A Viking longship arrives in Dublin

Difficult choices

I will soon come to a point where I have to make some difficult choices about who I want to be and what I have to do to get there. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to make me feel better about myself, but I’m going to have to do it nonetheless, because that’s the only way I have left to me. I can’t do this the easy way anymore.

I’m not really talking about the dissertation, but the diss is an important part of getting me to this juncture. No, what I’m actually talking about is the decision I’m going to have to make with regards to staying in the United States and trying to find work here that will satisfy both my need for money and my needs for other, less tangible things, such as the feeling that my work makes a difference or that I’m good at what I do, or to give up on my native soil and look outside the country for an opportunity that will probably pay better, will have the benefit of inherent travel as a part of the gig, and will be a lot of fun to experience every day? I’m not sure I like the idea of making that decision.

I lived in Germany for a year as a part of an exchange program. It was tough living somewhere where I didn’t speak the language natively. It was equally hard to be away from everyone I knew and cared about. Still, I knew that I was only there for less than a year, so I did pretty well, all things considered (although the end was kind of rough). Still, every single weekend was an excuse to get on a train and go see something, or to chill in the town where I lived and still be able to check out some amazing sites of history, art, architecture, or a mix of the three. It was a truly amazing time, and I look back and wish that I had been able to see how important certain aspects of that experience would change me.

I have no doubt that a work gig would do something similar. This time I think I’d rather stay in the English-speaking world if I could, but I’m more than happy to consider something in the Scandinavian countries; I hear they have excellent healthcare and are generally just happier people, despite being subject to a lot of taxation. On top of that, I’d get to know that I’m only rarely more than 50 feet from a true Viking at any given moment. That’s not even the most awesome part, though: I’d be able to learn another language through immersion, which is what I need in order to be good at the language. All of the languages I’ve picked up in the past decade or so have been dead languages, anyway, so it would be an amazing change of pace to move on to something I can hear and speak in everyday situations.

I don’t have to decide just yet. Soon, though, I’ll need to look at what I have going for me and see which direction I’m going to lean.

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