To be honest, I wish I could say that I had some kind of beautiful epiphany somewhere half way across the world and that suddenly upon my return my life magically fell into place. I can't do that. And, if I am completely honest, I never expected that to happen. I am a little more of a realist. Its not that I am some kind of eternal pessimist, its just that I was raised on working for what you want, and getting what you deserve as a result. I know that there will always be things in your life that knock you down, and the key is to get back up and keep plugging forward. Things don't just happen because you go on a trip and do some soul searching. Its a good basis for sure, but its not going to propel you into that next phase of life where suddenly everything is skittles and rainbows. What I can say I got out of my trip is this: (1) The pride and self-gratification I got out of fulfilling a life-long dream of traveling the world, and the confidence to know that I not only survived, but excelled on my own. I can handle anything life throws at me. (2) New friendships spanning the globe, with people of all difference cultures, ages and religions. This fills my soul with so much warmth and hope. With all of the bad you hear on the news these days I can attest to the good, compassionate, fun, brilliant people in the world, and I am lucky to have made a connection with a few of those people. (3) A greater understanding of myself and what I want out of life. I still need to spend time figuring out how to get there, and it will take some time, but I know for sure that living life within the lines and boundaries set by society is not going to cut for me.
So, for everyone interested in what I have been doing since my return to the States in October, here it is. Its nothing profound, but I'm taking lifes hits and moving forward towards whatever lies ahead for me.
I spent 2 1/2 months upon my return in Florida, catching up with my college buddies, attending 2 of my best friends weddings, and earning a little bit of money selling handbags and housewares at Macy's department store. In mid-December I drove 16 hours straight, in the new car my parents so graciously bought for me, back home to New Jersey, where I settled in for the holidays to my old room in my parents home. For New Years I stayed with one of my friends up in NYC for a week. It was so great to catch up with all of my friends again, and it definitely made me miss the city life.
While I was traveling, back in early spring time last year, my Grandmother had a terrible fall, which accelerated her onslaught dementia. My parents, and more specifically my Mother has taken it upon herself to care for my Grandmother full time instead of putting her into a home or care facility. It has been incredibly hard on her, and so for 2 months through Dec-Jan I have been doing whatever I could to ease her hardships. This is one of those knock down moments, and it is a hit that I have been more than willing to take. My Mom is my hero for what she has endured, and her compassion continues to floor me. I can't even explain how difficult it is to watch someone you love so much deteriorate in front of your eyes into someone you hardly recognize. I want so much to be able to do more for my Grandma and my Mom, but I cannot continue to linger in my childhood home much longer. I'm already beginning to feel stagnant, and the loneliness and winter blues have been slowly taking hold. I need to feel again like my life is moving forward. While still lending my emotional support I feel like I must move on.
Two days ago, I made the decision to move into my parents shore house in Ocean City, NJ. Being that its February, and one of the coldest winters I can remember, you can only imagine how desolate and quiet it is in this sleepy little beach town. I am giving myself one month of isolation to concentrate on my writing, which has been a passion of mine since before I can remember. I would love to eventually make it a part of my life, and maybe even earn an income off of it. I have 3 novels and a website in the works but have had a hard time moving any of them forward. This seems ridiculous. If this is my passion, as I claim it to be, how am I dragging my feet. A writer writes everyday, or damn near close to it. I can't even begin to call myself a writer unless I step it up. I know this month of isolation is not sustainable, but I am hoping it will give me a real shot at kick-starting my writing, and getting me into a more productive mindset. At the end of the month I will be getting a job, and work on building back up my bank account, while keeping up with my daily writing practice.
The future...who knows what it will bring. I have so many scenarios in my head and only time will tell which road I will take. Another extended trip overseas, my divemasters certification, going back to school and earning my MFA in creative writing, going back home to help care for my Grandma, move to Florida, get my book published, getting a teaching degree, moving to the Western US. All I know is that wherever I end up, I will be doing something I love, enjoying every day, and continue traveling down the never ending road called life.