Thursday, May 14, 2009
Culture Shock - with Odd Timing
My first week back was totally fine. I did all sorts of fun things, enjoyed myself and even though that maybe... miraculously... I had evaded culture shock?
Well, not quite. Week 2 (pretty much to the day), I started to feel quite miserable, out of sorts and out of place. All the normal things I do to make myself happy when I'm at home (yoga, writing, reading, cooking, eating, watching movies, listening to music) weren't working. I still felt a vague restlessness and underlying anxiety. I didn't know what I wanted - just not this.
I finally went to beach for some quiet time - no books, no music, no other people.
I walked, I ran, I did yoga, I swam in the ocean and the pool, did handstands, and sat on the beach... and I finally started to feel okay.
Nothing like the vastness of the ocean to make your problems seem small.
I started to feel like I was at home - at least in myself if not my surroundings.
A little Perspective:
I decided looking at the ocean, that I needed some perspective on things. Two ways I know how to do that are:
1) Get outside
2) Go to Wal-mart (let me explain)
When I go to Wal-mart, I invariably see many of the things I hate about this culture: overweight, unhappy looking people (often being mean/rude to their spouse/kids) all sorts of junk you don't need, and obnoxious leering men/boys.
By going to Wal-mart, I am reminded to be grateful for all that I have (I don't have to work there, or shop there) all that I am (not those fat ladies smacking their kids around while they load cheez-its into the cart) and all the wonderful people I have in my life .
(If I'm really lucky, I even remember to have compassion for people who do shop there!)
Getting outside always works to make me feel better about life, so I went to a nearby state park with marshes and prairies, and was joined by gators, birds, foxes, raccoons, deer and bunnies.
Not Quite There Yet:
While it's getting better, it's not over yet.
This morning I pulled out of the driveway and saw someone in the oncoming lane! I said out loud to myself "What the fuck is he doing?!" and my automatic reaction was to get further to the left of him - but there was no more road over there...
I then realized that everyone else coming towards me was in that lane too, and swerved back over to the right...
After 2 weeks of safe driving, I thought this was odd timing, but I guess culture shock affects us in unpredictable ways.
Oh well, coming back - slowly but surely!