Friday, November 2, 2012

Waiting for my real life to begin

Today, I filled out the ballot that my parents sent me for the upcoming general elections.  This, of course, included voting for president.  I won't go in to the details of who I voted for, sufficed to say that I don't much care for either Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama, and that the ads I've seen from both sides, as well as the debate that I watched, have caused me to despair.

What occupied much of my thought as I filled out the ballot was just how strange it was to be voting in yet another presidential election.  Last time I voted, I was in the home-stretch of my student teaching, still technically a college student.  I was in Iowa.  I was 22.  90% of the Japanese I knew was brand names.

Now I'm 26, coming up on four full years of teaching at CAJ.  It occurred to me that life abroad is all I know as a working adult.  This is my reality, and there would be a learning curve if I moved anywhere else (U.S. included).

When I moved to Japan, I more or less assumed that it would be a short stay--a brief chapter of my life.

I'll work in the LRC for 6 months and then go back to the states to start my career as a classroom teacher.

I'll teach at CAJ for three years to build up experience in an international school and then return to the states to pursue a Master's.


I still need to figure out what to do about my Master's, but the longer I've stayed in Japan, the less I want to leave.  While we're in school as children, and on through college, our lives our marked by distinct milestones that we can look ahead to at fixed points in time: moving from elementary to middle school, middle to high school; high school graduation; college graduation.

Now, there's no fixed point I'm looking ahead to; I've never broken out of the earth's orbit and simply drifted through space, but I'm guessing the feeling is similar.

Progress used to be defined by completing choreographed stages, but now the choreography is on my shoulders and I must decide what progress will mean.  I feel like I'm still waiting, as I grew so accustomed to doing in school.  What am I waiting for?  My gut instinct, as I mulled this over earlier today, was to say "real life", but "real life" started 4 years ago (26 years ago if you want to get technical).  So, why the feeling of waiting, then?

I don't have the answer to this... I just have the question, and I feel better when I put the question into writing.

Some additional questions that I can't help but wonder about:
Where will I be when I fill out my next presidential ballot?  Will I be mailing it overseas again?  Will I still be waiting for whatever it is I'm waiting for?

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