Is there any dark side to a holiday? – you might ask.
We are, after all, in a wonderful tropical country, enjoying the jungle and the warmth. What else can we ask for?
Oh, well…Maybe some quietness in the head?
Let me explain.
After we made the decision to move back to Costa Rica and start a new life, we were on the run against the clock. In less than 6 months, we sold our home and the car and emptied our offices. We gave away most of our things, sent some boxes to our parents, gave farewells to our friends and family, and jumped on a plane crossing the Atlantic with 3 suitcases, our dog, and our cat.
Since we landed, we have been working non-stop while trying to sort out what was needed in terms of paperwork associated with living in a new country (visa permits, insurance, housing).
All in all, my mind had been busy with planning and executing the move. And working. A lot.
And then, last Sunday, we finally took a week of holiday.
I was planning to lay on a hammock, with a nice book and my camera close by, enjoying the “Dolce Far Niente.”
…but my mind had other plans…
Now that I had finally given “her” a break taking care of the urgent and immediate, the enormity of what we are doing hit me.
Career change anxiety
I read today that career change anxiety is close to that of the death of a dear friend. It is about saying goodbye to your old self and your identity so as to give space for the new one to grow.
Saying goodbye to the academic life is harder than I thought. For me, academia has been my identity. And being a professor is not only a job position but the proof that I am valued for my brain.
And that is the problem. Sometimes, I feel that I will have no value beyond the walls of an academic institution. That nobody will pay for my knowledge and experience. While I know that this is only my fear talking. The fear of being without an income. The fear of failure. The fear of making the wrong choices. Fear. Fear.
And then I remember the talks that I had before leaving Sweden:
- It is okay to be afraid.
- It is normal. It is an important life change.
- It is good. It keeps you sharp.
- It is your travel companion but should not be in the drivers’ seat.
- Remember. Life IS change. The important thing is to learn to navigate change. And enjoy the ride.
So, I am going to close the laptop NOW, pick up my book, lay in the hammock, and enjoy the lovely sunset. Or at least try.