Terror, anxiety, isolation, this is what I am supposed to feel, or at least what I have felt in the past. After I got accepted to join a World Class Drum and Bugle Corps two years ago, I believed I wasn’t ready, that I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough, that I wasn’t strong enough, and that I would fall hard on my face and quit in the middle of our tour season. My thoughts consumed me and my anxiety turned into a deep regret toward the very thing I had just a few days prior been so passionate about. I told a few of my friends that I wasn’t ready, and even though their encouraging words came warmer and more sincere than expected, I felt worse and worse about the contract I had signed. It was not until I told one of my coaches at the time, Daniel, that I heard someone say “You’re not ready.” With such a profound response, I didn’t know what to say, so he continued, “you will only be ready to begin after you are done.” This really calmed me. I believe that I have the power to change and control every aspect of my life, and for this situation I still believed it true. I failed to see how impractical it would be for me to be fully prepared.
Currently, my wife and I are moving to Taiwan. With all the uncertainty, I routinely feel the urge to prepare, learn more Chinese, re-pack my suitcase, and research more and more online. In taking all of these actions, the younger me would be feeling the anxiety from the reality sinking in, but I feel totally at peace because there is a reason we are going: we want to learn. And, if we are going to learn, we can’t already know how to do everything. The anticipation we are feeling is not anxiety, nor does it mean we are taking a big risk and that we need to change our direction, but rather that we are right on track to learn something new.
I am not worried about our lives in the short-term because I realize we must put ourselves into new situations if we want to continue our personal development. This move is not just a move away from my home-town, but the town I imagined I would live in for the rest of my life. I am moving away from my hopes of staying in the same country. What terrifies me is that my view of what makes someone successful has changed. My idea of success is no longer just building a dream home, and having a wonderful career. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hoping for these things, but I am seeing that there are far more paths to success and the definition of success is much broader than I had realized. Moving to a foreign country and learning a second language is a challenge I never thought would be worth the effort, but putting less restrictions on my life and what I can do will allow for not only more paths to success but also a greater chance of achieving it.
The scariest part of moving abroad is not the opportunity cost, or the idea of what we are leaving behind; I am scared because I will be having more new experiences in the next three months than I have up to this point in my life. My problems lie in deciding which of the many opportunities I want to take, and trying to not regret the doors I must close along the way. I truly believe that Taiwan is going to be the best place for me to grow personally and professionally; however, I have never had so many choices with unknown outcomes and all I can hope is that we can find that path to success.