A Rollercoaster Of Awareness…



Okay, I’m in a Funk….

As Scott has begun to have a routine of his own, he works on our project from 7:30-4:00, I’m finding myself at a loss, as to what to do with myself. It’s a very strange feeling for me that no one expects me to be anywhere. I could just sit at home alone all day long and no one would even miss me. (don’t panic, I’m OKAY, really) I have no one expecting me to be or do anything at all. This is not a familiar feeling for me and I’ll admit I feel a bit lonely and kinda lost and not a little useless. Right now I don’t feel like I have a ‘purpose’ to my days. I’m enjoying going to the gym and swimming and getting exercise, but the gym is a very quite place. I’ve always been such a people person. Whew! I knew I would miss the social aspects of my salon, the people, the fun conversations about books and life and gossip and the laughing and joking and the reward I got from giving of myself to make people feel good. I know I’ll eventually find my new purpose but at the moment I’m just a bit lost, although at the same time, kinda feeling as though I need to embrace this moment and sit with it so I can process what I’m going through and move forward in a healthy way. Just writing it down feels a little bit better but I don’t like to sound like I’m so pathetic and that’s exactly what it sounds like when I read back to myself what I just said. Geesh! (eye roll!) Well, it’s honest and I think it’s one of the things you like about following my journey. I know it’s one of the things I like about sharing it, being open and revealing to you what this new beginning is truly like for me. (shrug!)

My good friend called this time , “A Rollercoaster of Awareness” I love this!. After she said that I had to just think about all the ‘Awareness’ this new life has brought to the surface for me. All the new things I’ve become aware of since moving and leaving behind everything I know. Awareness of where I ‘fit’ in my new life. This is something I’m still figuring out. Awareness of what I left behind. Right now I feel painfully aware of a feeling of grief for what I left behind, as well as a feeling of fear, loneliness, sadness, confusion, of not being exactly clear about what my new ‘purpose’ here will be. Don’t misunderstand that to mean regret, because grief , in my mind isn’t the same as ‘regret’. I have not one tiny bit of regret about making this move, I want to be very clear about that truth. All these feelings are, I’m told by those who have been exactly where I am right now, very normal. I think this early stage of this life change has been so full of so much ‘busy-work’. Getting settled and adjusting to all the newness, new people, new customs, new language, new activities, not working (a very big one!), new car, new house to live in, just every single thing in my life has been changed. It’s been nearly 8 months of adjusting and celebrating how pleased we are with this move. We really made a good move, in so many ways, but that doesn’t mean that leaving my other life is easy and painless. It’s an end of a life , that I haven’t given myself permission to really mourn. Well, maybe not an ‘end’ exactly, more of a ‘moving forward’. A loss, in some ways. Yes, Self-induced, but loss nonetheless. And so far I’ve been busy feeling so happy and excited and adjusting to so much that’s new and very different and now, as life is beginning to take on a certain ‘rhythm’ and slowing down a bit, I’m beginning to feel the sting of all I left behind and the realization is seeping in, that now I need to figure out a new path for myself. It’s almost like being 18 all over again, and I have to figure out what I want to do with the life ahead of me. Except, when your 18 your much more anxious to move on down the road, your leaving your childhood and ready to make your mark on the world, to do important things and figure out who you are, blah, blah, blah. This time of my life, right now, is kinda different because I feel like I’m making a much more ‘mindful’ adjustment to my path, making changes that are a reflection of who I know I am.

I loved what I did with the first part of my life. I had a great time, and felt so much reward in so many different ways. Fulfilling…. that’s what my life was. I was extremely fulfilled by the path I followed and by the way I lived my life. So, now, I wonder to myself, how I’ll be able to create that feeling again. Where to begin? I can only assume that given the fact that all I have at the beginning of this next chapter of my life is myself and my dear life partner ,Scott, I really need to nurture and care for and rediscover those two important things right now. Let me re-phrase that…because as I ponder what I just said, that all I have right now is Myself & Scott….that’s not really true, I have an adventure that’s opening up before me. We both, Scott & Me, enjoy the challenges and rewards of doing a project like the one we’re just beginning. We love learning new things together and joining together to achieve something that makes us feel self-sufficient and successful as a team. I think because, this rough construction part of the project is out of the realm of what I’m realistically capable of contributing much to, I’m feeling a bit left out at the moment. I’m backstage doing what I can. Believe it or not, I’ve taken over most of the cooking and grocery shopping as well as learning the book keeping for our three employees and trying to establish our bank account here in Panama. I know, Gasp! Me! Cooking? Crazy Huh? But It’s true, I’ve been making Scott Pancakes in the morning,(from scratch no less!) making sure he has plenty of homemade peanut butter cookies and then I make him a lunch and drive up to the property everyday to eat with him. And need I tell you how many loads of laundry it takes to make sure he has clean socks and undies and Jeans! Geesh! We didn’t really bring a large supply of clothes so I’m constantly washing. All this to say, I’m far from bored. And this post may sound a bit depressed? But, no, I’m not depressed and I’m not terribly unhappy, nothing like that. I’m just trying to put into words that I’m still adjusting to my new life, the part where I don’t have a daily, busy ultra productive, job that’s all consuming. I expected I would have some adjusting to do, and I would need to redefine myself , and here I am. As I travel on this “Roller coaster Of Awakening” I’m trying not to deny that along with the ups of my adventure, there are some downs and I suspect there will even be some loop de loops as well.

Today, is a bit of a down day, and Just as I was feeling so alone and “poor me” (sad face), I got an email inviting me to join a group of women who are learning to play Mahjongg! Smiling! I just love games and have already had one Mahjongg lesson with two really cool women so I’m thrilled to get to keep learning and to meet even more cool women. All this to say, I haven’t quite found my purpose or my routine exactly. I’m unsure of where or what I’m doing with myself yet and it’s not a place I’m accustomed to being in. I’m usually pretty sure of myself and of what I am doing, at the moment I’m feeling a bit adrift. But I know I’ll work through it and that with time, my new path will reveal itself to me. I’ll probably just realize one day, “wow! I’m doing so much that I enjoy!”. At the moment, I’m just attempting to process all this new freedom I have and even though I’m just thrilled to be here, I long to feel the same kind of knowing as I’ve had in my past life…Knowing that I’m following my path and doing all the things I’m meant to be doing. As soon as I’ve cleared the way enough to actually see the Path, I’ll feel much more grounded. For now I gotta try to sit back and soak up where I am in this moment, which is not a bad thing to try to do. Don’t let this post worry you, I know that settling into a new life is a huge process and it takes time. Guess what… I’ve got plenty of time!

About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

19 responses »

    • I’m not much of a teacher, but I’d love to volunteer in a school and just be around the children, that sounds like my kind of thing. I’m sure opportunities will open themselves up to me in time. :)Thanks for the suggestion.

  1. You need to find some community groups to get involved in Sista Gurlfriend. 🙂 And then Scott needs to designate you as the Order Desk Gurl when it comes time to find finishes for the house, dashing here and there between Elmac, DoIt, Cochez etc. And you should also be the Accountant Gurl, keeping track of expenditures for the house. Soon you’ll be saying that you have no time.

    SU y yo viajamos a David 28, 29 de enero para las cosas de plomería.

  2. amiga, you have the guts to voice/articulate what many people encounter after that honeymoon phase passes. i remember one particularly ugly rainy season, and i was tired of the mud, the mold on everything, the dampness, clothes wouldn’t dry, etc, and i saw a commercial on tv in a restaurant, and there was a whopper with fries and a cold coke on crushed ice, and i so wanted a warm soft hamburger bun with every ounce of artery-clogging fat and that crushed ice and – i didn’t even like whoppers!!!!
    now that i have a dozen years behind this move to latin america, i realize how important those early years were in forming me into a much stronger person, one who took a good look at herself because life slowed down so that i could actually do that! we can stay so busy that each day is filled, but it’s when we get quiet, we find out what we’re made of.

    squeeze the most out of each day and don’t worry about tomorrow.. or yesterday.. but you know that! there’s no telling what you’ll be doing a year from now and how many new things you will have mastered! z

    • Ohhhh! I really needed to hear that ! Yes, in this quite, stillness I’m getting to know a “ME” that is usually hiding behind a smile for someone else. I think I will enjoy this time of reflection and find joy in the solitude that is my gift right now. I feel as though I even need to find a way to appreciate the seemingly ‘negative’ emotions as well, because I have a tendency to deny them and pretend that everything is just hunky-dory all the time. It’s funny, most people (me included) don’t seem to see the importance of the balance a ‘sad’ day can bring to us. I’m going to try to change my perspective and sit here this morning appreciating the moment. Cheers Mi Amiga! Feliz Fin De Semana!

  3. Holly, I’m so doggone proud of you! I just want to reach out and HUG you! It takes a brave person to expose your vulnerabilities and fears about moving to a foreign country and express your thoughts of “What’s next for me?” I’ll bet you feel relieved putting it all out there. Like Z says, “It’s when we get quiet, that we find out what we’re made of.” I love that phrase, Z. Now that the initial adrenalin rush is over, you have some well deserved time just for you! Enjoy your wild ride of awareness and become a master Mahjongg player. (Boy that’s a tough one to spell!)

    • Oh Deb! Thanks for the HUG! I got it!! And I really needed it! Thanks so much for being my Virtual Big Sis! That’s what you are to me! I really needed to vent the other day and you were just the right person, your gentle words of encouragement were exactly what I needed. So many times people feel the need to try to ‘fix’ the problem and you simple commiserated with me and validated where I was in that moment. Thanks for that! Cheers Mi Amiga! Feliz Fin De Semana! Smiling….

  4. Holly, why don’t you volunteer at the local elementary school? You can do some simple crafts with the kids, teach them easy, American songs. Do they have a senior center? I know Almaden has a guy come by twice a week and cuts hair for free. The seniors love it. I am going to be in Santa Cruz tomorrow and Sunday with Jason and Caroline. Jason bought tickets to a jazz concert (Christmas gift). The weather is beautiful. I am so looking forward to be with Jason and Caroline. Love them both very much. Hand in there, an idea will come to you. Hugs – Su amiga …Chris

    • Hola Chris! Thanks for the suggestions. I’m certain that the right opportunity will come my way. I would love to volunteer at a school, and when an opportunity reveals itself I’ll be ready. I’m glad your getting to spend some time in Santa Cruz with Jason & Caroline! Lucky you! I bet the beach will be beautiful! Love you! Holly

  5. My dear Holly yes you are facing one of the stages of grief, reviewing what you have lost and searching for acceptance. I know you will do this successfully as you have faced all the challenges in your life However I would suggest you read Holmes and Rahes work on stress and its effect on our health,stress can be +ve or -ve This just one overview. You will find your future role as someone else said there is a major one in building your home.

  6. Holly – why is it that you don’t feel like you would be a huge asset to helping to build the house? I think you would be really great to have around at the site to give your hubby advice and to order around the hired help..ha only joking. I know you would be a ton of help to him and one more free hand would make the job go much faster and you would surely get a wonderful feeling of accomplishment if you helped out. I know just being there in town must be really boring and if I were you I would immerse myself into the building of your new place. Good Luck and I hope you are able to find your way. Love you anyway… Jerry

    • Hola Jerry! Yes, your absolutely right! I will be a huge asset helping Scott with our project. To tell the truth, Ive been working hard at getting my injured ankle stronger. It’s much much better but not quite 100% yet . I really don’t want to re-injure it so I’m being very careful. I can tell that it’s a little bit better everyday so it wont be too much longer and I can try to get up there and do a bit of work with him. Right now I think he’s really enjoying me doing all the backstage work, today I’m getting payroll organized and I’ve been keeping busy printing out contracts and engaging the book keeper that our lawyer recommended, as well as trying to gather all the many documents we need to establish a bank account here. And let’s not forget the feeding of the man! HUMPH! I’ve been making sure to get up early with him and make breakfast and then bringing lunch up there everyday and making sure we have food and lots of fresh fruit and his favorite peanut butter cookies always on hand! I’ve never really been much of a housewife, It’s never really been my thing, but at the moment I seem to be falling into that roll somehow…Grrrrr! 🙂 I also have the dog, the hummingbirds, the cats and all the other birds that I have been keeping well fed! Everybody seems very happy to have me handing out the meals at the moment around here! Ha!Ha! All’s well! Hope your having a great weekend! Cheers!

    • Hey Julie! Coming from the consummate Volunteer! 🙂 Your absolutely right! I have put my ‘feelers’ out there for an opportunity to get involved in one of the local schools. I would really enjoy being around the kids and it would be great practice for my horrible Spanish! I’m sure the right opportunity will appear when I least expect it. Thanks for the input my friend! Cheers!

  7. Holly, I think the hardest part right now is that kids aren’t in school so not really able to volunteer there just yet. Did you see this link on facebook? http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2013/11/pineapples-how-to-not-end-up-a-disappointed-expat/
    Interesting article. I hope not be a pineapple haha AND I know you will find plenty to do and will get involved in exciting events (go find some trouble lol while Scott slaves over building your dream home–but not too much trouble!).

  8. Hi Girl, I am reading through the comments and they are all right on:) You have so many friends cheering for you, I see that. I remember this part when we lived in Mallorca. It is like falling off a tree. . . . searching for a branch to grab onto. You are being reborn into your new Panamenian Girl. Hang in there. . . keep your eyes and heart open. Your purpose in Panama will reveal itself. . . you will create it. Love you lots! Rocio

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