It’s a bit of a strange phenomenon; sometimes the more one time has, the less that actually gets done.
At least, such would be a good way to sum up the relationship between the last two months and this blog of mine. Many a day has passed where I have had more than enough time to take a seat and write out a minor reflection or just a few lines on some recent happenings. Coincidentally enough many a day has passed where I have lazed about watching Law and Order marathons, or whittled away hour after hour diving deep into the infinite well of procrastination-fodder that is censorship-free American internet.
The rather unstructured life of one in transition is certainly something that requires quite a bit of ability to handle properly. Then again, almost by definition such periods are never supposed to be a walk in the park, and difficulty usually follows along like a tail on a dog. When one switches from one stage of life to the next, frustration, impatience, mental exhaustion and their other cohorts are always there to make sure that the going still feels difficult, even in times of actual and persistent objective progress.
I guess I should be able to be thankful that I can at least recognize all of that. After all, such periods are something that every person goes through at some stage in their life, and I just happen to finally be entering mine. Still though, even with all that kept in mind, that doesn’t mean that the going still hasn’t felt tough at times. When all is said and done, I still just spent two years of my life living and working in the middle of Manchuria at a provincial-level medical college, and I now suddenly find myself back home where I started with a less than clear of idea about what the next step is.
Being almost a stereotypical over-practical and hyper-productive north easterner, it didn’t really help that only after about two weeks rest I tried to get right on board seeking full-time employment. As a result, I only ended up serving myself some over-generous portions of anxiety and frustration before a family friend finally pointed out to me that simply put, I was still undergoing a fierce case of burn out.
Heaven forbid I ever admit that something was wrong, but as a little self-searching quickly proved, that was indeed the case. Not surprisingly, I just wasn’t in condition after a year straight of advanced medical English classes taught in a distant corner of a far away country regularly swept by Siberian winds for half of every year. Yes, I have grown, learned and matured by leaps and bounds the size of which I never expected when I first sent by application for the program that fateful February two years ago. However, at the same time I've also been exhausted and worn out in ways that I honestly did not forsee, nor wanted to admit at first. After all, I just put in my two years abroad; who says that a little bit of mental, emotional and physical weariness can even begin to think of trying to take me down a bit?
Well, reality apparently thinks so.
Despite my initial reluctance, I had to come to terms with the fact that for once, maybe I do need a bit of rest, especially considering the fact that this time, Unlike the last two times back in the northeastern United State, I am not temporarily taking a break from my work as an adjunct faculty member of Jilin Medical College; that part of my life has come to an end. I’m back at home for an undefined chunk of time adjusting to a full-time life back in the states, and that's a process that involves everything from re-learning to drive to understanding where I fit in exactly over here.
Transition, “in between things”, a sabbatical; call it whatever you will. No matter what name you give it, it is certainly an....interesting period that I am going through at the moment, one of both simultaneous recuperation, readjustment, and a serious discernment process the likes of which I have never had to encounter before. Like everyone else, I’m sure I will get through this; as long as I eventually recognize a goal, cultivate the confidence to pursue it and the much-needed patience to ensure that anything actually gets done, I will hopefully be on the exact track I'm being called to be in the near-future.
Until then though, for the first time in my life, the next stage is nowhere close to being clearly defined. I wish Webster's Dictionary contained a word that meant both “liberating” and “terrifying”, because now would be as good as any to have such a descriptive tool at my disposal.