Back when I was preparing to move to South Africa, I wrote a few posts about my expectations/hopes/fears/dreads for that transition. It’s too long a story to tell how I ended up going to Yale Divinity School – you’ll have to hear it in person – but I’m in a similar position of hopeful/fearful expectation as I was two years ago. This transition is causing me some anxiety.
Living Outside – I haven’t lived in the lower-48 states since 2005. That doesn’t sound long but every time I’ve come back for a (brief) visit, I feel more and more out of place and sense small but significant shifts that put me further out-of-touch with the culture of “my” generation. Now I have to live there!
The Kindergartner’s Fear: “No one is going to like me!” – OK, so that may not be quite fair; after all, I’ve done a fair bit of moving these past few years and always ended up with good, new friends and I have every confidence I can do the same in New Haven. But I am somewhat worried on a modest variation of the kindergartner’s fear: “no one is going to be interested in the same things as me!” We’ll see.
All those people/places/events to learn! – One of the hard things about moving to a new place is figuring out a new routine – where to get your hair cut, buy groceries, find an ATM that doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg to get your own money, learning the location of all my classes, picking those classes, etc., etc., etc. That was exhausting in all my previous lives – Wolfville, Chicago, Nome, Mthatha. And now I have to do it again?
And what about all those people? There are literally going to be hundreds of interesting and fascinating people I’ll want to get to know. I fully expect there are going to be people in this group who will be friends for the rest of my life. Meeting new people and making new friends is also totally exhausting, especially when I’m not doing such a great job keeping up with all the existing friends.
(I’m comforted by the fact that each time I’ve made a similar transition in the past all the energy I’ve invested in figuring my way around town and – especially – meeting new people has been totally worth it.)
Oddly, I’m not too worried about going back to school after such a long break. I am foreseeing that will be a relatively smooth transition.
Amid all these concerns about the future, I have a lot of hope and expectation as well. Primarily, I’m hoping all these questions I’ve been rolling around in my head these last several years will find their proper answers and that new ones will come along to take their place.
Only time will tell, I suppose…