I once heard this weird saying that went something like “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” It never really resonated with me until now. Basically the idea is, when faced with an overwhelming challenge, tackle it bit by bit and it will seem less daunting.
So I have a confession to make, you guys. Since I got back to Cali last summer, I’ve been eating an elephant.
Okay so let me tell you, this is one BIG ASS elephant. I’m still not done with it. Like, I couldn’t even fully see the height of its ears or the width of its body until recently. I felt smothered by it.
In the process, few of my friends have even seen me. I became a social hermit confined to my computer – obsessively planning, blogging, applying for jobs, researching visa requirements, and taking SEO classes.
Every day, I took bites from this massive elephant.
“The elephant” is what I came home to after a year of freedom and having no ties…then suddenly needing to set up a whole new life and not knowing what I wanted it to look like.
That’s because dismantling “the old” is only half the battle. Picking up the pieces and rebuilding “the new” is a bit trickier. It requires applying everything you’ve learned and making decisions as your new-and-improved self, which means being careful not to settle back into old habits.
This stage is critical because once you’ve laid down new roots, it’s hard to change them. I’m still free and fluid right now. I can do anything/be anywhere. So I’ve got to use the intuition I worked so hard to build. I’ve got to do this right.
That’s why until now, I purposely blogged about past events rather than the present. I was in such a state of flux that I didn’t want to share it with the world and risk being influenced on which path to take.
A lot has changed since I’ve been back. But my life hasn’t even begun to turn upside down yet…
When I returned home to San Diego after nearly a year of being in Europe, I had to hit the ground running on my job search. I quickly discovered my prospects for marketing roles were better in my hometown of San Francisco, so I quickly said my goodbyes, boxed up my life in a Budget Truck with my cat RZA, and drove a 14-ft moving truck back to my City by the Bay.
Summer came and went quickly: I filed visa paperwork for Jordan to move to the U.S., then my sister got married, and I started aggressively looking for work. Before I knew it, it was autumn and Jordan flew in from London to meet my family for the first time.
One Sunday morning, he and I were strolling through Golden Gate Park when we passed the carousel near the children’s playground. I was rambling on about how I used to go down the cement slides on strips of cardboard. He had to stop me mid-sentence (GOD, why I am always talking?!), he held my hand, nervously reached into his pocket, said some beautiful words I won’t repeat, and he pulled out the ring box.
I was a crying mess for a minute, after which we each proclaimed the words “HOLY SHIT!” on our walk back to the car because…HOLY SHIT are we really engaged right now?! He had even asked my dad’s permission. Good job, J :)
I kept looking at the ring, and then at him. We couldn’t stop smiling. It felt so normal to have that ring on my finger. Like it had always been there. For a moment, I forgot he lived 5500 miles away and that we would be saying goodbye again soon.
We had planned on him moving here and us getting an apartment in Oakland. But…fast-forward a few months….and now it’s ME who’s moving to London. He’s advancing in his career and I didn’t wanna take him away from that, so it made more sense for me to make the move.
But we didn’t want to wait anymore. After almost a year and a half apart, at some point you’ve made enough short-term sacrifices and it’s time to begin living your life.
So, I cancelled all my upcoming job interviews. It PAINED me…I was soo close! We’re now quickly throwing together a small, simple wedding with our immediate family and a few close friends so I can file for my UK spouse visa and move to London once it’s approved.
So that’s where I am now. Between stacks of visa paperwork that could fill an entire 3-ring binder, UK animal transport paperwork, selling my belongings, and planning a shotgun wedding, I’ve finally devoured enough of “the elephant” to feel like I can enjoy this time instead of being stressed by it.
“I’m in a glass case of EMOTIOOON!”
My daily mood usually includes a rollercoaster of the following:
Oh my God I miss having money!
Why can’t the UK sites post all the f*cking visa information in one place?!
Ugh. I haven’t checked in with [[insert friend’s name here]]. I’m such a bad friend.
What if my cat has to poop during the flight to London?
Oh shit, I better start working on my vows soon.
Did I mention I miss having money?
If I think about it too much, I start to freak out. I can’t imagine what a typical day will be like 3 or even 6 months from now. And that’s as terrifying as it is thrilling.
I know I’ll be homesick. I’ll miss my family and friends. I’ll be complaining about the cold, and how London’s food sucks compared to Cali. And how I can’t find corn tortillas in the grocery stores. And how nobody at work understands my Cali slang and I feel “hella” out of place.
But I’ll make Skype dates to cure my homesickness. And I’ll make friends to go to brunch and happy hour with. Life will go on.
I’ll lift hard at the gym, annoy my cat by singing made-up songs about him, decorate our new flat, learn to use British English and the metric system, kick ass at my new job, and probably invade a few London Yelp Elite parties.
And if the universe blesses us, I may even become a mum <3.
The truth is, I don’t really know what it’s going to be like. I can put on a brave face better than anyone, but I’m calling myself out right now and admitting that I’m
nervous scared. But it is because of this fear that I know that this is exactly what I need to do. Because my most beautiful, significant transformations happened when I yanked myself out of the familiar and into the unknown.
So I can’t stop now.
All the traveling and soul searching from the past year and a half, it was all just a dress rehearsal. This is what I’ve been preparing for. This is real life. If I don’t make the leap and practice what I preach, then all of it would have been an act.
That’s the thing about rewriting the movie of your life. Nobody is gonna write the script for you.
So here we go…
And we’re live in three, two, one…