Use Your Wings
USE YOUR WINGS.
Several days ago I was driving around suburban Winston-Salem when a crow walked in front of the car and I nearly hit it. I yelled at it, “Use your wings!” like any road-rage filled driver would shout at another driver who can’t hear them. Obviously the crow didn’t hear me and escaped in the nick of time like birds always do. The lesson was lost on him, but after I said it, I decided to adopt it as my current life mantra.
(Side note: I’ve completely changed my blog address and name and there are a lot of bird metaphors. I don’t even really like birds. But it fits.)
See, North Carolina has grounded me in a lot of ways. I needed to clear my head and sit still for a while. I crossed the Atlantic three times in the past six months. Big decisions have taken a lot out of me and I’ve felt like a shell of my former self for a while. I spent all summer on the go and have been living out of a suitcase for nearly five months, not counting the short time I had a closet in my dorm room at camp in Berkeley. Even coming back to my hometown, I never unpacked. (My mom took over most of my closet with her 50 pairs of various colored khakis. Really mom?) I’ve had a lot of time to think, get in touch with my creative side, rediscover my roots, and spend time with my parents.
This time has shown me the ways that I do and don’t fit with my family’s lifestyle. I appreciate my parents taking me in and putting up with my frequent grouchiness (and me eating all the peanut butter). I see things to aspire to – home ownership, frugal living, fixing things, and living a fairly peaceful existence. I don’t see eye to eye on their politics/spirituality/combination of the two- American Christianity, if you will. I generally leave those topics alone with them and let them have their opinions. I can now, as a slightly more mature adult, live in peace with people with vastly different opinions from my own. While quietly and observantly living here, it has become clear that either a) I’ve just been away too long, or b) this isn’t the place where my adult life belongs. Both? I could choose to make a life for myself here and accept the frustrations. I will consider it again at some point. Now just isn’t the right time. Oh, and apparently North Carolina is a breeding ground for terrorists. Murica. Yeah.
Here I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of time to think, plan, and write in my journal. Ugh, planning. I’m such a planner that I almost had apartment furniture bought in my second week here- all neatly arranged in a spreadsheet. Yes, a spreadsheet for my furniture- hey, I need to track my potential future spending, okay? But I’ve kept my impulses in check and have not bought any furniture, not even the fabulous blue sofa. In addition to spreadsheet making, I’ve been reading A LOT of life coaching and lifestyle blogs. I guess TV just isn’t my thing, but give me Mark Manson, The Simply Luxurious Life, Marc and Angel Hack Life, or Becoming Minimalist and I’ll be glued to the internet for hours. Somewhere in all my reading I learned the idea of “auditing” yourself. When faced with an idea, ask yourself WHY? And for whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself WHY? again. Keep going, four or five times. It’ll be sure to give you some clarity or even just a starting point. For example: I’m going to apply to work in North Carolina government. Why? I need a job and I’m qualified for many of their admin positions. Why? For the money and benefits. Why? To pay for owning a car and renting an apartment. Why? To live in the Raleigh area. Why? It’s kinda sensible and some of my friends live here. (Do I love it? Meh. It’s alright.)
But even while trying to carve out an independent life for myself here, Plan B has been brewing. Upon tons of reflection I started to see that Spain is a place I aspire to live again. As soon as that realization clicked into place, I immediately started hustling – looking for freelance work, grocery store cashier jobs, researching anything (literally anything – including donating eggs) that would help me get there in the near future. Spain motivates me like no other. Fortunately a company called Lingo Live selected me to start giving paid English classes online, so I’ve kept my eggs for now. While making that money, I received word of some opportunities in Spain that got my attention. English teaching of course. I’ve realized that I truly miss and enjoy the work, and hopefully I can come up with a better work-life balance in the next phase. Soon I received confirmation that I’d been accepted to an elementary school in a small city of A Coruña, Galicia, in the northwestern pocket of the country. A little trip to Portugal may even happen this year! If not, I know I can enjoy Galicia to the fullest because it has amazing food, landscapes, and people.
So the decision wasn’t all that hard. I’ve decided to use my wings and go for it. That crow knew I just needed a little validation. Thanks buddy.