That Tricky Balancing Act

Between stability and growth, there’s a kind of balancing act that I’m convinced only trained circus animals can do. Walking precariously on a wire between wanting change in your own life and finally being satisfied with where you are… it’s almost impossible. At least for me personally, it’s the struggle I seem to meet again and again.

Every six or so months, I’m faced with a moment where I have a choice. I’ve finished some internship, fellowship or university degree and I find myself torn. Here I am: content with some measurable degree of friendship and happiness in my life based upon a good routine (and we all know I thrive with my rules and routines). I’m happy with a yoga studio, a gym, a job. On the whole, things seem stable. And then an opportunity arises. I have the chance to do something exciting or new with my life. Of course I seize upon it with both hands! What kind of me would I be otherwise?

So again – I’m faced with uncertainty. Moving to a new city, forced to make new friends and put in a situation where I’m not so sure what I’m meant to do – it’s a lot. Being an expat is, as I described to a close friend, being a foreign country far away from people you love and without the kind of stabilizing presence that home offers. Sigh. Then again, I can’t say I don’t bring these things upon myself.

I love walking that line, caught between wanting the comforts of the familiar and craving the hardship and challenges that moving and expat-transitioning life can provide. There’s no question it’s a tricky line. Sometimes I find myself at home, lonely, surrounded by chocolate boxes, and too stubborn to reach out for help and companionship. Other times, I feel so exhilarated that I walk around for hours just marvelling at a new city and culture that my endorphins are at some unheard-of peak.

This month is again one of those moments. I’m finishing up my internship in the Hague and moving up north to Groningen – a city where I’m planning on studying for my Masters in International Security. I can’t wait to go back to school and be forced again to balance school, Sub Stances, yoga,  and all the assorted things that I take on. But I’m also kind of sad. Over the last month, I’ve finally felt like at home in the Hague.

How I like to differentiate between the different kind of moves is what kind of emotions I get when the train departs the station (metaphorically or literally). When it’s a good move, I might be sad but on the most part, there’s no tears. I feel intrinsically that this is a step forward, where I’m going to better myself. There haven’t been any tears although I am sad to leave friends and a job where I actually enjoyed going to work and felt like I was making an impact.

Change is always bittersweet. As a child, it was my least-favoured emotion but as an adult – I find myself eager, albeit a bit nervous. Luckily, I especially like bittersweet chocolate – so I’ll take that as some small sign that change is in my blood and taste buds – and I’ll keep on asking for it.

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