As some of you may recall, I was facing down 30 with some level of sorrow and loss for 22-year-old Carrie who had lost sight of her dreams and passions. I committed to changing this aspect of my life. Shortly after my 30th birthday, I found out I had been accepted into a Masters program in international crime and human rights. And the cherry on top? The program required me to spend four and a half months in Italy. This was it. This was my chance to redefine my career, to find myself again, and to commit my life to social change. So. I worked out the details with my boyfriend and family. I quit my job. I booked a plane ticket. I had several confusing and frustrating phone calls with the Consulate. I packed my bags. Until. The sponsoring organization cancelled the program one week before it was set to begin. One week.
To say I am disappointed is an underestimate. This had been my plan. My game-changing life moment. My big risk. My opportunity to stop playing it safe. I am heartbroken plain and simple.
Luckily, I previously planned to spend the weekend before my departure with some of my favorite people in the world. When I found out that the program was cancelled, I was surrounded by people I love, and I spent the weekend basking in their support and patience with my suddenly sour mood. It’s amazing the way some toddler snuggles, warm tea, and Pitch Perfect with people who love you for better or worse can turn your sour mood around.
But, on Monday morning, I woke up and I did not have a plan. I’ve never not had a plan in my life. I felt despondent and lost. I don’t sit still well. Idle hands and all that. Trust me, I understand how melodramatic I sound, particularly given the current state of the nation and the world. Each day, I remind myself how blessed and privileged I truly am. That being said, in the in between moments, it can be hard to feel confident that this too shall pass and that I will figure this out.
Regardless of my future, I am committed to not falling back into old habits. I will not play it safe with my career. I will take risks in fearless pursuit of my dreams. I will work for social change. I’ve spent the last week looking for volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved in the resistance currently underway. I’ve made temporary future plans. I’ve sent countless emails.
I keep asking myself what’s next? What now?
For starters, I am going to Greece to volunteer. Then, I plan to spend a week in Italy eating pasta and drinking wine with a man who has bore the brunt of my current grief and frustration with open arms, “I love yous,” and grace.
And when I return, I will once again seek a path that makes 22-year-old Carrie proud and even a little bit jealous. I'll keep you posted.