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It's been a hot minute since I've made time to write. I say "made" as opposed to "had", which is reflective of how I'm attempting to condition my thinking. It's always a challenge to try to remind myself that my minutes and days ARE my own, that I'm beyond fortunate to have the choices I do, and that life doesn't "happen" to me, but rather, I choose it. If I'm being transparent, I haven't wanted to write. I'm in the midst some major changes and am still very much trying to get through the day most days. I've transitioned from living in one of the sunniest places on earth to one of the rainiest (albeit beautiful and green). :) I've gone from living in the suburbs of the 8th largest city in America. with a population of about 1.5 million people, to the Irish countryside, where the population of the nearest village is 432. :)) I've gone from spending a total of 6 weeks of the last 10 months with my fiance, to getting married, moving in together and being in each other's presence nearly 24/7 (he works from home and I'm unemployed here currently as I still can't legally work). We've been long distance for almost FIVE years, so this one is one of the most amazing AND one of the most challenging changes, as we learn how to deal with things NOT over text! :) I've gone from a sometimes frenetic working schedule to having I've gone from 20 years as a single parent to having a solid, reliable, loving partner. I've gone from living in the same time zone as my one and only child, to being 8 hours ahead, and having to navigate how to keep in regular touch with her (and everyone else back in the States and elsewhere) and parent her as she transitions into adulthood (spoiler for parents of young kids: adult children are the best!!).

Some of these changes are magical, and some are more difficult than I could have imagined. I'm an ENFP, for what it's worth; the most introverted of all extroverts. This means that while I need more alone time than some of my fellow extroverts, I still get my energy and feel most fulfilled in the presence of others (often groups). I'm learning just how grossly I underestimated the amount of social interaction my job as a full-time musician provided me. When I worked, I was ALWAYS interacting with groups! I generally love people, and I find myself feeling quite isolated and depressed not having that kind of connection these past 9 weeks. I have been looking at volunteer positions, gyms to join, meetups, etc. to try to fill this need in me. I also need to accept that I may just not ever feel like I fully fit in here. I'm sure in time things will begin to feel more familiar (that's already happened a good bit- hello driving on the left side of the road!), and I have high hopes that I'll find "my people", but for now, it's all just a bit overwhelming. And there's something hard about that, and something beautiful about that. I was listening to this podcast that I subscribe to. I'll add the link at the bottom. This week was about "vanity", and the definition of vanity that this priest gave was that vanity is the "inordinate preoccupation with what others think of you". He went on to talk about how there is an "ordinate" awareness of what others think-- and this is helpful (this is the positive self awareness that keeps us from picking our nose in public or dominating a conversation), but that when it crosses a line and become "inordinate", that's were the trouble starts. One of the things that hit me most was the idea that vanity always requires an audience, even if that audience is only you, and that when you're preoccupied with how you're being perceived, you can't try new things, because you don't want to fail. I think I've been guilty of this throughout my life at different times, and I feel it recently. When you're in a place where you stick out like a sore thumb, it's easy to become "inordinately preoccupied" with how you're being perceived, especially when there are so many stereotypes that people have about Americans in general over here (and remember, stereotypes usually come about for a reason!). So, I've learned to be more conscious and careful about how I speak, behave, etc., but sometimes it's just exhausting. Enter Keith's experience of being in my country on and off for the past 5 years! I'm starting to get a taste of what he experienced, even though some experiences will of course be unique to each of us.

One thing I'm seeing with with new eyes is the plight of the immigrant! I know, laughable to read that coming from me, and in no way am I equating my own immigration experience to that of people seeking asylum, or someone moving to a new country with only the shirt on their back kinda thing. If anything, I feel how HARD this move is for me WITH all the luxuries I've been afforded, and I think to myself how unbelievably STRONG other human beings are compared to me... Those who left their own countries to try to make a better life somewhere else... those who have to learn new languages, those who are viewed with disdain because they have different accents, or skin color, or traditions and customs, those who have NO money, those escaping unimaginable existences who have to start over again with nothing, and on and on. How did I get to be such a wimp? When did I get so entitled? How have I never realized HOW EASY life is for me compared to soooo many others? I mean we say these things, but meanwhile I'm over here having daily breakdowns because I "perceive" that I get dirty looks when people hear my accent. :)

I think I've gone from feeling like I need to try hard to fit in, to instead just trying to be grateful for the chance to try something new. I'm not trapped, I'm not stuck, and in time I'll know whether or not this is a place I can put down roots in or not, but in the meantime, I need to buck up and stop being "inordinately preoccupied" with what others think. The truth is that you actually don't know what others are thinking unless they tell you, and we all know what assuming does. Anyway, here's to starting up the auld blogging again after so long. Will be doing some vlogging as well, so stay tuned for some more long walks down country lanes, balcony yoga, and hey! maybe even some music! :)

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