(R)emotional: [ree-moe-shun-al] a shaky mental state caused by being a remote worker who hasn't learned how to balance riding the fence between the new normal and a "past life" full of friends and family, doesn't take care of routine things like sleep and eating, lives in constant FOMO cycle, and is overly sensitive to everything as a result. Condition is often noted by several tearful renditions of "I'm sorry" or fits of massive ice cream eating.
It is my first full day in Valencia, Spain. Moving to a new locale every month is both exciting and amazing...and a huge pain in the ass (which I wouldn't trade for anything). Repacking the two overly-full pieces of luggage that make up my entire life these days is a very real, very not fun version of a hyperTetris on level 876 involving crying, swearing, and eventually throwing a lot of stuff out due to sheer frustration. Scrunching into a fun-size version of myself for between one and eight hours at a time on a flight is also a challenge of contortionist standards. However, after landing and retrieving my 103 pounds of luggage which I will mule to my new home while silently praying for an elevator, seeing a new city for the first time is akin to magical. Whether day or night, every dream you have for yourself seems possible. It's all new and breathtaking. Even the first supermercado is exciting just because it's something different (until you remember you don't have a car and will be walking all your groceries home - admittedly a little less mystical then).
Now, the last two months I have been (mentally) all over. No real set routine, weird illnesses, and lack of AC (which is pretty damn necessary for an asthmatic). I wasn't as efficient as I am used to being and honestly, (gulp) I am falling short of the 23 goals I made for this year abroad. I was overly emotional or distant at times trying to deal with life. Some days I have nothing to do (let me rephrase this as "had no deadlines") and other days I'd stay up for 36 hours straight to complete work. It's easy to live like this abroad because it's easy to forget you are "living abroad" not "vacationing abroad." That's until you remember the whole "Need money, must work" thing. (Update: Very comfortable with the idea of Sugar Daddy while abroad...I mean, if you know someone...).
And then sometimes the sh*t hits the fan (some clients go by the wayside for one reason or another--usually funding) and then panic sets in. I wasn't working my business development muscles like I should have been and thus, I was a little less prepared for the natural attrition that happens in business. I lacked the harem of clients needed to pick up the slack for those with projects on hold or those that you fire because they wouldn't pay their invoice. Determined not to let it happen again, I put myself on lock.
I arrived in Valencia last night. After a meeting, getting into the apartment, and getting changed, I ran out to get food since the markets are usually not open (or at least most of them) on Sundays (a great thing to find out on Sunday!). I went back to my room and unpacked and organized 95% of my stuff despite being tired and really wanting an immediate shower. I set up a command center where I would work and manage my schedule. I made of list of all the things I needed to do the next day and what to buy at the grocery because lists make me feel in control which is sorely needed right now.
Then I had to give myself a budget. This was not fun. In fact, it was the least fun thing in the universe. Sadly, it was also the most necessary thing. Prague (my city last month) was amazing and hellacostly for my "I want to do everything" attitude which did not come with a trust fund much to my disappointment. I won't go into specifics but its a tight, angry little budget for Valencia and I'm scared of it. I am officially naming it Ms. McGinn after my second grade teacher who scared the bejesus out of me. One of my major skills, however, is to make something out of nothing so let's hope I can make my weekly budget into something more like glitter unicorns and less like smelly hobo's.
Now for my curfew and self-care. I am an insomniac of five-star caliber and the only way I can get some sleep is if I am exhausted and my mind decides to power down for the night. Hence, I need to get at least 12,000 steps in each day, meditate, do a little yoga, and get some Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis in. I have been lucky to have lost two sizes after two months in, but there's still a lot more to go. The weight-loss thus far has been half-newness and half-accidental. I know it will take attention and intention to continue consistent weight loss and fitness building going forward. Eating whole foods with lots of fiber and protein and less carbs is the plan.
Finally, fun and others. I love the crazy group of people with whom I travel. Some people I see a lot and others I enjoy in those few moments I see them (I am a fan of organic relationship building, otherwise I have Soro Rush PTSD). I find there are certain things I love to do abroad. I love co-hosting a meal with my Guinny once a month; it makes me feel like home. I love just sitting around and really talking with and learning about someone (everyone here is interesting - you have to be to want to do this). I love group sing-a-longs. I have found a new love of Escape Rooms. Then there are the nights I say I am not going out and then before I know it, it's 4 am. But, it's fun and chasing a whim is nice when you have spent most of your life on a highly regimented schedule.
But...I don't need to go out every night to have fun. I also don't need to drink every night either (not that I am, Mom). I have a high-tolerance and it's calories and cash I need to be saving. It's great to see and enjoy a city, but trying to build an empire and staying up late all night is just not in my plan because I can't do both and I want that "work for myself" lifestyle to continue past Remote Year (and well, to stay on Remote Year the entire year). While totally a thing, FOMO is no longer my concern. I enjoy the experiences I have when I have them; no need to lust after those that might-have-been. I am letting FOMO go as of today. Good-bye, you cuddly beast.
Travelling the world is amazing and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do it. Being a little (r)emotional is a small price to pay for it, but I think I can have the best of all worlds.