Taylor Valencia, 127 TCCS
Adapting is hard *AF* sometimes. Getting used to the fact that I am going home soon and will begin graduate school has had me cheesing like a fool one minute and ugly crying the next. Some days I wake up ready to enter the “what’s next” phase of my life and some days I am so scared of the unknown I’d rather crawl under a rock. It’s not easy.
Whether it’s adjusting to a new job, losing a job, getting used to a new relationship, or breaking one off, finding your feet as you work through the new “thing” is a process. Life doesn’t always give you time to adjust at the pace you want. Sometimes life is right on your heels and you don’t have any choice but to dig deep and RUN. Run towards a better you, run towards a more promising future, and run away from self-doubt as you navigate the new situation.
One thing that is great about adapting is that it means life is not stagnant. Honestly, the word stagnant sounds nasty to me. It makes me think of a bucket of dirty water sitting still and covered in mosquitoes. Ew. If given the choice to have a bucket of mosquitoes for life or a flowing river, I’m going with the river. Now, I didn’t say that river wouldn’t have rocks in it or a strong current, but I think I’ll be happier moving with life rather than just watching it move.
Although it’s not always easy adjusting to a new situation, by working through it, I truly believe it helps us grow and shape our values. Adjusting to living in Thailand with 100+ degree days, cold showers, and underwear eating ants definitely came with its challenges, and it still does. Even after being here for 2 years my skin color continues to be a topic of discussion in my community. Every day, for seven hundred and thirty days, I’ve either been greeted with “You look whiter today,” or “You look blacker today,” statements that may not mean any harm but have had an impact on me. By pushing through the challenges and adapting to life in Thailand, I have learned how resilient, hard-working, and supportive I am. Adjusting can be a difficult process but it encourages us to come face to face with our values and in some instances it allows us to find our own voice.
So to all my fellow PCVs and soon to be RPCVs, keep on adapting. Don’t allow fear to make you want to have a bucket of mosquitoes for life; go for the river. Always remember you are not alone. If things get tough while you’re adjusting to a new situation, reach out to those who can and will help you. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.”
Don’t be afraid.