Incremental change.

They say the beginning is always a good place to start telling a story. Most stories, however, don’t have one distinctive moment where they start. Most beginnings are creeping in, it’s when you’re nearing the end, that you’re realizing that something has begun. If I had to pinpoint the date, I’d say my journey started about two years ago, I just hand-delivered my master’s thesis, which was a bit anti-climatic. I sat on the public transportation for over an hour to deliver a 100+ pages thesis – it took maybe 7 minutes in total -, and now I was on my way back home, another hour on the public transportation.

And as I sat there, staring into the grey sky, waiting for the bus to show up, I thought to myself, now what? If I were slightly inclined to anxiety or would be dramatic, I would have probably lost all my marbles and fallen into a medium-sized depression. But I didn’t. See, if you don’t know about something, you can’t freak out about it, if that makes sense? Like, if you’ve never eaten a spoon full of Nutella in the middle of the night, you won’t crave it but if you’ve done this once or twice (or a few more times – who is counting?!), this will forever change your life.

I knew I had to do the grown-up thing and get a job, but this time I had the luxury of really figuring out what kind of job I wanted. I could really take my time and find something that I not only could do but that I wanted to do. It was also around then that the feeling of now or never came crushing down. After I had decided that I wanted to pursue a PhD and had gotten some interviews, I also received a lot of rejection and that rejection made me feel like I had a professional expiration date. How was that even possible at the supposedly start of my career, how was my expiration date even up for debate? I mean, I hadn’t even started yet, I hadn’t even gotten a chance to get off the bench yet…

It was a year of uncertainty (growing rapidly every day) and building resilience (in incremental steps). A year of, I could always do this, that, and the other, but never getting the opportunity to do what I wanted to do. And then February 2018 came around. In a matter of hours my whole idea of what life was going to be like changed dramatically. I was heartbroken for a future that I thought was supposed to be. But I was filled with excitement for a future that was riddled in so much uncertainty… You know, how they say, the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Well, I got an inkling that my future would be the opposite of that, doing something different every day and not being expected to go mad.

In May 2018, the physical journey started and I initiated my move to Ireland. I jumped head first into frigid ice-cold water, being pulled down by ankle weights and desperately trying to stay at the surface as to not drown. I splashed so hard, frantically trying to breath, and was terrified beyond words. It was horrific on so many levels, physically and mentally, I have no idea why anyone would ever do this to themselves willingly. But see, what I didn’t realize is that I was wearing a BCD (also known as a buoyancy control device), a tank, flippers, a mask, had a breathing regulator in my hand, all I had to do is put the regulator in and breath normally. (If none of this made sense to you – this is your necessary scuba gear to safely dive.) Really, all I needed to do was to allow the experience to wash over me…

And just like that, a year has passed. A year filled of existential fear only to realize that I will absolutely fine one way or another. A year filled of traumatic hardship, making me understand that my incremental resilience building has at least given me a certain capacity to cope. A year filled with amazing opportunities, making me excited to work even harder. A year filled with breathtaking memories, both professionally and personally. This past year (as I mentioned a million times before) has not been easy, but it forced me to grow, allowed me to change both incrementally and in major ways, and this last year has offered me the opportunity to explore who I really was, am, and will be.

So, here’s to incremental change over the last 12 months…

May 2018

May 2018

June 2018

June 2018

July 2018

July 2018

August 2018

August 2018

September 2018

September 2018

October 2018

October 2018

November 2018

November 2018

December 2018

December 2018

January 2019

January 2019

February 2019

February 2019

March 2019

March 2019

April 2019

April 2019

May 2019

May 2019

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