There’s no time like the present!
Blog post over.
Just kidding- I have thought about this for a while, and when I talk about moving to St. John, “when?” is one of the first questions I get. When I started thinking about making this move, the date that popped into my head was December 29th. December 29th allows me to be home for Christmas, but in the islands for New Years. I haven’t bought my ticket yet, simply because I haven’t decided if I am shipping my car down. If I do ship my car, I will have to drive it down to Florida and then fly out from there. If I don’t ship my car, I will fly out of Dulles. I am definitely ready to buy my ticket because I want it to feel more official, but if you can imagine, there are just a few decisions you have to make before you uproot your life and relocate 2,000 miles away.
When I was in St. John with my family over the summer, we met a family on the beach that owns a fabulous business on the island. Of course I was drawn to their adorable little girl and started chatting with her about her favorite Frozen characters, and quickly informed her mom that I have been in childcare for 10 years, because sometimes I forget that it isn’t completely normal to have conversations with two year olds before introducing yourself to their parents. As I begun talking to her mom, I told her that I wanted to move and she told me all about the options to nanny on the island. She told me that she would answer any questions I have, and she would be willing to do anything she could to help me make the move. She was kind enough to give me her contact information, and when I decided to go back to St. John two weeks later for a solo trip, I let her know that I would be down there and hoped we could get together for a cup of coffee, but of course she went above and beyond and told me she’d pick me up and we’d spend the day at Maho Bay. We loaded up her Jeep, and her, her girls and me went off to one of the most beautiful beaches on St. John. I met several other people while we were there, because she knows just about everyone on the island. That seems to be the case for most people, when you live on a rock in the middle of the ocean, it seems you run into some familiar faces. After Maho, she took me to out lunch at her restaurant. Her husband came by our table to say hi, and we were talking with him about how I was debating on making the move. He said, “How old are you?” and I said, “22.” He said, “Perfect. Do it.” That simple exchange has stuck with me through the past few months of making plans to move. When I hear the question “when”, I always just think of that number. 22. If not now, then when?
I’m 22, at the time of my move I will be a college graduate, I have no husband, no kids, nothing holding me to Virginia. I have an amazing family and fantastic friends of course, but they don’t hold me back. They encourage me and support me to go further and pursue my dreams and passions. I haven’t started a career, and I haven’t decided on graduate school. If I didn’t move to St. John in December, what would I do? Apply to a million entry-level jobs, pay off my student loans while living in my parent’s basement, go to the same bars with the same people every Friday night? Start off the biggest transition of my life while going back to the same place that I have spent the last 22 years? How do I transition to a new life by going back to my old one?
Growing up is no joke, y’all. It’s actually pretty terrifying, and I’m pretty certain that deciding to take this next year to live abroad and work a couple of part-time jobs is an attempt to put off the inevitable. I don’t want to grow up right now! I am not ready to start my career, or go to graduate school. I have been in school for the past 16 ½ years. The past 16 ½ years have been spent preparing for this very time in my life, and I don’t feel ready. Uh yeah- that’s kind of scary. I know that I will be ready, and I know that I will do great things in my field and I will be passionate about my work when I start my career. But does that have to start now? At 22? Sure, I will have a bachelor’s degree as a babysitter or a bartender. But who gets to decide that’s not ok? Yep, I will have a gap in my resume when I start applying for jobs. What I have decided about that is that I am not my resume. My resume is one piece of paper; I am 22 years of life. My life is so much more important than what is on my resume, especially since the point of concern is one year without a job in my field after graduation. I have spent the past 16 ½ years doing what I am supposed to do, what society tells you is the right thing to do to be successful and get the most out of life that you can. I am so blessed and so grateful that I have been able to attend school, and receive higher education with full support from my parents. With that being said, I did it! Right? I went to school, passed (most of) my classes, and in 6 weeks I’ll have a degree! No big deal, it only took 16 ½ years, so can I please give myself one year to go out of what society has determined I’m supposed to do?
So, what happens if I decide that now is not the time, and I don’t move to St. John in December? I see myself either staying in Norfolk and finding a temporary job until my lease is up in July, and then moving home. Then I’d look for a job, or apply for graduate school. If I get a job, then I am in my field and for the rest of my career I will be overworked and underpaid as a social worker, I will pursue my dream of being a crisis pregnancy counselor, and I will dedicate my time and my life to helping others and serving others, which is what I feel like I have been placed on this earth to do. Next scenario, I move home and decide on graduate school. I spend 2 more years in school, rounding off at 18 ½ years total, and then I become a therapist and spend the rest of my career helping, and serving others. Those options both sound reasonable, I can see myself being happy doing either one of those things, and here’s the plot twist- one of those things is going to happen if I move to St. John or not! My degree is one thing that will never be taken away from me. My passion for being a helping professional will never be taken away from me. Moving to St. John does not take away my education, it doesn’t take away my drive to succeed and work to obtain all life has to offer me. Moving to St. John simply pushes back making that next decision for one year.
The one thing that would change, is the regret that I would carry for the rest of my life. If I don’t go to St. John now, I don’t think I ever will. I’ll get comfortable in my career, I’ll be stuck paying off debt from graduate school, I’ll meet someone that I won’t want to move away from, or one of the million things that could hold me back- will hold me back. Right now, I don’t have any of those things. I’m scared to wait. Realistically, I should at least wait a few months after graduation and work my ass off to save as much money as I can, but I’m scared I will change my mind and then get stuck into a routine that I will be in for the rest of my life, and I’ll wake up 10, or 20 years from now thinking, “What if?” Life will always be full of what-if’s, but this is one that I can prevent. I don’t have to worry about the what-if of moving to St. John, because I can do it. I have the resources (I think), I have the support, I have friends there, I have a place to live. The only thing I don’t have is a reason not to.
I don’t want my story to include “Yeah, I spent a few months planning a move to the islands but it just never happened.” Uh, that’s not really a cool story to tell my future kids. I want my story to say, “I found a place I loved, I worked my ass off to make it happen, and I did it.” I don’t care if I end up hating living on St. John. If I hate it, what did I lose? A few months, a year? A few thousand dollars? In the grand scheme of things, in the overall meaning of my whole life, what is a few months or a few thousand dollars? Time and money are relative. If they are wasted, they are wasted because I followed my heart and took a crazy leap of faith. How could I regret that?
There will be a time in my life that building my savings account will be one of the most important things that I do. There will be a time that I will be responsible for tiny humans, and my whole life will be transformed and dedicated to another person. There will be a time where I will be on a schedule, I will make important payments every month, I will pack lunches every morning. But the thing is, I don’t have to do any of those things right now. I get to be selfish, because I am at a point in my life where I have very little to be responsible for. That will change. I will welcome that change when it comes and I know I will be fulfilled when I have a family of my own, but for now I want to live to my full extent because when I do have my own family, I can’t see a relocation like this being super easy. I have so much respect for parents, especially parents of young children, and I am around parents so much that I so deeply understand how going to the grocery store is HARD. You have 3 kids under 3, your husband is deployed, and you went to Target?! Are you freakin’ superwoman?! Seriously, that shit is hard. I was babysitting one time over the summer, for two little girls, 4 & 2, and I thought it would be a great idea to go to Chipotle in Reston Town Center. After parallel parking a quarter mile away, getting out the double stroller, piling them in and then not realizing how damn big a double stroller is when you put it in a tiny restaurant, I look around as I’m dripping sweat and think- oh my god, will this ever be easy? They’re not even my kids, I didn’t birth them or raise them and I’m literally just trying to buy them a quesadilla and it’s probably the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done in my life.
To bring that tangent on how much I respect superheroes, I mean parents, back to the point- if I can’t even take kids out to lunch when it’s 90 degrees without wanting to cry, how could I ever make a move like this one if I’m not on my own? I’m 22; the average age for marriage in the United States is 27. Whoa, buddy! Hypothetically speaking, if I find a man crazy enough to want to deal with me for the rest of my life, it would be totally normal and average to have that all completed in 5 years? Seems like a lot to take on, y’all. Like I have said over, and over again in the past few months, if not now- then when? The answer to that is…probably never. When I think about my life, I don’t see myself being able to do this any farther than a couple of years down the road. This is a really crucial time in my life. There are so many changes, so many decisions, and soon enough, all of those decisions and changes will revolve around other people, but for now, they don’t. So much happens in your twenties. In a lot of cases, your twenties are when you find out who you are and who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. I am so scared of giving up on a dream, not figuring out who I’m supposed to be, and spend my life wondering what would be different if I went. So, that’s the reason behind the “when”. Because I’m single, selfish, supported, and 22.