When to jump? When to make some major life decision whose outcome can’t be predicted, and afterwards your whole life will be different? We only get a few chances to make these changes, when all the events in our lives line up in such a way that we’re free to choose, or allow ourselves to be. Changing careers, making a choice to be married or single or married again, moving to another country. All possible, all with unanticipated endings. Sure, we can plan – make it easier or harder on ourselves by getting some idea what we’re in for. But in the end, it’s a leap of faith.
The questions are unanswerable. If I move to Central America, how much will I really need to live on? Can I make that much online? How will it feel when all the friends I know are here and I am there? Can I really learn the language quickly and make new friends? Will some of my friends and family actually visit, or not? Will I like the climate, be fascinated by the birds, love the slower pace of life, find enough to do? Will I really be in better shape and enjoy the walks into town to buy food, or will I hate the inconvenience? Will I die of loneliness, wish I had never left – or love it? How can I possibly know these things ahead of time?
I feel stuck in a cycle of expensive mortgage requiring endless work in a high-paying job. There’s no way to live decently as a single person in the US without spending too much money. But if I leave, I can’t make as much. Will I come out ahead, or will it just even out? Just looking at it from here, it looks like it would work. But if it doesn’t – then what? Start all over back in the US? Am I feeling stuck here for no reason? Lots of people write that it’s easier than it looks – of course, those are the ones for whom it worked out.
So many of my friends are going through similar dilemmas in other areas of their lives. Not the same issues at all – but the same problem of choosing without knowing, when the consequences are so great. What seems most likely is that it will be nothing at all like we expect – maybe much better, maybe worse. Paralyzed with indecision. But at least we’re trying to make a decision – then there are all the people who simply dismiss dreams or plans like this as impossible, not applying to them in any way.
And what about those who are just content? Will I ever be content, or am I one of these people that’s impossible to please? Am I justified in hating all that the US stands for in the world and not wanting my tax dollars to support that, or is that just a convenient justification for making changes, any changes, in my life? Am I missing some big issue that if I could resolve, I wouldn’t need to make all these other changes?
I don’t know. Questions without answers.