I used to have this friend in New York; one of my ‘next time friends’, (as in ‘next time I’m in New York, we’ll have to hang out.’) Next time, whenever I return from (insert random country name) we’ll definitely meet up for drinks or Thai food or ice skating at Chelsea Piers.
Well, she died a couple of months ago. It was sudden and completely unexpected and I’d been disturbed by the news, but not horribly upset. It had been more than a year since I’d talked to her on anything other than Facebook, and to be honest, we’d never been that close to begin with.
But I’ve been thinking about her the last few days, ever since I learned that my dog Snickers, had died. As it is when any friend (human or animal) dies, it’s sort of a jolt of reality that there isn’t always gonna be that ‘next time’. And it’s made me think about all of the aspects of my life that I’ve shoved into the Tomorrowland of ‘next year’ (as in ‘next year I’ll write a novel’), or ‘later’ (as in ‘I’ll get around to calling my little brother later’). Meanwhile I’m stuck living this empty life in limbo, waiting for the future that will never come.
My life in Japan is at a complete standstill. I wake up and go to work and come home and stare at the wall and it’s all so meaningless. Sure, I have fun. I go out and socialize and then come home and feel so restless I can’t sleep so I walk around the neighborhood in my pajamas eating discounted imitation Pringles from the 24-hour grocery store. And all the while, I’m thinking, thinking thinking that if only I could just get off of this Island, maybe I’d feel better.
But would I? I’m not so sure. My mom seems to think so. She says I should go home, because “life is too short to live any part of it unhappy.” A friend from my Cruise Ship Past and I have been halfheartedly planning this trip to Thailand for December. Just the thought of combining two of my great loves, the beach and Thai food, makes me wish I was there right now. And the old Reannon would have already been there ages ago.
But the new Reannon is a little more hesitant. A little less sure of her decision-making abilities. I’ve woken up to this pattern I have of packing up and moving whenever things get a little difficult and I’m desperate to do away with that. I don’t want to run away anymore. So I’m a little reluctant to leave Japan, because I feel that if I do, I might be missing out on an opportunity to work things out for once.
Then there’s the added problem of money, namely being that I don’t have any. If I go back to the States now, I’ll have to either live with my dad (in New York) or my mom (in Cali) or one of my friends somewhere in between and work at yet another dead-end job until I can save up enough money…to do what, exactly? As always, I have no idea.
Mostly though, I’m terrified of going home because I know that if I do, that’ll be it for ‘Reannon, Citizen of the World’. I’ll be permanently closing that chapter of my life, trading it up for stability and a permanent residence. And part of me (a small part) really wants that. I want a mailbox and a goldfish and a business card with more than an email address written on it. Like maybe an actual address and phone number.
But what would ‘Reannon, Permanent US Resident’, do all day? I mean, as shitty as living in Japan is sometimes, it’s never dull. Every day is like a stroll through an amusement park of bizarre sights and sounds. How could I live through a single day of office small talk or weekend mall trips or whatever else it is that makes up normal people’s lives? I’d be crawling up the walls with boredom.
I already feel I’ve lost all ability to have engage in small talk. I start conversations with “This one time in India, when I watched a goat get decapitated as a sacrificial offering to the Gods…” or “This one time in Paris, when I slept in a park with a homeless schizophrenic…” and I know that stuff just doesn’t go over well with your average Joe. My friends back home are all sympathetic listeners, but my tales of seeing dead bodies in rivers are usually just met with blank stares. My point of reference for life is just so far removed from anything most people can relate to, I worry that I will be alone in my perspective for the rest of my life.
I’ve read about this online and in the book GenXpat. Apparently, those who’ve lived abroad have a tough trying to re-assimilate into their home cultures. They never fully fit in in abroad, but they’ve adapted so much of the foreign culture’s perspective that they’ll never feel like they fully belong in their home country, either. They’re destined for a life as a permanent outsider. That’s a pretty sad truth.
All of these thoughts keep running in circles in my brain and it’s gotten to the point where I’ve just sort of given up mulling it over. Instead, I jam-pack my days with meaningless activities, all in the hopes of distracting myself from this huge life dilemma, but it keeps finding ways to creep back into my consciousness. Either in the form of insomnia or migraines or colds that just won’t go away.
I really want to live every day as if it were my last. I want to be happy, but I just don’t know how.
And I’m getting really really tired of writing that.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!