on contentment

Monday, November 14, 2011

i lived in salzburg my junior year of college and returned to america to finish my undergraduate degree.  i was only there from august to december before i headed back to salzburg once again.
and while i loved living in stillwater and had an amazing time finishing up my studies there, i spent many moments, days, nights, weeks, etc. wishing i was back in europe and resenting my present circumstances.  i pushed myself to the breaking point – enrolling in 21 credit hours (when only 12 were required) to try and perfect my german, revising and rewriting my fulbright essays time and time again (2 dozen times in total…absurd, looking back on it), meeting with professors during office hours to make sure my grades were good enough to land whatever internship i was pursuing abroad.  very rarely did i stop and live in the present moment, happy to be alive, happy to be receiving an education, happy to be in oklahoma.  i had two great roommates and so often did i pass up the opportunity to spend time with them in order to spend time at the corner table of the coffee shop or at the library, pulling an all-nighter.

weirdly enough, since moving to dresden, i've found myself missing those roommates and our cute little house with my huge, all-to-myself bedroom --  the same cute little house that served as my headquarters for operation: flee america, the same hilarious roommates that i so often took for granted or prioritized far behind my scholastic ambitions, and even the same big, beautiful bedroom in which i spent many friday and saturday nights, pouring over questions i might be asked during my fulbright interview instead of socializing or having ‘normal fun.' if you're wondering if this is super annoying, it is.

but dresden is GREAT.  my friends here are so fun.  and my school, students, and teachers are pretty amazing.  that doesn't mean, though, that i can’t visit home every now and then when i have a month’s worth of vacation from school and a wedding to be in….

so when i went back home in october, i went back in time, if only for a short while.  and this time, when i returned to the big, beautiful bedroom in the cute little house with one of my hilarious roommates, i appreciated it all.  the photos may suggest otherwise, but i promise i did.

also, taco bueno may have been involved in that appreciation, but i can't be sure.


Alex said...

Ugh I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes it seems like I can never really be content with where I am. I want one thing, get it, just to want the initial thing back or something new altogether. It's frustrating! P.S. I want your hair.

RetreatingAndAdvancing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RetreatingAndAdvancing said...

Same problem over here: Sometimes I just can't enjoy what I am doing NOW because I'm thinking to much about my past and future..
It must be difficult to live so far away from where you've grown up, but I'm sure you're doing the right thing. You can go back to the USA whenever you want, but first; enjoy every breath of your life in europe. You'll never forget that time living abroad and you'll never lose the close friendships you've made. Not in America and not here in Europe.
Have a wonderful week, Jenni :

Chelsea said...

I love this post. I've been having some of these exact same thoughts lately. I've noticed how much I've been wishing away the day, looking forward to something that tomorrow brings instead of being content with now.

Your videos are great! The editing in the first one is just so much fun and really shows the joy of living in the moment :)

jessica said...

THIS POST IS AMAZING! Seriously, story of my life... and it is an exhausting, never-ending battle. I constantly live in the future. For example, about 5 seconds before I read this post, my fiance and I were discussing moving to India (yes, India) where his Dad has a business cleaning lakes and my fiance wants to move there to help him. I've heard about this over the years, and i've slowly accepted that it may, or may not, happen. well it seems it may be happening- in a few months. but, like always, exact dates are unknown, which "sends me into panic mode" and makes me "wish it would hurry up". Because of this, I can't focus on the present...this is only one example, I won't even go into the rest of me 25 years.

Anyway, thank you for such a great post! It reminded me to live for today. I do wish we would be moving to Germany, not India. But, I will be making many visits to Europe whenever India happens.

Sorry for the insanely long comment :/


Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Yup, I'm in Barcelona kind of wishing I was back in Canada, was in London wishing I was in Barcelona, was in Mexico wishing I was in London. Silly silly silly.

Are you still with Piotr? I notice things have been quiet on that front... hope it's not contributing to the low points.. xo

Celeste said...

I definitely know what you mean-- I feel like I spend so much time looking forward that I forget what's right in front of me.

We should be "live in the moment" friends and keep each other accountable. I'll randomly ask you "are you enjoying what you're doing at this exact second in this exact place?!" and you'll have to say "HELL YES!" Okay? :)

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this reminder to live in the present.

you have no idea how much this means to me right now.

emily g. said...

I've decided Study Abroad years rip you of the ability to be content.

My Europe love-history timeline looks almost identical to yours. And after having a second less thrilling go at Europe I've realized that I never wanted to just be back in Europe. I wanted to be back in that first study abroad year. With those same people, in that same place.
And that's why studying abroad, while probably the best year of my life to date, has pretty much ruined me as far as being content with where I am.

But hey, better to have loved and lost.... right?

James Lepine said...

love this, Jen. i wrote a somewhat similar post a while back: http://jameslepine.com/2010/01/26/113/

Megan said...

i love you.

and that second video..still the funniest ish i have ever seen.

Chelsea Finn said...

I completely agree! I need to stop andtake each day by day. Life is too short to not be content because of worries of the future when that may never come.
You two look so adorable. I'm obsessed with your headband thing. :)

<3Chelsea Elizabeth

Cody McWilliams said...

So I just thought you should know that my best friend and I seriously watch your videos everyday, multiple times because they are hilarious and crack us up.

Anonymous said...

love the new header :)

and as for the post...i completely feel you. i have the 'grass is always greener on the other side' syndrome no matter where i am. however, after living in europe as a kid, i do know that the US will always be where my heart lies, no matter where in the world i live. but just like you, im one for adventure and excitement and sometimes i feel as though it is not provided at home in the US. in a perfect world you and i would probably both reside in the US but have an infinite amount of money in a travel fund that would allow us to pick up and vacation anytime we wanted :)

K said...

story of my life as well :) for my program they are already expecting us to plan out our lives through this time next year. oy. definitely a challenge to live in the moment with all that hanging over my head.
ps. what is better than spontaneous dance parties? those videos are hilarious and seriously make me miss the college days. gosh I sound old haha

Anonymous said...

aw i so get all that! i hate major changes usually but i get so bored with routine but then i crave routine at the same time so i guess i like changes only when i'm in charge of making them and there's little commitment involved. i must be such a pain to live with!

but i'm glad you've made a decision to enjoy where you are in the moment! enjoy all those little things you might unexpectedly miss someday :)

and i LOVE that you got to relive your roomie house dancing times. i love recreating old roomie moments!

Natalie said...

So glad you posted about this topic. I have the same struggle with discontentment, but am desperately trying to change! Hope it's going well for you and thanks again for a great post :)

Unknown said...

UM..get out of my mind! That is exactly my same issue with life. Glad to know I'm not a lone crazy. I'm working on being present too. Eek.

Brissa said...

thank you for this post. remembering to enjoy the HERE and NOW is definitely something i need to focus on before it's too late.

Caroline Hancox said...

Very very true words, I always get caught up in he next thing too

Ashley Bagley Nielson said...

Wonderful post!
Dance. Dance. Dance.

Sarah said...

such a good and much needed reminder - thanks for writing this, jenni!

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