A few months ago, as is typical, I became overwhelmed with the need to flee the country. Wanderlust is always rippling through my bloodstream. But, sometimes, I’ll be sitting in my wall-less cubicle, squinting under fluorescent lights to rage-read an article about Trump’s antics or the 17th reply all to an All-staff e-mail, when suddenly I become frantic.
WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE, I CAN NOT DO THIS ANYMORE, I HAVE TO GET OUT.
I think most people experience this in varying amounts and can cope rationally. Maybe they decide to start going to the gym or adopt a kitten or just have a beer after work*. My entirely rational response has usually been to uproot my entire life and move somewhere new. But this time, at the exhausted age of 34, my reaction was to book a trip to Ireland. (After all I’d just moved, again)
I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland. Sure it looks pretty, and former visitors rave about it. But let’s be honest, one of my biggest reasons was vanity. Whenever I’ve traveled abroad, I’ve received the most attention from Irishmen. No matter where I’ve gone: Thailand, Guatemala, anywhere, they find me and they make me feel pretty. So imagine a country full of them! My weary, aging ego’s dream realized. I recruited my friend Jackie as a travel buddy, and we booked our flights in June, for a late August arrival.
Sunday, April 2: The last of my New Orleans visitors flies back to Philadelphia. I miss them immediately
Monday, April 4 – Sunday, April 10: 7 day, 80 hour work week that is exhausting and defeating. I practically crawl out of the building on the 7th day.
Monday April 11- Tuesday April 12: Existential crisis ensues. My life breaks apart at the seams, jagged pieces cascading into the darkness. Just kidding, I FaceTime my mother several times and eat too much licorice. I decide I am moving back to Philadelphia. Another existential crisis. What will I do in Philly? And when can I go? And how? Should I go back to advertising? Wait what? Where did that come from? You have a Master’s in SOCIAL WORK.
Wednesday April 13: I start then later stop 5 applications for social worker positions in Philly. I spend hours on a cover letter that I never submit.
I feel suddenly compelled to send a slightly frantic message to an old friend who I worked with in advertising in Philadelphia. Unbeknownst to me, she just happens to be visiting New Orleans (!!), and offers to meet for drinks that evening. We drink wine and catch up and I pour my existential crisis all over her. Metaphorically drenched, she is insightful and encouraging and exactly what I need at the moment in my life. So is the wine. I decide to (maybe) make a(nother) career change (eventually).