On this day three years ago I was greeted at the airport with a sign that said “Welcome Home Shithead”
I’d finished my coursework for my MSc, had three months to write my dissertation before starting the EdD programme, and had a lot of sunshine to catch up on. My dissertation became my full time job, with breaks for the pool and the gym. I was experiencing reverse culture shock in a major way, and coming off the terrible break-up with David, I was very unsure about my future.
Flash forward to today: I’m sitting on the window ledge in the flat of one of my best friends in Scotland. We have been doing buddy work from home Friday for the last few weeks. I’ve finished a second draft of a paper for my thesis, I have a therapy appointment in a couple of hours, and a study date with the boy this evening. In 30 days I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary living in Scotland, and will be getting ready for my official transfer of title making me the very first PhD in education at Edinburgh Napier University.
The writing challenge for this week is to think about the ways I have changed in the last year. To be honest, I am not sure I have enough time or space to write about how I have changed in the last year. This time last year I was getting ready to say goodbye to the US. I was packing for Spain and Portugal, I was shipping boxes to Scotland to be here when I arrived, and I was not feeling depressed at all. I thought that all of my problems were solved because I was moving back to the one place in this world that I ever felt like home. I thought I had worked through my issues with the EdD. program, thought I was done with therapy, and thought that I was ready to tackle the world on my own. I was cocky, and living in a bit of a fantasy land.
Today I know that moving doesn’t always solve all your problems, but that they are much easier to deal with when you are happy where you live. I’m not as cocky, and while I still think I can tackle the world, I’ve learned that it is a lot more fun to do with the help and support of others. I’m more open about my depression, and the work that I am doing to manage my symptoms. I’m more open about needing help. I’m learning that it is important not to stop therapy when you feel like you are feeling better, but rather keep going, and keep working on myself so that those good feelings last a lot longer than the bad ones. I learned how to play the political game, which is serving me well this time around.
I’ve changed physically as well. I’ve added 5 tattoos to my body, I’m whiter than I have ever been, and I weigh more now than I ever have. While those last two bother me a bit, I am hoping that with summer just around the corner I can add some color to my skin. The weight bothers me, but as the boy has pointed out, he clearly likes the way I look, and that means I am probably the healthiest I have ever been. While I am very much still a work in progress, I am definitely headed in the right direction. I’d say that have learned so much about myself and the world in the last year that I have undoubtedly become a better person.
I really like the idea that I become a better person with the passing of each new year. I can get behind an idea like that.