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  • On living abroad and vulnerability...

    It seems that my last few posts on this blog have been about the cycle of life - dealing with the deaths of my grandmother and great aunt. 5 weeks home in the United States this summer have helped me process these losses and gain clarity on where it all fits at this stage in my life.  This past year has often felt like mercury in retrograde - EVERY. DAY.  I have never felt so metaphysically challenged in the 5 years I've been living abroad.  This is that lull/dip in the expat roller coaster ride that you read about and understand intellectually, but never really know what it is like until you experience it for yourself. The passing of these extremely influential women and realising that my parents/aunts/uncles and my own generation are now moving up in our respective generational levels were just small parts in this cathartic process.  

    I won't delve into deep details, but my last job just wasn't a good fit.  The anxiety surrounding this seems to be magnified tenfold when you're abroad. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was anxious over minute things and not my usual "even-keeled" self. I stopped listening to music regularly. I stopped cooking. I stopped writing and taking pictures.  I stopped doing a lot of things that made "me"..."ME". Fortunately, I have a great support network, but there were many days where I felt alone.  When this feeling started to become the norm, I knew that it was time to switch things up even if THAT process was scary without any predictable outcome.

    So how did I get through it? I allowed myself to feel.

    I was scared, sad, angry, happy, etc.  and I talked to my loved ones about it.  In hindsight, it probably would've been helpful to get a few therapy sessions in and I'll keep that in mind for next time. 

    When I saw my grandmother one last time in March, it wasn't just me saying goodbye to her. It very much felt like the end of my "letting go" process of my experience here in Bangkok.  It helped me realise that no matter where I am in the world, many things that cause these emotional dips are so trivial compared to the relationships we have with people in our lives - family, friends, significant others, etc.  Thinking about her and her long life well-lived also reminded me that it is totally okay to feel sad and unhappy and I was fully in charge of what happens to me next, on my own terms.

    Embracing vulnerability growth.