The honeymoon is over and it’s all settling in.
We’ve all been through it, I’ve heard it called the storming phase or the norming.. or something. It’s that time when you’ve been in a new place long enough to form a routine, get used to your surroundings, and the things that were novelties become common. For my own purposes, I’m calling it the plateau.
Now, plateauing here is more like flying in a single engine plane 5 feet off the ground through a thunderstorm, on a plateau. But it’s plateauing nonetheless.
I’m getting settled in my job, understanding the culture a bit better, and all the things that you’d hoped you’d left behind when you move to a new place come back full steam. Not that I ever thought I could escape my insecurities, you’ll always lose the race to things like that. But somehow you always hope that things will be different, and they always are but not in the ways that you expect. My apologies to my coworkers for being moody and introverted, not an excuse, but those are just some of the things that I need to rewire within myself. A change of location rarely means a change in personality, at least a total change.
Things have normalized somewhat, everyday brings some different difficulty or puzzle but now those things are generally expected. I think that we generally think that transition is the process of moving and getting settled but the settling itself is the transition. I think expats (which I’m proud to say I’m officially part of that community now) know this better than anyone. I myself enjoy change, it’s the routine that I have the most issue with. Routine makes you deal with the everyday stuff that can be monotonous, irritating, or glorious depending on how you approach it.
As I look back on my other travels, but mostly last fall’s sojourn in France, I realize that I’ve looked at transition as a way of escaping my plateaus. I’m coming to realize that, if it’s not the most important part of life, plateaus are where most of the work is done, both literally and figuratively. I know now that I’m not necessarily an adrenaline junkie, but at least a change junkie. Maybe I’m weird, but I enjoy uncertainty, not knowing exactly how something is going to work out, it’s the knowing that most of my days will involve routine things that’s the most difficult for me.
Before I moved over here I relished the thought of throwing everything I owned in the trunk of my car at any moment and being able to move onto a new place. Now I’m in a place where I have the least amount of personal freedom that I’ve ever had. I’m confined by security situations and protocols, the needs of the day, and other circumstances that are completely outside my control. I’m not trying to complain, just saying. Giving up my personal freedom to disappear into a Starbucks for hours at a time, go on a drive, a run, or even just sit and watch TV has been a challenge. Maybe that’s why I’m blogging?
Ladies and gentlemen, you are now my coping mechanism.
Anyway, I suppose this post has been about nothing in particular. Just writing, thinking through my fingertips. Either way, it’s interesting to me that it took me coming here to realize just how much of a control freak I really am. I like to be able to move and do things on my own, not excluding people but not necessarily including them either. I’m able to do neither of these things, and while it gets on my nerves, it’s not altogether disagreeable but way different.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got. Thanks for reading. Until next time.
One thought on “The Plateau”
Luke! I so enjoy reading your posts and can definitely to relate your plateau analogy. The monotony of a new culture is certainly a paradox that is difficult for any person, especially those like ourselves who thrive on change and new situations, to get used to. Being confined in such a place also creates unexpected restlessness, but you can do it Luke! Keep writing so I can keep reading!