I’ve been back in the United States for about a week, and I’ve spent most of that time trying to “re-acclimate” myself to being here. The common phrase for this discomfort is “reverse culture shock,” but what it actually entails varies from person to person.
This isn’t my first time experiencing reverse culture shock, as my year abroad wasn’t the first time I’ve lived out of the US for an extended period of time. I think any trip abroad takes some readjustment when you come back — jet lag is the most noticeable cause of feeling out of sorts, I suppose — but coming back after living in Brighton in 2008 and after living in Manchester just this year were very different from shorter trips abroad.
I’ve been putting off writing this post because I know there is no way that a few paragraphs will be able to encompass everything I want to say about my year living in Manchester.
I came to this city looking for absolution, or at the very least something that would give my life meaning once again. Whether that something would be football or my master’s program I really didn’t know or care — all I wanted was a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Have I found it? Not really, but I don’t say that negatively. Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned there is no one thing that will make my life worth living. The older I get, the more I start to understand that I have to look inward for that purpose, that motivation, that meaning. I have to believe not only that there is a reason for me to get up in the morning, but that the uncertainty and the doubt that often plague me are okay.