The last time I was in a limbo competition was at a slightly dilapidated upstairs bar in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. My friend, Hank, had pulled off an impressively low back bend under the limbo stick to keep our team in the running for first place. But in his quest to bring himself upright once more, he flung his body forward with such force that he ripped his pants up the back. I mean, like full up the crack. While we all had a tremendously good laugh over this at the time, I can’t help but look back and think that this is a metaphor for where my life currently stands.
I entered the 2016/17 school year with all the enthusiasm and hope one has when attempting that limbo stick that looms before them. All of the stress and assignments and exams I struggled through felt at times like physical strain crushing me backwards. At times, I thought I would fall. But I cleared that metaphorical limbo stick, sloppily at best (dissertation, I’m lookin’ at you), and in the home stretch, I found myself flailing and grasping for what would have me solidly on my own two feet again: employment.
I took the first job I interviewed for, ignoring the fact that it was part-time and I was overqualified. The job market here for public health is shockingly skimp and I felt that sense of urgency I feel when I find myself at the end of the buffet line: if I don’t hurry, everything good will be gone. I wanted to feel secure, but in doing so, I neglected the important aspect of finding a job that was a good fit rather than just something that was available at the time. While I had made it through, sadly, my pants had not.
So now I find myself juggling three jobs and wondering what it is I’m doing. I’ve managed to brush off the inevitable flight response that always comes on to me after being in a place for one year. I want to give life here a shot for a while longer and see how I feel. Visions of new and different places float through my head, enticing me, hoping to lure me away from my current path. But oddly, when I think about leaving, I can’t bear the thought of Ireland carrying on, existing, without me in it. It’s a strange sensation that I haven’t fully sussed out yet.
I’m currently in the running for a position here in Dublin that has dream job written all over it. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but it’s tough. I see it as my ticket out of this seemingly eternal limbo. I have a back-up plan in case I find out I haven’t made it to round three, and that makes me feel hopeful at least. This alternative has the possibility to be the most adventurous path yet, so the let-down wouldn’t be as sharp.
At the end of all this, you might be wondering, what happened to Hank and his ripped pants? What was his back-up plan? Well, I took off my scarf, fashioned him a sarong, and we set off through the streets of Reykjavik.