As March approaches, I am faced with the reality of my future and deciding the direction I want it to take. Life has been wonderfully busy since January and will continue to be until my dissertation is signed, sealed, and delivered in early July. And though that is still some months away, the present entails some difficult questions and soul-searching.
A good friend from Baltimore, Aamir, came to visit this past weekend on his way en route home from Madrid. As we sat in my living room Saturday evening, drinking craft beers and listening to tunes, we talked about a plethora of things. But, the majority of our conversation centered around Charm City. Aamir has been working on a project in the city to benefit Baltimore’s youth in a troubled area desperately in need of the beginnings of revitalization. I was so inspired by his passion for the project, the connections he had made with other like-minded individuals willing to share their talents. Baltimore is such a vibrant and diverse place with so much potential. But, it can’t realize that potential without people like Aamir who take a chance to step out and work to make it a better place, and not just for a certain demographic.
Our conversation really got me thinking about all the things I’d like to do in the city. I always find myself coming back to Baltimore and not just because of the property I own there. I really do feel that despite all its problems, it has a piece of my heart. I’m proud to call it home. But, with that said, Ireland has become a second home to me. It makes me happy in ways that I can’t quite explain. The people, the land, the history, the vibe; it all speaks to the whole of me.
I’ve applied to several research jobs in Cork City and my program is hosting a career night in early April which will provide access to even more employers. Employers that would potentially get me into the larger world of international health. I don’t doubt my ability to find a position that will allow me to stay. I could build a very happy life here. It all seems simple until my best friend sends me a picture of his baby daughter who I’m watching grow up through photographs. It hurts my heart to be away from friends and family who mean so much to me.
And then, add another complicated element to the mix: I’ve met someone pretty incredible. We’ve been seeing each other for two months now and being with him has been so easy. I find myself laughing at things he has said long after he has said them, smiling thinking of his smile. He is such a good person; thoughtful, ambitious, and caring. I can’t help but think something has to go wrong and it scares me. It also scares me that I’m scared. I don’t like being unhinged in such a way.
I have a lot to consider in the coming months and some hard questions to answer. All of this is like being stuck in an intercontinental tug o’ war, strengths on both sides keeping the rope’s center line smack in the middle between the two. I try to be cognizant of taking things step by step and not stressing over the future. Everything tends to work itself out in the end and the beautiful thing is that I have options. For now though, enjoying these moments should take precedence because life truly is good.