Months ago I said that I was afraid to go home. Now, having been home for two weeks, and then returning to Korea, I'm honestly not quite sure what to think. I had hoped my trip might bring some clarity to my life, in terms of how to proceed a future that is again uncertain. My Korean contract expires in August, and just like last year I'm stewing about what to do next. In a short-term context, my trip did answer a few questions; however, in a larger, more existential sense I'm more confused than I was. Classic Morgan.
For starters, I now know for sure that I do not want to stay in Korea another year. Before I left, I was prettttty sure, but now I am certain. Korea is a great place. It is. But ultimately it's not for me. Visiting Colorado made me realize how much I miss the constant sunshine, and vibrant colors in the sky. To my eyes, Korean air pollution is really pretty bad, though not nearly as bad as China. This concern might seem trivial to some, but everyday I was in Colorado I walked outside and thought: God damn! It's so beautiful here! So, in the long-term the smog, and days without sun, that matters to me a lot. More than that, I miss fitting in (or at least not standing out like a sore thumb). Though it's not meant malevolently, Koreans tend to treat foreigners like some sort of rare and exotic animal. I know foreigners who really enjoy that kind of attention; however, I am not one of them. As I said, it's not meant in a negative way, but again, in the long-term it really does bother me. It's something I can tolerate, but most certainly do not enjoy.
This next point might sound a bit strange, but I'll try to explain the best I can. Visiting home made me remember that my so-called "old life" actually still is a viable option. Of course, that seems obvious, but being gone for 16 months significantly changed the way I though about my life in Colorado. Before my visit, I had developed a mental division between "my life before" and "my life now" - but having seen everyone and everywhere I used to frequent, I remembered that that distinction is not quite accurate. My so-called "old life" is definitely still a real thing, and if I wanted to I could rejoin it at anytime.
I could go home. But do I want to?
In a way, I feel as though I have this double life. There's the home where I live, work, pay my bills, travel, eat, and sleep. Then, there's the home where my family lives, where I know the streets like the back of my hand, where my childhood bedroom is still the same. The first few days in Denver, it was as though I had snapped a rubber band and was watching it move in slow motion. The two sides undulated, first curving away from one and other, and then crossing paths. Like the rubber band, this process in my head repeated. One moment I felt an intense pull towards my "old life" - the clean air, the colors in the sky, and the space I felt around me as I gazed for miles in every direction around the flat plane of my city. So beautiful... and all of it mine. The home I never knew I loved that much until I left.
Then suddenly, the bands would switch, and I felt a pull of the same intensity in the opposite direction. Toward the place where I had been. A place so different, but still beautiful in it's own way. A place where I have grown so much and become a healthier, calmer, and in opinion an overall better individual. The pull towards "my life now" returned, and all I wanted was to charge off back into the sunset, back into a horizon where the slate is clean and every day promises something new.
And I'm thinking of the place where I should have stayed, but wandered.
But which place was that?
Part of me lusts constantly after the life of the world traveler, digital nomad, international vagabond... Whatever you want to call it - that path appeals very strongly to me. With minimal possessions, new sights and sounds everyday, and the lure of each corner yet unturned. So many bloggers that I follow, including myself point to this way of life as the "better" way to live. They and I speak of leaving behind a life of materialism for a life of limited material possessions, constantly expanding perspectives, and daily novel experiences.
Despite this, a part of me - one that found rejuvination after my trip to home - also yearns for that so-called materialistic life. I missed my clothing. I missed my car. I missed gourmet food, creative cocktails, and mouthwatering happy hours. I'm not ashamed to say that I like that part of life, though I sometimes wonder if I should be. Part of me imagines the beautiful apartment that actually belong to me, wants to dress in a unique outfit everyday from a closet that is much too large, and dreams about zooming about in the jet black Corvette bought with money from a high paying, yet stationary job. As much as I love my life of wandering, my bio says "penthouse dreams" for a reason.
Buying things to fill an emotional and spiritual gap in your soul will not bring true happiness and contentment. This I know to be true. True happiness comes from within. But I also know beyond any shadow that being behind the wheel of that Corvette would bring me joy. That car and the lifestyle it represents has been my dream, in tandem with dreams of travel for as long as I can remember.
When I think this way I wonder: Do these thoughts make me a worse person? Am I somehow betraying my newly cultivated 'traveler' identity? Is there a way to combine these two halves of myself in a sustainable and meaningful way? I guess that is the ultimate dream for most all people - combining passion with monetary gain. Having the cake and eating it too. Like I have said before... All I really want is everything.
I keep trying to imagine a home where "my old life" and "my new life" can coexist, where I don't have certain people in my ear asking when I'm coming back, where I feel like I'm doing what's right for me without constantly leaving something else behind - a life where going home again doesn't confuse just as much as it comforts. In this effort, I continue to come up short. Despite this, a part of me realizes the inherent futility of the exercise, and can accept that not knowing is just a part of life, perhaps the best part of life really. This way every day holds the potential for something better than the day before. And besides, knowing all the answers would take out half the fun ;)
How do you feel when you go home? Does it clarify or confuse you? Please feel free to join in on the conversation by leaving a comment below! Also, sharing is caring and it helps me out a lot so if you enjoyed this please share with your friends or like this article on Facebook.
Enjoy the beautiful view!