“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.”
When Forrest says this line, he is referring to the time when he decided to take a jog not knowing that he would end up on a jog lasting more than three years.
Like Forrest, I decided to go for a little run. On an airplane. Across the Atlantic Ocean. To Ireland. For one year.
The decision to quit everything in America and move to Ireland was the easiest and hardest decision I’ve ever made for various reasons.
1. I was incredibly unhappy with my work situation.
I graduated college at in December 2012 and had a full-time job at a museum by the end of January 2013. I was 21 and had a career.
The job started out great. I had been a volunteer at the museum for three months prior to being hired on staff. I knew the way the museum ran and how to do my job. But then things started to go wrong. I don’t want to get into it, but know that I dreaded going to work everyday.
My boss was (and still is) one of the greatest people on this planet. There was one day when I kind of lost it. I walked into his office, sat down on the floor, and cried. I poured my heart out about how unhappy I was with everything. In my mind, I knew he was going to tell me to buck up and get myself together. That or he would flat fire me. Instead, he told me he understood.
Over the last few months at the museum, I spent many an afternoon in his office talking about me moving to Ireland. He was nothing but supportive and told me to go after my dreams.
2. I was in a committed relationship where we were talking about a future together.
I will begin this by saying that then boy friend and I have since talked and worked a lot of things out. We are now on good terms. 🙂
So I was dating someone. Every relationship has its ups and downs; he and I were in a down. Boy friend was treating me pretty poorly and was making me feel bad about myself. Words were said by both of us that don’t need to be repeated.
Like most train wrecks though, you can’t look away. I stayed with him because it was comfortable in spite of the negativity.
The night I was going to break the news to him that I had found a program in Ireland that I wanted to do, he told me first that he wanted to join the Air Force. I was shocked. That came out of left field. Afterwards, I told him about Ireland. His reaction was to ask me to marry him saying that if I came with him to the Air Force, we could travel together that way.
But I didn’t want to get married.
He and I had way too many problems to just go get married and try to fix them that way. If anything, our problems would have worsened. Aside from that, I really did not want to get married.
The world was out there, and I had to go see it. Marriage would do nothing but hold me back.
Gosh I know that sounds awful and like I am against marriage. I promise I’m not. There’s nothing in this world that I want more than to be a wife and mother, but not now. I needed to spend some time with myself figuring out who I am and what I want to do with my life before I could focus on our life.
3. My parent’s approval and lack there of.
Mama and Daddy were so mad at me that I wanted to quit everything I had going for me in Georgia just to move to Ireland. Crazy. Impulsive. Irresponsible. Those were words used to describe me.
At first they told me, “N. O. No,” but I didn’t give up. I began the application process without their consent. Eventually, the “No” turned into, “Well, you’re an adult, and I can’t stop you, but I think this is a bad idea.” I kept going.
Within the couple of months before leaving Georgia, my parents came around. They were proud to tell people that their daughter was hopping on a plane and moving to Ireland. Of course, they hated to see me go, but they didn’t stop me.
Parents will be parents and probably won’t like all the decisions you make in life. I know for a fact they didn’t/don’t approve of the decisions I made.
4. I feared that one day I would regret not doing it.
Who knows. I may have left the museum for another company and fixed things with boy friend. Maybe we would have gotten married and I could be on a military base somewhere around the world. Maybe I would have been happy or content to make those choices.
But I feared that if I settled for anything less than one year in Ireland, I would wake up one day and regret not doing it.
It may not have happened until I was in my 30s with young children running around my ankles, or maybe when I was 70 watching my grandchildren going off on their own adventures. But I worried that I would one day resent the people around me and myself because I did not take this opportunity.
5. I knew it was what I was supposed to do.
I was unhappy with my work situation and in an unpleasant relationship, and without my parents immediate approval and having the fear of regret, I decided to run to Ireland.
I just knew it was what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
In the year since arriving in Ireland, I have questioned my sanity. How many people really just up and leave the comfort of their home to build a new one on another continent? Not many. How many people are actually successful at it? Even less.
The odds were stacked high against me, but I didn’t care.
The decision to move to Ireland was the easiest and most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. Kind of like Forrest, I decided to go for a little run. I left some things behind in America and had not looked back.
Now on the eve of my return to the States, I’m starting to look back at my life before this year.
But more on that later.