My search for purpose, employment and so many other things life has to offer occurs within unavoidable periods of transition. In most cases, the shift is both physical and mental. Physically moving the things that I need to live is an exhausting feat that a popular phrase compares to having a child and burying a loved one. For the past five years, with the help of my alma mater’s Co-op and Dialogue programs, I’ve physically moved my belongings and myself across continents about 5 times. This doesn’t count my endless moves from New York to Boston. Whilst I’ve been blessed to have experienced the opportunity to attend college and travel extensively during that time; I’ve had an unnerving feeling of instability before I ever stepped foot onto campus. I’m no army brat, but I’ve seen my fair share of moves, more than five before starting university.
The number of times I’ve transported what I considered my life, my things, from somewhere that felt like home to somewhere else began to take an emotional toll after my third move. Take a moment and think about the items you’ve accumulated that make up your life. The things that make it easier, stuff you like to collect, objects you’ve learned to live with; all with their own special place in your space. Now imagine having to pack them away. Categorize them. Place them in a hierarchy of importance. What does your new home have space for? What get tossed in the trash? Be sure not to leave anything behind!
I’d just about reached my mental limit with moving when it was time for me to start college. Up until then, I’d lost so many things I once loved and ranted about it every time I remembered. A favorite pair of shoes, childhood teddy bear, jewelry, diaries, etc. all went missing in the big move abyss. I believed my move to Boston for college would be my last (not including room changes) for the next five years or so.
Life had other plans.
I didn’t start college with the idea that I would participate in international study programs, but they became my passion. Studying and working in France, Brazil, Ghana, Singapore and England were never apart of my plan, which was to have a normal college experience in Boston and nowhere else. Living and learning abroad gives me a feeling that still can’t be matched by anything else I’ve experienced. However, in order to follow and fulfill my passion, transit is key.
This was a hard idea to comprehend and accept at first, but I’ve managed to cope and adjust accordingly. This is not to say that I feel any less anxiety or anger when I lose things in a move, or feel down about not having a space of my own to settle down at the moment. However, my coping curve has smoothed. I’ve begun to accept any bumps in the road as emotional collateral damage in exchange for living my dream.
Although transition is harrowing and endlessly frustrating, I’ve come to realize that its an unavoidable symptom of change. Change is difficult, but it’s also necessary for growth. My experience living in transit for as long as I can remember, my constant movement can be seen as hopeless instability, or endless growth leading me to my true self.
I choose to believe the latter.