Does Making Life Decisions Ever Get Any Easier as an Expat?


It’s time again to start thinking about my future. Do I stay another year in China? Move to another country? Go home for grad school? Do something entirely different in the States? Or do I just take all my savings and travel while I can and then deal with it?
It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start making this decision again. Last year I hadn’t thought much about it until February. Up until then, I was fairly certain there wasn’t even a small chance I’d come back. It’s crazy how time affects the decisions we make.

Right now, this is what I’m considering:

1. Stay in Shanghai for another year.
-This is the easy choice. I have a home that I’m settled into, a good paying job, plenty of connections, and a great incentive from the school for those who stay a third year. Granted all of these things come at a cost, not monetarily though.

2. Move to a new country.
-I think this is what I want to do most if I can find a way to make it a fiscally responsible decision. I miss speaking French a lot, and I haven’t lived there in over three years. But I’m torn between wanting to go back to France and wanting to explore a completely new place and learn a completely new language. I would consider teaching again, or even trying out the whole au pair experience.

3. Go back to the States for grad school.
-Doing this would (in a way) set me back a few years. This was my initial option immediately after undergrad, but when offered an amazing opportunity for an assistantship, I turned it down. I don’t regret it, I’ve had some amazing experiences these past three years; I’m just wondering why it was so hard for me to accept that opportunity back then. It should have been an easy choice to make. Nevertheless, I couldn’t say yes and now the idea is back on the table for consideration. 

4. Get a big girl job in America. 

-And then there is this, the idea that sort of haunts me always. I’m not against this idea, as thrilled as that last statement sounded, I just don’t think I’m ready to give up all of the international travel I’ve been doing. As much as I’d love to be home with my family (I miss them terribly) and doing a job that I am truly passionate about, I can’t help worrying that staying home would take me back to a life of just a trip or two a year that I’ve struggled to afford, and they all would be domestic trips. Even though there’s nothing wrong with that and there’s plenty to see in the USA, international travel will probably never be easier for me than it is now. And am I willing to make that trade off at this moment in my life?

I suppose if all else fails, I’ll just take my savings and live it up until I have no choice but to start adulting…
I’ve got a lot to think about and time is not slowing down for me, no matter how frequently I ask it to. Wish me luck!

3 Responses to Does Making Life Decisions Ever Get Any Easier as an Expat?

  1. You've inspired me to write a post like this to get all of my thoughts out there about next year… it's a really stressful decision but I'm absolutely trusting the universe and I know everything happens for a reason!

  2. Tara says:

    Yes, exactly! It's definitely stressful but everything works out in the end. I look forward to your post!

  3. I'm struggling with this, too… I have scary amounts of debt now, so the cash incentive is a big reason for me to stay here. I guess I'll have to wait and see how it goes.