I'm going to prefix this by warning you that I have just turned 28 and I've been sick with a stomach bug all week. But I'm writing it anyway even though I know I'm feeling over emotional.
So last week I turned 28. The next day I went to the beach with friends. It was a beautiful day, really hot and sunny. In October. So wonderful for me given that I usually spend birthdays shivering in the rain. I went out in the water a few times but the waves were pretty big so it was difficult to actually swim. Instead I spent my time diving into waves and generally acting like a little kid.
At some point I decided to go out a little further which is something I always do when I go in the sea. I love swimming especially at the beach and I've never been afraid. Zach was swimming out too but was a little closer to shore than me. I soon realised I was being dragged toward the right. Zach called over to warn me that the under current was really strong. A rip current. I didn't panic but decided I'd better do something about it. I began to swim really hard back toward Zach parallel to the beach. I was swimming as hard as I could and wasn't getting very far but did manage to end up near Zach (possibly because he was also being dragged towards the right too) He wasn't far from me at all, maybe 10 metres or so but the distance may as well have been 10 miles. I was swimming and literally not moving. I still felt really calm and I knew Zach was keeping an eye on me and wasn't far but I still wasn't moving and couldn't work out what to do about it. I did one last push, swam really hard and came up panting, having gotten nowhere. At this point the panic began to set in a bit, Zach said later that he saw my face when I came up and I just looked exhausted. Suddenly the sea seemed overwhelming and powerful. I felt powerless and was trying to work out the best way to get myself out of it. Zach realising that I was in trouble began to try and swim towards me. He wasn't far off when we both stretched out our arms and eventually clasped hands and he pulled me to safety. Afterwards we joked about how he saved me life, in fact we're still joking about it now.
I know I was fine. I wasn't drowning and my friend was nearby so I'm not going to be a little drama queen about it (much as part of me would love to be) but for a few minutes back in the surging water I felt like I was in an impossible situation fighting against something which was far stronger than me and not being able to work out what to do to save myself. I could see how easy it would be to start properly panicking and I know how things could have worked out differently if my friend hadn't been nearby and if I wasn't confident in the sea.
This week I've become increasingly disillusioned with life as an EFL teacher here in Bilbao. I'm still not up to full time hours but feel like I'm racing around Bilbao teaching classes here there and everywhere, running myself ragged, all for what? My salary isn't bad but I'm still only part time (although admittedly I am creeping up to full time now). And life as an EFL teacher is notoriously thankless and lonely. Having spent all week teaching despite being sick (the fear of not being able to pay my rent next month was too great to risk staying home) I can honestly say I feel like I did back in the water; Swimming really hard and getting nowhere.
I also have the distinct nagging feeling that I have missed the boat. But what boat? To be honest, it could be any number of "boats". Perhaps the boat to working at a highly respected chain of language schools? (turning IH Budapest down..big mistake BIG HUGE mistake?) or the arts marketing boat? (but I jumped off that boat myself so I can't complain) or maybe the lets-all-move-to-London-and-earn-loads-of-money-but-spend-it-all-on-rent-boat? (or maybe the streets really are paved with gold? Is London where I should be?) This feeling must be something to do with my birthday. Getting older and panicking about life really is so cliché.
I've looked back over my blog and have had to ask myself, how far have I actually come since my last "quarter life crisis"? Well, I'm still struggling with the same old question: 'What am I doing with my life?' but at least I actually have a job this time. I live in a different country which I do love and I live in a flat with friends as opposed to my parents. I think I need to stop moaning. I know I'm just feeling like this because I've had a bad week. As my friend said "I don't think going with the flow here will drag you out to sea"
..........and maybe it will lead me straight on to a boat I really don't want to miss. One I really hope to be blogging about one day if I manage to get on board:
The Peace Boat
I won't be applying for this until next summer at least so at the moment it's just a dream. Albeit a really cool awesome dream that I'm determined to make happen! ;) In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep treading water here in the Basque Country and see what happens.