I have an idea of what the content of this blog will be like, but like I said- I am all over the place all of the time so who knows where it will end up. But let’s go with the idea that I can stay on task, and talk about the “what”. Graduating from college and figuring out what the next stage of my life will be, going through a messy breakup from a long relationship, and the decision to move far from home and the process of making that happen.
Graduating from college is really starting to freak me out. I’ve never been in love with my school or extremely passionate about my college experience, so I’ve been ready to graduate for a long time. I have so many friends that freak out about graduating because they loved their time in college so much and aren’t ready to let it go. For me, I definitely don’t feel that way about leaving, but I am starting to feel differently about it. Being in college sometimes feels like kind of an excuse to not grow up and have my parents still take care of me from a couple hundred miles away. Now, I know that I’ve still gone and gotten myself a degree and my parents didn’t TOTALLY hold my hand through it- but let’s face it. I haven’t been roughing it for the past 4 ½ years, I don’t know real struggle, and I do know this isn’t “the real world”. Finishing college means that I don’t have a reason to rely on parents and I am at the point where in the next year or so, the norm would be for me to start my career with a full-time job, work on finding my own place and moving out, and start a new life on my own. Like, I’m pausing to take a deep breath because holy shit that’s scary. It’s normal, its part of life, but it happened very quickly and I don’t feel prepared- at all. I don’t budget my money, I don’t have a real savings account of just money that I have earned and saved on my own. I don’t even have a credit card because don’t you have to be an adult to have one of those?! Wait. Ugh. Okay, I can probably handle a credit card, as long as my dad comes with me to set it up.
Prior to a few months ago, I planned on staying in Norfolk until May of 2016, when my ex-boyfriend graduates, and then we planned on moving back home and getting jobs, then saving up and moving into our own place. We wanted to stay in the area so that was always my idea of what would happen when I graduated, and that wasn’t scary to me at all. But as we know, sometimes life doesn’t like to be planned out and then shit hits the fan and you’ve gotta roll with it and make a new plan. When I was in St. John with my family this summer, I met with a friend who moved to the island alone and on a whim, and I was sort of stunned thinking about how much courage that must take and what a cool idea that was. After I started thinking about how that was actually a possibility for me, I asked every single person I talked to on the island about their story and what brought them there. The overwhelming response was- “I was a twenty-something with nothing holding me back, so I bought a one-way ticket and here I am.” When I asked for advice, another overwhelming response from my surveying was, “All you have to do is buy your ticket. That’s the hardest part. After that, it will all fall into place.” At first, the idea of going to St. John was a fantasy, something to think about to escape my present life. The more research I did, the more people I talked to, the more real it became. It wasn’t just a thought anymore, it was a plan. I was actually planning a move to the islands. I convinced my best friend to come down with me for one last trip before I move, and when we got our tickets I was thinking this would probably end up being what I would do instead of going. I had a feeling I would get to a point where moving sounded too hard and too expensive and that I didn’t want to do it anymore, so I would settle for 12 days over thanksgiving and then I would have my fix for a while. Well, that still hasn’t happened. Instead, I have an interview while we’re there and I’ll hopefully be able to bring stuff down to move into an apartment to make my one-way trip down a little easier. I found my heart in this, I found passion, and it hasn’t dulled so I am just going to keep on keepin’ on.
Just within the last few weeks I have started to have actual fear and anxiety about moving. Prior to this, I had no doubt at all and I was counting down the days until I can go. I think having some doubt is normal when you’re taking a huge leap of faith, and when you start to realize what you’re leaving behind. My plan for my move is a one-year plan. I don’t plan on staying longer, but I think any shorter period of time wouldn’t be enough to get out of it what I want to get out of it. I’m sure in that year I will make at least one trip back home, and if that is how it ends up, that means I will only see my family once for an entire year. (Another deep breath.)
Aside from the feelings about moving to St. John, there are a couple other hard parts. The big one is that people who live in St. John aren’t really going to take you seriously about moving until you’re there. Which means, good luck getting a job or an apartment from the states. So, that leaves you sitting there thinking, “I am supposed to buy a one-way ticket without a place to live or an income?” and to that they say…”Exactly.” No, they really just tell you that everything will be ok, and they give you 9 different places to go and people to talk to, they offer their advice and phone number for whenever you need help, and they tell you to take a leap of faith and everything will fall into place. They tell it to you straight, like how hard it is going to be, how much money you need to have, how your POS car won’t be getting you anywhere so you really just need to listen and buy a damn Jeep. But the amount of people I’ve connected with and have plans with and already call my friends is pretty remarkable. There are a lot of people that moved to the island without knowing a single person, and I am very lucky that isn’t the case for me. I have people. I have support, and at the very least I have someone to meet me for happy hour. That is more than enough for me, y’all.
The past couple of months have been long hours on Craigslist, insurance quotes, car shipping quotes, looking at prices of apartments per month that are more than I’ve made in the past year. It has been spent wondering things like, if I need to go to the dentist, or the doctor, or have one of my piercings looked at, is that something I can do without using the ocean as a method of transportation? When you think about running errands, making appointments, or just getting something basic that you need, it’s a little abnormal to think that you might have to get on a boat to do so. But that just becomes something you have to start thinking about. For something that people tell me will fall into place on its own, I seem to be doing a hell of a lot of planning. Someone told me, “You just have to give in to the way of the island.” I will, but I am just not there yet. I’m confident that it will come to me in time, but for now I am going to keep sending emails and making phone calls even if I’ve been told 87 times there is nothing I can do until I get there.
The graduating, the breakup, and the move, is obviously pretty intertwined. In the middle of a nasty argument, someone told me “…says the girl that’s moving to St. John to run away from a breakup.” And obviously at first I’m going to push that away and say, of course not, it has nothing to do with him! But let’s be real. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m like ok, if I am running away from a breakup, is there really anything wrong with that? I’m in an endless cycle of highs and very, very, low lows and I am pretty positive it is going to stay like that for as long as we’re in the same damn zip code. So if I am running away, if that’s what is going to fix it and make me better in the long run…then hell yeah I’m lacing up my hot pink Nikes and sprinting as fast as I can. Running from a breakup to the Virgin Islands just doesn’t sound bad to me. I’m still going to deal with it, and face my feelings and grieve and do whatever bullshit I’m “supposed” to do, but I can just do it all from the most beautiful place on earth, right? Sounds fine to me. Don’t kill my vibe.
Everyone becomes a counselor, an expert, and a critic when you are in an unhealthy relationship. I love my friends and I love my family and I so deeply appreciate everything that everyone has done to help me get through it and be there for me and support me. But if I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you just have to stop talking to him”, then I would have enough money to afford first and last months rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cruz Bay. I just have to stop talking to him? Oh, that’s the key? Funny, I’ve never thought of that before! Groundbreaking advice my dear friend! Okay, I’m being an asshole, but seriously y’all- if it were that easy then this blog would have a lot less content.
So, full circle back to the content of this blog. This is the “what”. If you chose to keep reading, this is what you can expect to learn about, plus whatever else happens to be going on in my life which I can guarantee will be stupid, crazy, unreal, and everything else that makes for good entertainment when it’s not happening to you. Because that is just where I’m at. So, we’ll talk about all of the crazy shit I’m going through that I am going to overcompensate for by moving to paradise. It sounds risky, but if I’m going to do this I’m going to go all in and I’m going to be honest about it. I’m not going to be the girl that’s traveling because my life is so together that I can just bounce from country to country and my stellar life will be waiting for my back home. I will not be leaving in confidence that I will be putting my degree to good use for the time I’m gone, or even that I know what I am going to do with my degree when I get back. I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t even know all of the questions, but it is what it is. This is just the “what” of your every day twenty-something.