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  • jeniferfoster2

Contemplating What is Next

I am leaving Roatan in less than three weeks. It’s giving me pause. This experience has been wonderful and incredible in most ways. It had its moments of being really hard and exhausting too. And, what am I doing after I get back? I don’t have much of an idea. Not yet. I have some plans which we’ll see where they go. But, I’m trying to listen to the universe and see where it pulls me.

Life is weird sometimes. I feel a ton of feelings, and yet overall, I’m trying to take this one day at a time.

So, how do I unravel this? Let’s see.

Mostly when I think of this experience, I am filled with gratitude. I’m so grateful that Patty (diveshop owner) gave me the opportunity. I’m grateful James recommended that she consider giving me the opportunity. I appreciate (so incredibly much) that Melanie provided shelter, companionship (by way of cats) and so much generosity. I’m grateful to the divemasters I work with (too numerous to mention each one) for their humor and their spirit (and for many of them for being my dive instructor, Spanish instructor, and friend). I’m grateful to Aubrey, my colleague at the dive store, who has showed me patience and showed me (I knew this already, but it was a nice reminder) that even though someone might be a little prickly, they have their own story and their own struggles and can be beyond generous when given an opportunity. I appreciate each of the staff at this resort (etc). for their kindness and humor. I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them. This is true for some of the long-term guests/beachhouse owners/managers. They have been very sweet. And, finally, I am so incredibly grateful for the fish. Seems crazy. It’s not. They have given me hours of amusement, and beauty and love (alright – that might be stretch, but you might be surprised). They’ve given me time to myself. They’ve given me time to contemplate.

So – what, then are the feelings aside from gratitude? Well, first, if I’m honest, I’m a little fatigued. This has been a busy couple of months. There have been weeks where I’ve had time off; but there have been others where I worked every day of the week. My one day off from the dive shop generally consists of five to seven therapy sessions. Also, while I have really loved teaching diving, it is tiring! I mean, in neither law nor social work did I worry that my students had the possibility of physically harming themselves or even dying. That’s a different type of tiring. I’ve also had (thankfully very few) challenging students (or their family members), and that has triggered all sorts of feelings in and of itself. In addition, while this location is incredibly beautiful, and the staff are super sweet overall, this place is also a bit like a small town. There are times when this resort has felt incredibly isolated. That might partially be because I’m an introvert and don’t go out of my way to bond with many people. It might also be that the resort is isolated from the rest of the island, from diversity, from – well – real life. There are times when the resort also feels gossipy. You all don’t necessarily know me very well. But, I hate gossip. It drains my soul.

I miss my boyfriend. I miss my friends. I miss my family. A LOT. While I have talked to my boyfriend just about every day, it’s just a different ballgame when I don’t get to see him. And, the kindness of strangers is simply not the same as the love and acceptance that one gets at home (well – I should personalize this. It’s not the same as the love and acceptance that I get at home. I realize not everyone has the same sort of relationships). I also miss my friends – being able to grab lunch or a drink and being able to chat easily. Developing new relationships is work! (again, not for everyone, but it definitely is for me).

I also have some fear. I have no idea what is next. Well, I have things I want – but, I don’t know if it will work out. Diving every day is incredible. Can I give that up? Do I want to? My boyfriend is not a diver. We have a life in DC. We both love to travel – but, how do we make it work? Was this just an expensive foray into another life possibility, that I will give up when I get home? I hope not – but, I have very little ideas about how to make it blend with my DC life.

I have some sadness. This place, however much it can frustrate me, is magical. It is gorgeous. The people are friendly. I’ve been here four months. What will the cats do? (They will be fine... there family will be here... but, I’ll be back to my petless life). This opportunity has been something. What if I never have another one like it?

I want to cram everything I can into every day, and yet I can’t. I’ve been so frustrated this week, because everyone else has been inundated with classes, and I’ve been stuck in the shop. I think I’d prefer watching paint dry than being in the shop (I say this as a total introvert, who knows little about dive-related gear questions. And, 90% of the day, people are out diving anyway). Time passes slowly in the shop. But, every other minute of the day flies by. I have a therapy appointment almost directly after I leave the shop today. Another one at 6:30 a.m. It leaves little time for diving outside of work hours. Frustrating! (I am also frustrated with myself because I’m not a huge fan of night dives – so, I don’t drag myself down here for those. I also have a hell of a time getting up earlier than I do, and thus, I’ve really only done one dawn dive since I got here). Sigh. I worry that I haven’t taken full advantage of being here.

And – I just want to hit the “pause” button. I know, prior to any big changes in my life, I always feel some anxiety and fear and I’m always sad to take the next step. Which is silly. The steps I’ve taken in the past (including coming here) have mainly been pretty amazing! Change, although incredibly hard sometimes, is also really good and important. But, man. Sometimes it would be nice to take a breather between things.

I also realize that prior to coming back to Roatan (I went home for a week in March), I was wistful about coming back. I wanted more time at home. Now I don’t really feel like I necessarily want to stay here, but I’m nervous about what is next. I don’t even know why. It isn’t like I don’t have options. I mean, I’ve just added a third possible profession to my resume. That can’t be bad. But it feels like there is risk. It feels like I could have just destroyed my career. Seems silly in reality, but that is how it feels.

So – today, I’m experiencing a lot of feelings. To be real, I’m not even sure that this is all of them. But, these are the important ones. Part of me is really proud of myself for having done this. A lot of people wouldn’t. I know that. A tiny voice in my head says, “you shouldn’t have done this! You’re father is home needing care, and you’re off in another country.” But, there is another part of me that thinks if my father were able to express himself and give his opinion, he would tell me that I need to still live my life.

Life is easy. Life is hard. Life is full of emotions. Life is beautiful. I have a little over two weeks to try to soak in as much water time as possible. Certainly, there is a way forward. Surely, life will help me see what should be next. I will simply breathe through it.

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