Getting Hit With a Sledgehammer is Sometimes Needed

I've certainly been feeling better and less vertigo-y, which puts me in a better mood overall. I've even been able to drink a cup of coffee or two (my favorite drug).

Also, I've started work as a temp at a prominent university in San Diego. This has the possibility of leading to something permanent, so we'll see. And that has me thinking a lot about San Diego, and if it feels like home yet. Honestly, I think about such things too much, and I'm still overly nostalgic over Europe.

This prompted me to ask the ever-so-wise Ashley for some advice on the matter. Ashley writes an online advice column called Dear Salt. Not surprisingly, she gave me good advice. I asked:

I’ve recently come back from living abroad and I’m having a difficult time adjusting and appreciating my current surroundings. Living abroad gave me this sense of freedom and control that made me feel fiercely independent. I also know I have a problem with being too nostalgic. I want to learn to see the good around me, and not just scour the cheap ticket sites for the next plane to jump on. What are your recommendations for learning to love what’s here? And is this a sign that I should go back?

She gave me an answer that's been sticking with me the last few weeks. Which means it's a great response that hits home like a freakin' sledgehammer. The sledgehammer part being:

"...deciding to be happy where you are is not the same as choosing to stay there forever. You don’t have to hate a place to leave it. Making the most of this experience will probably improve your next experience abroad rather than detract from it." 

I'm so guilty of this! I make myself hate a place in order to give myself permission to leave it. This does a disservice to San Diego, my family, my friends and mostly, myself. The thing is, life is life no matter where I am living. I can choose to evolve in SD, or I can choose to remain stagnant. The choice has little to do with the city, and more to do with me.

The attractive thing about moving abroad is that you get a new identity. No one has put you into a mold yet, and so you feel free. This is not a good or bad thing, but it's a thing. So, coming back to your hometown after living abroad is way more complicated. I've changed a bit from living in London; thus, coming back to a place where there is a mold for me is the hardest part of all.

I'm pretty sure I'm the one that's made that mold. But I guess I can leave that thought for another post. From here on out, I want to focus on moving forward, which doesn't always mean moving locations (and there's that sledgehammer again).


  1. What amazing advice. My brother once told me something similar when I was fed up with school, roommates and friends. I wanted to pack up and move. He told me I could run all I wanted but my problems would still find me - just in a new city.
    And how applicable is her advice to nearly EVERY life situation?! We force ourselves to hate our situations. Our jobs, our body, or routine, etc. In hopes that finding something new will make it all magically better. Happiness is a choice. Thank you (and other Ashley :)) for the reminder.

  2. That Salt is so wise. Seriously.

  3. Sometimes all you need is a complete outsider perspective to see straight. I'm interested to know what you'll end up doing in the future though (to stay or not to stay?). Also, I'm glad you're feeling better! I know very little about vertigo, but it sounds like a real pain.

    1. I'm interested to know, myself! But I'm learning to allow myself to live as happily as I can while I'm in a transitional phase :) Let's just say I'm open to opportunity.

  4. I like this post. Thank you for writing it and sharing the DS post. It's something I take a lot from ... from my own little backwards perspective.

  5. I like your words and this post especially. It is good to always remember that the world is based a lot on how you choose to face it.

  6. I decided one day at a job I didn't love that I had two options: To grow where I was planted until it was time to be moved to a different pot or I could uproot everything and be unsure of what I wanted or where I was going.

    I chose to grow where I was planted and it allowed me to do many things because I had free time on my hands with a steady (although not huge) paycheck. It got me into blogging more, teaching and exploring other hobbies and I realized that where I was was actually just fine, it was WHO I was that needed to be adjusted.

    I think you know how the blogging thing worked out, it brought me Frank and several other fun friends and experiences. The teaching and other hobbies? Let's just say they're working out pretty well themselves.

    1. I know exactly what you're saying. Although, the difference with me is, I really love it...I love being an expat in different countries. I love living in different places. I'm still up for moving one day, but I'm working on being content with where I am currently and not always looking to the future. I could stay in San Diego and be just fine, but I still have a desire to be, see and live in other places.

  7. Ashley! You have no mold, Marvin has been gone for years!! oh....THAT MOLD. hahaha j/k ;) On a more serious note, no one really has a mold. I think we might try to make one for ourselves because it's easier and people will get used to expecting certain things from us.

    Truth is, if we don't like that "mold" we can easily change it. After all, it's up to us! You never have been a mold in my mind, just think about how much we have changed in the last 10 years!! Yes, 10 years!! You have been to Turkey, all over Europe, many different jobs....whether or not you have noticed....you are different than you were. I haven't moved much, and gosh I think I am a different person too.

    I think the hard part is feeling like we have to put down roots or run the risk of "uprooting" (as said above) and starting all over and over and over. Both should be okay options in this world, but we are given this sense that we have to STAY PUT or we are not normal.....

    Even I have a hard time making up my mind...where are we going to live one day? Do we want to stay in California? Or do we try something else?

    Stupid brains.....make life so difficult ;)