I’ve been here in Deutschland for exactly a month. It feels simultaneiously like I just stepped off the plane and like I’ve been home for years. Even though I’m still settling in, taking care of details, and learning (the hard way) all the nuances of a completely new land- I’m continuously struck by the realization that I’m here.
My CPTSD keeps kicking in and telling me that this isn’t real- or that this fragile beautiful thing is going to come crashing down any minute. My shit-brain has imagined at least a thousand ways that this could end just when I’ve achieved it. It’s funny- when I’m depressed I really don’t give a shit if I die- I’m not afraid. When I’m doing well and living happy, I start to worry excessively about dying right as things get good. I’ll take it though. It’s worth it.
Fuck it- it’s all the more reason to live it. Maybe that’s why, for the first time in my life, I’m more excited each day than the one before. Excited to walk to the store, talk to the chashier, go to work, walk home… breathe the air. Crunch the leaves. Every bit of it makes me fall in love. I keep thinking it will wear off and normalize. It just keeps getting better.
I thought that fairytale shit was made up for TV.
The other half of this magical math equation is my new line of work. I took a major pay cut to come here. I was not only worried about making ends meet, but about ‘taking a step backwards’ after I had worked my ass off for years to get where I was career-wise back in the States. I gave it up on a gamble- not only a solid career but one that had a trajectory upwards.
It’s all a sad and hilarious false god. You can only see it once you’re out of the mire. When your entire life is your career, and everyone in your life is in the same bubble- every day and every week and every year- you get your threads caught in the machine and it takes you. You forget. My job before was stressful. Fucking stressful. You tell yourself it’s worth it for the pay, that the extra you put in will pay off, that the reward is doing your shit at top performance. It’s a lie. You become so comfortable in the pain- it’s terrifying to give it up.
I’ve never worked a job before where the running joke with coworkers is about who woke up at 2AM last night in a panic, convinced that you forgot something the day before. Nightmares, midnight panic, blood pressure and body aches. It makes you tired in your soul- because it never ends. Every day is fresh stress, new fires, and you become less than yourself. Six days a week for years.
I’m making around half yearly what I did before. I’m happy as fuck. For the first time, I’m living a life first and going to work second. Work is just a thing I do a few hours in between all the other rad shit I do all day. The job has no stress- there aren’t a thousand ways to fuck up everyday with no way to fix my mistakes- I have tasks to do and that’s all I have to worry about.
Coworkers in my new workplace talk about ‘busy days’ and ‘heavy work’ and worry that they’re throwing too much at me when I’ve just started. I just smile. There’s no use trying to explain what a joy it is, or what soul crushing anxiety I’m accustomed to. ‘For the money.’ Nope.
I’m never going back. Give me ‘basic’ work forever. I’ve got fucking living to do.