As I walked home from work last week, I listened to my iPod on shuffle. An eclectic taste in music combined with a 60 gig listening device results in a musical cache almost too diverse and vast to navigate. When I find myself unable to make a musical choice to match my mood, I put the 8000+ songs on shuffle.
My iPod has been living on shuffle the past few weeks.
I feel this is a musical manifestation of my emotions lately. Tomorrow marks the beginning of our final week living in Japan. I am elated to be moving back to my city on The Lake and to be once again near to my family and friends. On the other hand, I am feeling melancholy. Melancholy to leave my international community of dear friends, my little Japanese town, my life of international adventure.
As I sift and sort through this myriad of emotions, I consistently come back to this one emotion: gratefulness. I am so grateful that I have had this remarkable life experience. Grateful for the friends I have made. Grateful for the things I have learned. I have changed (for the better, I think) a considerable amount since living abroad. For this too, I am grateful.
Major life changes can be bitter sweet; I like to focus on the sweet. Although leaving our friends and community in Japan is difficult, I can’t help but stay positive. My life has been so enriched by my experiences and friends over the past three years that I cannot be sad.
The feeling I had when I graduated from university is similar to what I am feeling now. I was ready then to graduate and move on to my new adventures of marriage and moving abroad. Now, I am ready to graduate again. I am ready to move forward to my next phase of life and discover new adventures, challenges, and experiences.
And so I take a breath, count to three, and take the plunge into the next pool of life.