than just because it made sense 😉 ). 4 years after undergrad, rounding our 8th year in Champaign, Illinois, we’re wrapping up grad school and at a turning point: follow continue on this path or try something new.
I’ve wanted to live abroad post-college for as long as I could remember. I love immersing myself in new culture and challenging my world perspective. Now, in my mid-twenties, I also want to do it because I want to know what else is out there—both in terms of culture and lifestyle. I feel like I’ve been running full speed ahead my whole life, and that it’s time to stop, take stock, and look at all the paths there are to take. Maybe I’ll land back on the path I’ve been running; or maybe I’ll find something I could never have imagined. Either way, I need perspective, and I know I’m not going to get it going through doing life the same way I always have.
One of the strangest things about all of this is that none of the people I see every day have any idea that those are our plans for next year. That’s probably the biggest source of the double-life feeling. It feels like sprinting towards the end of a cliff, pretending like we don’t see that the drop-off is approaching.