Losing Myself There to Find Myself Here

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Life has a tendency to throw a curve ball our way from time to time.
I like to think of these as opportunities to grow but that is easier said than done.
It is easy to become negative and distraught when we face unexpected difficulties and that my friends, is exactly what happened to me.

A few months ago I embarked on what was supposed to be a 9 month journey in Sydney, Australia.
Clearly, I am not there. I am here, living happily in Charlotte, North Carolina. So, what happened?

To answer that question I am going to start way back in the early months of 2015. Somewhere around that time I decided to continue my career as an Outdoor Educator at YMCA Camp Hanes. When I returned to camp I had no idea I would be put in a role that would really allow me to grow. As the only returning OE from the previous season, I was faced with the challenge to lead. Being a leader is honestly something I have struggled with in the past. By the end of the season my skills had grown a tremendous amount, allowing me to land the position of Climber Leader for the summer months.

In this position I was able to use my new found confidence to lead counselors through a summer of camp. This was hands down the hardest work I have ever done. I truly enjoyed getting to help counselors create an incredible camp experience for their kids. While I am thankful for the work I was able to do, I felt that something was missing. As I reviewed the summer's happenings I realized that in this leadership role I was working much more with counselors than campers. I took a good look at the career path I was on and came to understand that if I continued at camp, I would continue to have less direct time working with kids.

Even with this new realization, I was still headed off to Australia to work at camp. I brushed it off by telling myself it will be fine because it is Australia and I have always wanted to travel. I stuck to my original plans and before I knew it I was on another continent. While there, everything seemed to fall apart at a rapid pace. I never felt at home. I felt like something was wrong, like something was missing. I realized I had put myself in a position that was exactly what I had just decided I wanted to move away from. I felt lost and confused. It felt as though my entire life was falling apart. It was as though the rug had been yanked out from under my feet and I was lying there with no sense of direction. To put it simply, I had completely lost myself.

Deciding to return home was a decision that brought on a lot of self blame. What would people think of me? I barely lasted a week and to the outside world it looked as if it were all sunshine and rainbows. It was an incredibly difficult situation I had found myself in and navigating my way through it seemed impossible. I made it home. I was a mess. I managed to pull together a tentative plan that got me to Charlotte, NC. I quickly came to the conclusion that teaching may be a better career path for me. I landed a job and found an apartment. A little while later I accepted another position as a Teacher Assistant in first grade. This job has truly allowed me to see that I absolutely do want to teach.

My life has been a constant continuance of planning since I got back. It has been stressful but each day gets a little bit easier as I make progress towards my future. I now have a clear pathway towards my future endeavors. I plan to attend UNCC and obtain my teaching certificate and masters degree in elementary education.

I have once again found myself. I have a career goal, I have a future. I am also living out a dream I have always had. I am living in a large city, something I have dreamed of since I was a kid. While the constant planning continues, I am starting to be able to enjoy living in Charlotte. I can honestly say I am happy here. I cannot say I saw this change coming but I am glad it did.

Like I said before, I like to think of the obstacles in our life as opportunities to grow. I feel as though I have done just that. As much as it pains me to say this, I have grown up. Now do not get the wrong idea, my life motto is still, "never grow up" but I am learning how to implement that lifestyle even with my newfound responsibilities. I feel as though everything that has happened in my life up to this point has truly prepared me for the journey I am about to begin. I am excited and ready to move forward with my life.

As I move towards tomorrow, I am putting the past to rest. I do not regret going to or leaving Australia. It was an incredible experience and I am finally learning the life lessons the trip had in store for me. Sometimes we must lose ourself to find ourself. While the last few months have been incredibly tough, I am so thankful for the bumps along the way. I am standing strong now. I am ready for life's next big journey. I will never grow up and I will do my best to always have fun no matter what curve balls life throws at me.

I am strong. I am brave. I am courageous. I am enough.
It is time to live out my dreams and I will go through whatever challenges I must to do so.

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