Different state of mind

A lesson I learned in Ireland: you can't escape your own head.

As much as you may wish that the presence of fresh baguettes or drizzling rain or cafes on every corner will free you of worry and woe, the truth is that it may - and probably will - not. I had this mindset. A change of scenery does you good, they say. And though this is certainly true for those who are simply bored of their well-traveled circumstances, it is not for those whose discomfort arises from their own inner demons. Maybe I didn't realize it till I was on the plane. Or till I laid in bed for three days straight during winter study week, surviving on biscuits and water.

This new bedroom, this new city, this "new me" (I had chosen a brand-new nickname with which to call myself) was not doing the trick. I still had the same negative thoughts as before, the same self-punishing mental tendencies. Just in a new place.

The world - in its purest sense, as a malformed sphere on which to exist - can't save you. Moving away and coming back nine months later helped me realize what I really needed to thrive. Motivation, companionship, sunshine. Talking out my thoughts on forums such as these (I'm bad at keeping a journal), decorating my room with everything that represents me (I couldn't accumulate stuff abroad - that would be silly), going for late night drives with an epic soundtrack (I didn't have a car in Ireland).

Distancing myself from what I thought were causes of my restlessness and lack of motivation also left me stranded from the very things that made me happy. And I was left a little bit broken, of my own doing. I suppose the lesson here is to firstly, count your blessings and secondly, realize that being in a new place will change you - just perhaps not in the way you expected or hoped for. Which is not to say you shouldn't do it; quite the contrary. Leaving parts of myself behind in Oklahoma meant I learned more about myself abroad than I thought I could've. And those parts were still waiting for me when I returned, ready to be pieced back together to make me whole again.

Elena

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