Still interested? Let’s get a bit more juicy.
The winter of 2019 was a karmic, symbolic experience punishment. For the past two years, I had, theoretically, skipped a real winter. (FYI Florida gets colder than you think, but it was still above freezing the entire time. Malaysia was just wet.) Keep in mind, I am not the Elsa type. I am a Vata (it’s an Ayurvedic term, look it up). I do not like the cold. I do not like being cold. I do not thrive in cold, dark environments. I want it far, far away from me.
Every time another snowstorm hit, or the temperature dropped below -20 degrees F, I truly believed the weather was penalizing me for having skipped my fair share of bad weather. I considered it a personal punishment, and at one point I even felt guilty—GUILTY—for having caused one of the most awfulest, heart-crushingest winters of my life.
Isolated by icy white blankets, miserable by the lack of the sun and its rejuvenating energy, I couldn’t keep my head above a deep sea of negative thoughts. Nothing mattered anymore. I went through the motions of work and meals, and not much else. I was overwhelmed by my past. I couldn’t see into the future.
The present moment was the existential equivalent of resting bitch face—unpleasant to look at without knowing why.
What I did know is that I had 5 months left to figure out my next move. I also knew that staying in Chicago was not good for me. I considered Colorado and Arizona (seriously), Hawaii and Costa Rica (less seriously). I was even getting desperate enough to go back to my old job in Florida--thank God for my best friend, who reminded me that job wasn’t good for my mental health either.
(Side note: I’ve learned that quitting a job is just like a break up. Don’t go back. Especially if you think they’ve changed. Just don’t.)
April 2019, and still no God-given answer on a location. I wavered between states of wishing I would die and forcing myself to try harder to be happy. I didn’t want to be an emotional burden to my family and friends. I didn’t want to be so self-centered anymore, because coping with a constant feeling of impending doom kind of takes up all of the time you would otherwise give to others.
Several months back, my parents had planned a trip to Poland, and I was invited. But here’s where it gets interesting. I decided not to come back with them. I had traveled alone before, but this time I was reaching out into the corners of seven different cities. I was casting out a line, waiting for a place that would sing to me, soothe me in my misery. Dramatic? Yes. True? Also, yes. The closer I got to My Grand Europe Trip of 2019, the more I depended on it to give me answers, and restart my perspective on life.
And sometimes, my dear friends, you get exactly what you ask for.