Feb. 9th, 2014 04:19 pm
37 days until Japan.

While I've been looking on Instagram at some people's photos of cute food, drink, sweets, and meals in Japan... I just now realized something. I've been so busy stressing and freaking out about money and things to do that even until now, just about a month before I leave, and certifiably five weeks before my last day of work, that I haven't spent pretty well any time being happy or excited. I'm always worried, always stressed, always unhappy about it. I'm sure my parents don't really see this as a good sign, and I'm sure they see me as ungrateful for the opportunity (like I'm certain many of my friends do too), but I'm not. At all. And I wish they would understand. It's extremely difficult for me not to be overwhelmed and stressed about the whole situation because when things are beyond my control or I don't/can't immediately understand them (or look up how to understand them, lol) I get very anxious and uncomfortable.

Here. Let me give you a metaphor. Imagine you take an animal who is more a "flighter" than a fighter, say a deer for example. And you take that deer, who has lived its whole life in a habitat not so well-suited for it, say on the outskirts of a busy city and pollutants, etc. This animal has a very sensitive reception to the world around it, as the nature of deer do, and you throw it in a brand new environment (or, if you could, instead even further increase the anxiety by effectively telling it before the shift happens that it's going into a brand new environment and has to deal with everything at home and has to say goodbye to everyone even if not forever and that it won't easily understand anyone or anything despite any lifelong preparations and nothing is guaranteed)... You wouldn't go; "God, that deer is so ungrateful for the great life and opportunity it has," even if the new environment is perfectly suited for it, and you've worked so hard to help it get there. Eventually you know that deer is going to be much better off, and the deer, if it could consciously do so, once settled would very much thank you for it. Instead you would probably go; "Wow, that's a big move for that little guy, I hope he adjusts okay and that he enjoys his new home!" ...Which, as you know will probably happen, but will still be scary for that deer in the meantime.

Meanwhile, there are other animals who have a more extroverted/adaptive personality naturally, that you wouldn't worry about quite as much. Like a dog, for example. If you were able to tell a dog with good temperament that "Oh hey you're going to this new home, and it'll be better suited for you, even though you have to get through this stuff first, etc." that dog would probably be excited from the get-go and be a lot less worried about possible outcomes and managing everything, he'd just let things go and hope it all worked out.

I am much more like that deer than that dog.

It is incredibly difficult for me to just "relax and go with the flow". If you ask me how I'm feeling about Japan, I'm likely to say "stressed, overwhelmed, and worried". Right now those factors have an incredibly strong grip on me. But it doesn't mean that I'm not excited, looking forward to it, or that I don't want to go--not even close. I am definitely all those things, and every single day I'm on the internet looking at places I want to go, to see, how I want to set up my room, what are the most effective things for making a study space at home, thinking about school supplies, meeting new people, finding new connections... yes! I'm very excited and looking forward to it but I'm also extremely anxious, and it's hard to tune that out. I'm an introvert by nature so I ask a lot of "what ifs". It's not always constructive, I know. And I express myself way better through writing, especially in a world that doesn't always let me get my thoughts out properly with how quickly everyone talks and how loudly, also. I prefer to give people a chance to fully hear me when they have a moment to actually take it in; otherwise I feel pretty ignored by the world around me. At least here, in North America, where everyone is loud and boisterous and extroverted. It's not the same everywhere, and that's another reason I'm looking forward to moving. I imagine it more like a forest of grazing deer with a few interruptions than a bustling inner-city dog park.

Yes, I'm looking forward to it. I know my friends and family can't always tell (or depending on how they perceive things or if/how they listen, sometimes can't tell at all) but I am. I don't show it in a way that's easy to recognize but here's a tip: If I'm fretting over it, it means a lot to me, which means I care, which means it's very important, which means I'd be really, really upset if it didn't get to happen. I can't wait to go!! That's difficult for me to even write down because then a crushing weight of "but you still have aaaallll this stuff to worry about" comes down like an anvil but it's just because I like to have control over my affairs and right now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Here's another useful life example: I hate flying, but wanted desperately to be a fighter pilot before I found out my eyes wouldn't be allowing for it. What's the difference? I'm in control, or not. I'll be fine! I'm working through it as best I can!

I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing a much happier version of me coming to a Skype screen near you in the very near future.



January 2015

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