It’s officially been over a week since I made it back from London! What da heck is mah lifeeeeee!? That seems to be my constant state of mind these days. Transitioning into life back in the States has proven to be harder than I anticipated. Partly because I have reverse culture shock but mainly because I found home in London. I wanted to write an entire novel on my experiences and post it as a blog, but I condensed everything down into a few main points instead.
- Throw your hands up!
I love the thrill of a good roller coaster at an amusement park! The only problem is that I’m actually the biggest wimp on the planet. I always tell myself I’m going to keep my eyes open the whole time, but every ounce of courage leaks from my body when I reach the top of the ride. It’s a guarantee you’ll hear me screaming through out the whole park, but those loud shrieks turn into a full belly laugh by the end of the ride. I think to myself “girl you’re so dramatic”.
This is basically how I felt leaving for London. I was super excited and pretty much feeling myself all week. My theme song was “SPIRIT LEAD ME WHERE MY TRUST IS WITHOUT BORDERS” as loud as I could play it. But as soon as I put my bags into my mom’s car and left for the airport I FREAKED. God bless my mom. She tried everything. She even tried tricking me into taking some muscle relaxers.
I had reached the top of my roller coaster about to take the plunge and I had NO idea what was in front of me. I had been on my own before when I moved to Louisiana, but nothing like this. As my first plane to Chicago took off, I closed my eyes and decided to lift my hands in surrender for wherever this ride was going to take me.
- Life will always throw you unexpected loops.
Like most of us, I like to plan out my life. I’ve learned to not worry about the small details, but I LIKE STABILITY. And not just like having regular morning coffee and kind of stability. I mean, I like to know the details of where I’m living, the predicted amount of dollar signs in the bank account (HELLOOOOO), and the people that will be on my side. I did my very best to make all of this happen, but it failed… miserably… crash and burned… no survivors. I think you get the point. First, I couldn’t get the details of my living accommodations. Second, I misinterpreted the cost of baggage for international flights and had to give them my arm in exchange. This is a huge deal for a senior in college! Third, I lost my contract job the second week I was in London. Fourth, just about every door of opportunity was shut when I got to London.
I like to think of this as my experience on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal studios. You know, the one where the big T-Rex comes out of nowhere right before you are plunged down a dark tunnel. Yeah… That’s where I was.
So what did I do? I cried, like a lot. I even took some pics as an encouragement to myself that I’d one day be able to look back on them and realize how far I’d come. And no I will not be posting those by the way.
After I stopped allowing my emotions to get the best of me, I decided the big bad T-Rex didn’t have the ability to eat me like 11-year-old Becca used to tell herself. I began to get up every day and make the decision to trust God with every new challenge. There were plenty more along the way, but the important part is that I learned to accept that challenges would always be there. There’s never going to be a perfect fairytale ending to any story. It’s probably going to be messy, but it will be 10 times more beautiful than the original plan you had. Refuse to give up and brace yourself for the loops.
- Forgive yourself.
Going into any new season of life will bring a whole new set of decisions that need to be made. You’re going to mess them up. Hopefully not all of them, but definitely a couple of them. Amiright?! If I can be a little honest on my own page, I’ll admit that I got a lot of great pictures but I didn’t handle my money in the best way. I didn’t dig myself into a giant pile of debt, but I do have some small consequences I now have to pay. I could beat myself up for my mistake, or I can own up to my wrong and make note of how I can do better in the future. This is forgiveness. It’s often times easier to forgive everyone else and then discount ourselves. You’d think I’d know this by now because I have a tattoo saying “grace” on my arm, but we often forget we need it daily.
I visited France, Poland, Hungary, Scotland, Italy, and Greece while I was in London and there were definitely times that I could have been more present and relaxed, but I felt I needed to punish myself for buying the plane tickets. Sounds silly but we all do this in one way or another, especially when we start something new. Give yourself a break and actually give yourself a break! Take a moment to learn from your mistake and then keep it stepping babe.
- It’s okay to sit alone.
The thought of riding on an upside down ride by myself has always been petrifying. I refuse to do it! Somehow it just makes sense in my mind that the person sitting next to me would be able to save me if I was about to slide out of my seat. Moving to London by myself has taught me differently, and it actually became one of my favorite life lessons because it created some of my best memories ❤
When I first arrived at my new London uni, I was not too interested in making new friends because it was my last semester of my college life. I had just decided on my bridesmaids (without even having a boyfriend… I know, I know), and we had all decided we’d be friends for life. Then what seemed like a single moment in time (or a 6-hour time difference), everything changed. I no longer saw my BFF’s every day and we didn’t really have time to talk.
I didn’t want to put in the work of building new friendships and I definitely didn’t want to feel the pain of letting go of my old ones. For the first couple of months, I found myself choosing to walk the crowded streets of London by myself. I was around a lot of people but there were many times I chose to step away. Time by yourself makes you see the real you. The you that makes excuses, the you that has trust issues, and the you that’s scared. Having to face the real me felt lonelier than ever, but I was determined to embrace it. Through the hard parts of myself, I began to see new authentic passion giveaway. I realized the beauty of a “lonely season” where I was able to catch myself from sliding out of the upside down rides.
Taking some time to sit by yourself does not mean you shut everyone out, and it does not authorize an excuse to put up walls. In fact, my experience turned out to be quite the opposite. I was able to patch up the rocky foundations in some friendships and let go of others that needed to be let go. In the end, my favorite part turned out to be inviting new people into my live. My experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.
5. HAVE FUN
If London didn’t teach me anything else, it taught me to simply have fun. Life gets stressful, but let’s never get so serious that we forget to enjoy it. Take it all in. Every moment. I will forever cherish all of the great times I had when I look back on them.