It was never meant to be a goodbye

The hardest thing for me was not leaving. That was the easy part. Goodbyes aren’t easy, but packing the bags, walking through the gate towards a new adventure, now that’s exciting. I didn’t dwell on the goodbyes. But I have realised 9.5 months down the line that the hardest part was deciding to stay. For those who need some context, I live in Japan and have been here since August, last year. It didn’t faze me quitting my well paid job for one with a much lower salary and more of a ‘risk’ some would say. But this was my dream which had come true. This is no longer my dream now that I have achieved my goal to come and live here. It is a beautiful country with kind people, but now the dream has been realised.

Five months down the line, we had to make the difficult decision to re-contract for another year. At this point it would mean 1.5 years left in this country. I wasn’t sure I had achieved all that I wanted so I decided to stay because I felt there was more to discover and a year was too short. But reflecting over my life since being here, I have experienced some wonderful things, but also my fair share of crap. I have been at my lowest and it has been a very painful journey, yet it’s not the end. I wonder when the pain will subside. I feel like I live in a bubble. I feel like I’ve lost my way. I feel like this isn’t reality. Since coming to Japan, I’ve lost sight of my dreams and goals because the cold, hard truth is that I don’t have any. I don’t know where I am going in my life and I don’t know what I’ll do, but that’s okay for now. It’s okay to be lost, I just hope I won’t stay in Purgatory forever.

I don’t regret my decision, but I do wonder what if. Being so far away from home has made me realise and appreciate what I have at home; my family, my friends and an exciting life in London. I miss them all – I’ve never felt so alone as I have here, or maybe I have and I’ve forgotten. It’s in the daily routines and simple things that I remember the beautiful and the memories come swarming back. I miss my family very much. I miss hugs. I miss the smiles. I miss the internet sometimes when I don’t have it. I miss water when I don’t have that. In times like this I think about the people I love and how I left them behind without so much a second thought, but now I am constantly thinking of them; constantly reminded.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I made the difficult decision to continue to stay here even though I am deeply unhappy. I’ve made my bed and now it’s time to lie in it. But I’m not scared. I love my children at school and I am hoping I will be able to heal and rebuild myself. “Always stay calm in any situation” – that is the lesson I am fast learning.

I hope this isn’t where we say goodbye, because to me it was never a goodbye. It was a see you soon. I just didn’t realise a see you soon wouldn’t actually be soon, but what feels like a lifetime. I’ll be home for a holiday soon; it’ll be short-lived but refreshing. I think I’ve lost those rose-tinted glasses now. I think it’ll be time to go back soon and find a new dream. Soon I’ll be saying goodbye to myself – goodbye to the past and the present. Goodbye for now.

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New adventures await

I have discovered some amazing news. I applied to become a Teaching Assistant abroad in Japan and I found out recently that I have been accepted and I am due to leave in August. To be honest I couldn’t believe it, such incredible news, I couldn’t believe I was actually going, that it had happened. It slowly sank in and when I started to break the news to friends, I was dismayed to learn that not all was as it seemed. My best friend was extremely happy, proud and supportive. But my other friends were shocked, sad and not as happy. This is my dream, to travel the world, to learn a new language and to live in Japan. All I am doing is leaving for a year.

“You are coming back right?” Will I be back? That is the most famous question I receive and honestly I don’t know. I might enjoy it so much I decided I want to stay. I might want to try South Korea. I might decide that there is no longer a place for me here anymore, that I might be best in another country. I get so bored easily I wonder if it would be easy to come back. I can already feel my grip of life and reality slipping as I watch my friends progress up the career ladder, as they turn corners in their life, I realise I’m not quite going down those paths. Instead I am wandering in a completely different direction and I am becoming a traveller who might just get lost. It only hit me that I am sacrificing my career for an uncertain reality, but isn’t life all about taking risks?

Through my excitement to leave, I never imagined it would happen and now it is, I am preparing. I will be okay. It will change me. I will miss my dear friends for sure, I will miss my beautiful family, but I am young and I need to take this chance. If I don’t I will regret it. Some people think I’m crazy for giving up a secure, comfortable and well paid job. Others think I am brave for doing this alone. But all I want to do is discover the world and meet different people. I want to explore and perhaps I am crazy, but who gets to be 23 again? I haven’t a boyfriend, husband, lover or long standing commitment. I only have chance and if I let fear and the comfortable get in my way, I’ll never be happy.

Everything involves a little fear, but I only wish for hope to prevail. I am trying my best to float and I am hoping I won’t drown in this new adventure. I am sure everything will be fine. I should probably stop reading thriller novels and horror stories about Japan. To be fair, they are based in Tokyo and are mostly about hostessing in their’ “red light” district.

Time flies so I know a year will pass me by. I’ve lived in America before and I know if I set my heart on something, I can and I will do it. I don’t like to upset my friends, because I know they are shocked. This isn’t something Miss Goody too shoes, quiet, reserved me would do. I don’t want to leave them, I’m not abandoning them. But I am continually trying to develop and I am trying to be a better person. So if you have a dream, I would pursue it, because you only have one life. Why not make the most of it, instead of living in fear. I don’t know what my future will be like, but I trust it will be okay and I have faith everything will work out in the end.

The grass is always greener on the other side

So as you know from my last post, I recently left my old job and after the consequences finally sunk in and I was devastated and fell into a kind of deep regretfulness. When I spoke to my best friend, she said something which didn’t strike me until now.

The grass is always greener on the other side but it doesn’t actually mean that it is necessarily better.

She’s right. It’s like admiring something from a shop window and wishing you had the money to buy it, day by day you watch it entranced, the want becoming more like a need. The tension builds up for months on end until one day you have the means to buy it for yourself. Now that you’ve got it, you realise that it wasn’t actually that important; you no longer want it after a while because we always forget and move on. Because in the end you will forget, you misplace something and you forget and move on. You might be reminded of it sometimes, you might visit the item again, but ultimately it doesn’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things. This is exactly the same feeling, day by day I feel the control and hurt lessen. It’s been more than a month since I left and I can honestly say I don’t regret my decision anymore, not for one second. Why? My life has changed, my eyes have been opened. I’ve met so many different people – if I didn’t leave I wouldn’t have met some lovely and genuinely nice people. I wouldn’t have challenged myself – I would have been stuck in a rut constantly unhappy and constantly moaning to the ones I love. If I hadn’t left I wouldn’t have been challenged socially – I would have stayed insecure and scared. But part of my job requires the confidence to know what you are doing since you are in control and if you screw up, you’re directly responsible and you have a lot of people to answer to.

The company has opened so many doors for me and already within the month I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve learnt so much and I genuinely do believe I am working for a fantastic company and I’m actually very lucky I was hired. The interview was a complete fluke and they must have been desperate since I was supposed to go for a second interview, but they just offered the job immediately after I hesitated. Wow the power is always in your hands whether you realise it or not and I didn’t realise it at the time. We make our own decisions. I met up with my friend from the old company and he was telling me about how they were being sent to Venice for a conference for 2 days, they were having parties thrown, 2 bonuses etc. he went on about all the amazing new things happening and it sounded wonderful – I’m not that high up on my horse that I couldn’t see it and disregard it all. But at the same time, I felt nothing and that was when I realised that I was over it. When I went to meet him at the company I felt nothing. In fact my first thought was “Oh gosh it’s tiny compared to my new office.” It felt small and slightly suffocating and that was when I just knew I am okay – I am over it. I was so unhappy in my last job, I had forgotten how miserable I was, how unchallenged and bored I was. All those feelings went out the window when I lost it all, when I felt ‘cheated’ and now I remember all the bad times as well as the good. The grass looks greener, but in fact it’s not. I just built it up in my mind and refused to move on. But I have now and I feel free.

I feel happier in all aspects and now it’s just time to wait. I don’t know what the future holds, but I won’t give up and I will try not to lose sight. I am questioning whether I actually want to work in Marketing anymore. The thing is I get bored easily and I don’t know, I just feel like it’s not really for me. I don’t know what exactly is for me but working in this job makes you realise things you like and things you don’t like. You might have a lot of regrets, you might wish you took a chance, but never fear because another different chance will always appear. In life, I think about all the chances I let go, but there are also all the chances I grabbed. If you want something grab it, if you don’t know, don’t worry because there are so many opportunities its overwhelming. All I know right now is that I like helping people. I would like to do some volunteering work one day, I would like to travel, I would like to try my hand at different jobs. This corporate role right now is just a means to an end to achieve those goals and I will try not to get stuck in it. I don’t think it will happen. You never know though, but this I am sure about. My self-esteem is not great, my confidence and belief in myself is also weak, but day by day I am learning to accept myself. I am learning more of what I like, what I’m comfortable with – I like gossip I am human, but I don’t like when it turns vulgar and becomes cruel. I am learning what I should do and how I should act in the future – don’t let people push you into things, don’t let people bully you – sometimes it’s good to be pushed because I was quite literally pushed into this job by my agency which I resented them for and still begrudgingly still do, but don’t let people push you unless they force your hand, just remember it is always your choice and you have to live with the consequences, not them – YOU.

Everything has a way of circling on itself and working out for the best. Funny enough I met a colleague in my department who applied for a job at my previous company and turns out it was the same job I had applied for one and a half years ago. I got it and she didn’t. I got the chance and she got another opportunity at a different company before joining this current company 6 months ago. It’s funny how life works!

A dream is not always better than reality. The other side might look perfect after you’ve left, but take off those rose-tinted glasses and you’ll see the truth. Reality hits hard. Not everything is as great as is perceived. Perception can be deceptive just as my Philosophy lectures taught me 3 years ago.

Fiction or Reality? I choose getting lost in fiction any day!

So I have recently been reading and thinking. Writers usually write to allow their readers a form of escapism but also it allows them to escape in their own fantasy world. Most plots derive from our fantasies or so it seems, but some things are also mostly based on our experiences, because how can you write about something without having some kind of knowledge of it. This doesn’t necessarily have to be knowledge from the experiences one has had, but it can derive from the experiences of others- though you only see one side of their experience. Not only do you not experience the emotions of pain or happiness that they felt since you cannot feel it thus you cannot truly comprehend it. You could imagine it, but never grasp its reality. But you also only receive their side of the feelings- their words so stories end up twisted from the original truth (or original event that happened). For example if my friend broke up with a guy, I would be hearing her side of the story. How she interprets the situation may be different to how he interprets it. I would not understand how she felt because how can I if I’ve not had the similar experience of breaking up with a guy who I really loved or liked. I could imagine how it would feel, but that would be no good because I didn’t feel the raw emotions of what it is to love in that way, to feel pain or hurt in that specific way. All I would feel is pity for my friend trying to comprehend the way she feels, trying to reassure and comfort her, while secretly thinking and making the mental note never to make the same mistakes that she did. Never to fall in love so that I don’t give anyone the power to hurt me like. But that’s the problem with learning from other people’s mistakes and not learning from your own. You become too cautious to even make mistakes of your own because you are too afraid to do the wrong thing, to be caught in the hole in the ground everyone keeps digging for themselves. There is always someone who tries to lend a hand to a person stuck in that hole, but its up to you to choose whether you need help or even want the help offered or whether you drown in your unhappiness.

Anyway I have digressed, people teach you things whether you realise it or not we are all influenced by our family, friends and random strangers! Despite sometimes not wanting to be, you are. This has somehow drifted into a completely different topic that I no longer know how I got here! I can honestly say I am lost in a rabbit hole but in a different kind- not due to a relationship but coming to terms with what do I do with my life? Where do I go from here now that I have finished my studies? Who can help me? I can only help myself- I have to try, but what I always find that I do- no matter where I run to, where I go what I do- I always seem to try to escape to a different reality. To a fantasy world, to a place of fiction anywhere from the truth. But authors do that too- they try to recreate their own fantasies in their writings, they try to realise the dreams they never fulfilled through their characters giving them the happy ending they never got. Well I wouldn’t say never- just a different happy ending in life. While a book ends mostly happily ever after where the main character wins by defeating the baddie- war between good over evil conquers all. Well this is not the case in life, because there are no happy endings in life. There is no such thing as the prince saving the princess and living happily ever after. What does that even mean anyway? It’s time to grow up and learn that life’s not like a fairytale. Its been said many times but it really is true so why do people continue to read and watch these fairytales wishing they were true. In real life, that does not happen- after happily ever after aka getting married more problems and obstacles arise i.e maintaining a job, growing old, having children etc. Everyone still battles with their demons- but life goes on- no happy end except death. But then is that the ultimate end? So many debates surrounding that topic I won’t get into that now.

Society too has an impact on everything- on our lives, music, movies, books, media etc. The media seem to control what we desire and what we want trying to portray lifestyles we must attain. We try to attain perfection- perfect life, perfect body, the happy ending. But this is all poisonous if it only succeeds in hindering us, by shying away from our bodies, being ashamed. Look at the books that are on our shelves, being sold- they represent the times in which we live in and unfortunately they are all filled with crap! The desire for the superficial rich and famous lifestyle- The good girl getting with the rich rockstar living the dream! What is the dream? What is the life? Everyone is different so surely not everyone wants to be rich and famous. Books nowadays seem to have weak characters especially portraying women as weak, dependent and annoyingly stupid! Look at Twilight- Bella can’t even do anything because she’s so clumsy so Edward must be there all the time to “protect her”. The last thing the world needs is another young woman depicted as a “heroine” when she clearly isn’t! If you want something interesting to read, read the Hunger Games! Mind you it reminds me a little of Battle Royale! Anyone agree? It’s a pretty famous Japanese film! I would look it up if you enjoyed Hunger Games, though it is a lot darker.

Anyway there must lie some truth in a book- yes in the sense they are based on some kind of experience. The characteristics of the protagonist resemble some person or other. The main character normally resembles a person who the author wishes to be- who the author and sometimes reader wish to have the same strong characteristics that make the character strong and likeable who will fight for justice. No one likes a weak character, likewise in this cruel world no one likes a weak person. I wish I could say that I have learnt a lot from my experiences but sometimes it takes something twice as bad to hit you round the head for you to take notice and by then it may be too late. But then hopefully there is never such a thing as being too late. Better to have tried later than never.