End of Year Check-In

Hello friends and readers. It’s been a while. I didn’t exactly intend to be MIA for so long, but when life comes at you it comes at you fast.

Time is an illusion. Or time is in the eye of the beholder. Either way, I’ve started caring less about the Gregorian/fiscal calendar and more about my own personal timelines. The Jewish year never lines up with the Gregorian calendar, and as both a Jew/freethinking human being it’s needless to say that everyone’s chronology is different. Tonight starts Rosh Hashanah (Shana Tova to my Jews of color, I see you!), meaning a new year is upon us. Around this time in 2018, my life was pivoting and it’s now coming full circle.

The end of September is tomorrow. It was around this time last year that I finally acknowledged my need for external help. I wasn’t feeling like myself and I wanted to get back to the Myliyah I’m familiar with, the me I’ve been with since college. But after nearly a year in therapy, I’ve learned that the “me” from college is more or less done. Perhaps it comes with the territory of (young) adulthood, becoming someone else. I’ve come to realize that growth works that way. All our past selves are still there, still somewhere in our memory, standing behind us like shadows.

Attending therapy was the best decision I could’ve made for myself. I was blessed to feel a connection with my therapist after the first intake appointment. We laughed, she supported me through my tears, and she asked hard questions that forced me to consider my shortcomings and personal insecurities. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I have a better understanding of how my mind functions on the good and bad days. It’s easier for me to pull myself out of a funk; it’s easier for me to pat myself on the back. 

Last year I made a promise to myself to be in Japan by this time in 2019. It’s now 2019–the last quarter of it actually–and I’m not gearing up to move overseas. While I do have confidence in my Japanese skills, it became increasingly apparent, as time went on, that without JLPT certification on my resume it would be difficult to find work outside of English teaching. I’ve written about failing the JLPT for the second time; at a certain level I did understand that not having the JLPT on my resume would be a hindrance but I didn’t think it would be so big of an obstacle. As of right now, living in Japan is on the back burner.

I was frustrated with that realization for a couple of weeks. Luckily good ol’ therapy techniques kicked in and I talked myself out of a whirlwind of negative thoughts. I started to get excited. In a couple of years, I want to return to grad school for my MFA and the thought of being a writer teaching workshops across the globe put this wide grin on my face. Or even living in Japan for a month to work on new essays, a new book–there are so many paths I can take to get where I want to, and I shouldn’t feel limited to just one.

Admittedly, that’s an area where I do feel rather anxious. I’ve always been the kind of person to have a plan, i.e “Okay I’m going to do A, then B, then after X amount of time, C.” Life, however, had different ideas about my future, and within August I found myself saying “Well I’m going to do A and I’ll figure it out after that.” It’s interesting territory to exist in, this very grey space. I don’t like being uncertain for too long but life is a series of uncertainties; nothing is guaranteed, nothing is promised. I’m learning to get comfortable with that.

Since Japan isn’t happening right now, I needed to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I didn’t want to be home anymore. New York is my safe space; I know the city and even when I’m away from it for months or years I can return and fall right back into step. I visited Chicago last year to see a friend and lo and behold I ended up choosing it as my new home. I’ve now been here for almost a month. I have money saved up to fall back on in case I get into a pinch; I have the CTA transit card in my pocket. It was nervewracking to move without a job, but beyond diligently searching job boards I figured my early twenties is the time to embrace the lack of guarantee. That is to say, I don’t have too many things reliant upon me. Don’t confuse that with a lack of responsibility; I still pay my bills on time.

I’m excited to see what kind of new experiences this Chicago chapter will bring me. I’m going to do my best to keep an open mind, to not be so hard on myself, and to continue the development of my craft.

Here’s hoping that this time next year, I’ll be even cooler.

2 thoughts on “End of Year Check-In

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