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New Year, New Decade, New Me?

So it's 2020. It's a start of a new decade. Honestly, although it's just a number, it's given me pause.

2020. Something about that number seems so daunting and so exciting at the same time.

In 2018, I moved across an ocean to chase a dream of being an assistant English teacher in Japan. I was living with rose-colored glasses on, trying to see nothing but the good and finding all the adventure there was to be had in the experience. A part of me thought that perhaps I could make a life here and stay here forever.

I don't want to go into details about my experiences here that have changed my perspective, as I don't see a point in memorializing things I would rather forget and allow to fade into the background of my life. What I will say is that I learned rose-colored glasses can make red flags look like decorations instead of warnings.

If I had known what I know now, would I have stayed a second year? I ask myself that a lot. I don't know. But what I do know is that I will never know what I would have done and I shouldn't focus on that. I can only focus on the here and now, and I should make the most of it as I can.

I will be leaving Akita in 2020, returning to America. I don't have a whole lot of concrete plans on what I will be doing when I go back, all I know is that I want to try something new and different. I have an idea that I will take some online classes, and I hope to continue to study Japanese on my own to keep up on all that I have learned.

I also hope to perhaps actually get my online store off the ground. (If you are reading this and see that I have an online store section on the website, ignore that for now. It's a work in progress!)

I think 2020 will be my time to dream a new dream and work towards it as hard as I worked towards my dream of moving to Japan. What are those dreams? I don't know yet. They are still forming and just general puffs of thoughts floating around. But hey, we all have to start somewhere don't we?

I believe firmly in things happening for a reason. There is a reason I am going back to America. There is a reason this didn't all work out. There is a reason I learned some hard lessons over here.

There is a reason and I will find it. I will turn my face towards the sun and find the good where it is. (Although it is shadowed and blocked most days and I have struggled desperately to find it.)

The count down has begun. I will be leaving at some point in 2020 (date to be determined by a lot of factors regarding my employment here) and I will go through reverse culture shock back home. I will cry and I will be upset to leave Akita, conflicted and confused. I will be happy and nervous to start over again back home.

I will be many things, but when haven't I?

I will come back to Japan. I will visit the places that brought me joy, and I will remember the bittersweet heartache at having to recognize that going back to America was the best decision for me. I will remember all the places I had to pull over to cry in my car, and I will share the places that made me excited to travel and get out more.

I will miss certain foods I eat here on a regular basis. I will miss convenience stores. I will miss the sunsets on the blue cascading mountains. I will miss the crisp air that carried a smell of Japan to me. I will miss this life that I fought so hard to build here.

But I will not miss feeling lonely and isolated.

In 2020, I want to continue to learn how to be okay with being alone. I want to continue to keep traveling and experiencing new things on my own terms. I want to continue to take moments to look at the view in front of me and just be. I want to continue the efforts I have made to be as I am, where I am.

In 2020, I have a dream of finding my next big adventure. Is it a starting my online store and becoming a small business owner? Is it finding financial security in a job back home? Is it just finding passion in sharing my thoughts here on this blog? Who knows! I certainly do not.

But I will find myself doing something different, that much I know.

I want to write more in 2020. I want to smile more in 2020. I want to create more in 2020. I want to be kinder to myself in 2020. Those are my resolutions.

It's the start of a new decade. It may not be an entirely new me, but it's a new dream to dream.

What are your resolutions for 2020? What do you want to do?

Love always,

Laura Ann

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