As you can see in these photos, Amy Young brings rays of sunshine where she goes – I love her smile and joie de vivre. I met her online and count her as a lovely friend who brings encouragement and fun. She and I share a love of NFL football, and she’s the kind of fan who makes you even like (or at least respect) her team with her gracious advocacy. I love her book Looming Transitions, which fills a deep need for those facing times of change. Join her in asking, where are you finding yourself?
Granted, the first leg of my trip back to China had experienced a three-hour delay and I thought I might miss my international plane. But the strong sensation I had as I sank into my seat couldn’t completely be attributed from the adrenaline pulsing through my veins after I’d run through the airport.
I was a hot mess internally. FOMO (Fear of missing out) while I was in China combined with knowing China was no longer my home left me with this clear thought: Metaphorically, I am always on a plane, by myself, stuck between worlds.
When I say it was a strong feeling, I mean, a huge bouncer in a bar could not have given me a stronger sucker punch.
I was almost two and a half years in my reentry. Will it ever end?!
This is why I love Amy’s title Finding Myself in Britain so much. Isn’t the truth that we are all finding ourselves in our lives? In light of writing to you, I thought about my life now and wondered where am I finding myself right now?
I am finding myself in America. Even though I have been back for more than two-and-a-half years, this finding process is just that: a process. Parts I absolutely love! I am a huge Denver Broncos fan and the two other times they successfully won the Super Bowl I was in Thailand surrounded by people not from Denver and watching Thai fruit drink commercials. I have LOVED being among my orange people. Other parts of this finding are awkward. I’m navigating waters in my late 40s that others navigate in the 20s. I know how to be an adult in China, I’m learning in the US.
I’m finding myself in a job that doesn’t have a tidy title. I’ve always had jobs that came with a title: teacher, English teacher, University Teaching Program Director, Member Care Director. Even if someone didn’t really know what I did, the fact that it had a short, concise, understandable title sufficed. I currently work for an online community of Christian women who live and serve overseas. I love my job, but at least twice a month a friend sends me information about a job . . . since I don’t have one . . . that makes sense to others. So, I’m finding my identity in other areas than an easily understandable job.
I’m finding myself in the editing process. Over the last year I have worked with my amazing editor Deb as we got my book ready for publication. I had no idea that an editor could be an advocate and was scared of the process. Opening up what you have been working on for years and have someone else point out the flaws or the confusing parts? Risky! But Deb showed me that she got the vision of this book and that through editing and rewriting, it could be what it has become. The editing process helped me see the Holy Spirit as my life editor. If he can do in my life what Deb have done in my writing, I have hope for us all!
I’m finding myself in my book being published. The parallels with parenting abound, so I’m going to be careful and not start gushing. I’m at the stage where the book has been released into the world, so others can have their own opinions of it. Of course, I delight when someone contacts me and says how very helpful it has been, how it met them right where they had a great need, how very much they appreciate the time I took to write it. I have to find myself apart from my book. Because there are also those who have said, “Um why did you put THAT in there?” I am proud of my book, I am happy to share with you about the content and the process, but I am not my book.
I am finding myself in a complex relationship with the church. Because it is complex, it is too much to go into detail here. But I can say this much, it is disorienting to have a part of life that had been relatively easy and a good fit, feel like the wrong size shirt. I can’t tell what needs to change. Do I need to lose or gain weight? Does the size of the shirt need to change? I don’t know and I’m not particularly enjoying finding myself in this part of my life.
I’m also finding myself in… gardening. Finding myself in grief. Finding myself in driving. Finding myself in training my eye to look for beauty, and finding myself in the Church year. How about you? Where are you finding yourself these days? What parts are you enjoy? What parts are a bit uncomfortable?
Amy Young is an avid Denver Broncos fan and knows what it’s like to try and find yourself a friend to watch sports with you when you live abroad; so she took a picture for Amy BP when the Minnesota Vikings came to town. A sister’s gotta help a sister out! You can read more of her work at The Messy Middle and by signing up for her newsletter receive a free PDF chalk full of Tools for Navigating the Messy Middle of Life. She recently published Looming Transitions for those 4-6 months before a big transition to or from living abroad.