Being Here Now

I almost titled this post, “Am I making a huge mistake?” But I didn’t want to alarm anyone (my husband) or be overdramatic.I am truly very excited about all these changes in our life. This wasn’t always the case, though. If I could trace the trajectory of my feelings about Foreign Service life, it would look something like this:foreign service, foreign service spouse, expat life, being here now, be here nowYou can see how things have changed in the span of just over a year.When Kail found out he was hired, I was happy for him, but I also immediately thought, “What does this mean for us? What does this mean for me?” (Because, you know, it’s always about me.) I tried my best to quash these anxieties and shove them deep, deep down until they were hidden beneath my regular anxieties and more trivial feelings.We hadn’t been dating that long, although I was fairly certain (and I think he was too) that this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I just didn’t picture that life in a foreign country.I hadn’t been at my job that long either, and I really liked it. I felt like I was on an upward trajectory, career-wise. I had a path all laid out in my head, and packing up my life and moving overseas was not part of that path. Was I supposed to just give everything up and follow some dude around the world? What would people think? What did this say about me?Of course, Kail isn’t just “some dude.” And there’s no single path for relationships, for careers, for life. The choice to go was actually quite easy (once we talked about it more and it became a “choice” — meaning he actually asked me to go with him as opposed to my immediate assumption that I was invited along for the journey): It came down to being with Kail or not. It wasn’t really a choice at all.With that easy non-decision decision behind us, I could then focus on more important things, like HOLY $#@* WE ARE GOING TO NIGERIA WHAT AM I GOING TO DO what I’m going to do in El Salvador, learning Spanish and planning our wedding. Ever the planner, I plowed ahead with gusto and started my blog, began Rosetta Stone, checked out WordPress and CSS and HTML books from the library, and started sketching out plans for my professional website and future freelancing career.Is this too much to cram into a six- to nine-month period while working full time? Absolutely. Am I going to try to do it anyway? Absolutely.You see, I have a bit of a problem. And seeing as how the current FS BRU prompt is “honesty,” I thought it’s about time I came clean.I am excited about the future, but I’m also anxious. But if I just write about how excited I am! And how great it will be! And how much fun I’ll have! And everything I’ll learn! And see! And do! It will all come true.You get what I’m saying? I’m all “rah-rah-rah!” And everyone else (the 3 or 4 people who read this blog — thank you!) is also like, “Yeah! That’s so awesome! It’s gonna be awesome!”How could it not be awesome?I’m not going to say this blog “covers up” my real feelings, but it sort of acts as a mask. It’s like when you wake up feeling sick and thinking you look like crap (possibly actually looking like crap), but you put on a good outfit and makeup to trick yourself into thinking and acting like you feel great.And oh, how I want to just fast-forward to when I do feel great. When I know how the chapter ends: in awesomeness.I have a tendency to always look ahead to plan the future or peer backwards to analyze the past. I’m really bad at being present, at appreciating the moment. I’m bad at being here now.My favorite college professor wrote, “Be here now” on the board (dry-erase, not chalk, although do people still use boards, period, or is everything digital? Kids these days …) the first day of class. It was a lesson in the temporal nature of life, the fleeting joys of youth. I’ve tried to remind myself of that mantra time and again but am having some obvious difficulties applying it to my life, particularly now.But we’re still a few months out from our departure. I’m still gainfully employed. There’s time yet to appreciate this period while I can: to cherish being a newlywed, to enjoy my work, to walk out the door and go for a run, to wander the aisles of Costco, to visit our favorite places in DC, to spend time with friends and family, to be here now.I know I’m probably not the only person who struggles with this. I’d love to hear your thoughts/tips for fighting off your inner planner in the comments!

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

11 thoughts on “Being Here Now

  1. I was wondering when you were going to reveal your WTF-AM-I-DOING feelings. I knew they were there. 🙂 Totally normal to be a little petrified. It’s a huge life change. Being here now is a good mantra, as is – take one day at a time. It will be overwhelming when you arrive in Sal Salvador. But having Kail as your life/adventure partner will make the overwhelming seem a little less so!


    1. Thanks Todd! Yeah, I tend to squelch those kinds of feelings until they explode at an inopportune time. 🙂


  2. I like that chart. Not only did it make me lol, but your Web skillz are impressive. As a person who is good at Being Here Now, the best tip I can pass along is, within reason, “do what feels good.” As in: Don’t feel like making the trip to Costco to get some groceries you need now b/c you’d rather sleep in late or snark about this soul-crushing reality TV show with your husband? Don’t make the trip to Costco. You’ll get the stuff eventually. You may not cross off all your life goals but it really reduces the anxiety about the small stuff. See what wisdom?Maybe I will bless you with more tomorrow.


    1. Thanks! What if I feel guilty because all the time I spent creating the chart should have been spent studying Spanish? Haha. Looking forward to more sage advice tonight.


  3. welcome to the FS! I’m going to link to you…if I can get around to it this week. Congrats on your posting and wedding and all that. I will be honest, once I became an FSO my blog became a lot more ‘rah rah’ than it was before, you know, for diplomatic reasons. But there is nothing wrong or undiplomatic about confessing that you’re scared or uncertain! we have all been there. good luck!


    1. Thank you! I see you’re in the Dominican Republic. How is your Spanish? Did you speak Spanish (or any languages) before you went? I have two more weeks at FSI and I’m really looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned into practice — and learning a lot more at post!


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