Dodging Bullets This Year…(some thoughts)

Dodging Bullets [The Matrix Neo Slow Time] (reddit) GIF | Gfycat
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Hey, all.

Since this whole COVID-19 debacle placed us into lock-down, I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect on moments in this past year that have led me to where I am now today. More specifically, I’ve reflected on circumstances in which I had “close calls” that, if I had gone ahead with them, would’ve made my life a lot more miserable than it is now. Not to say that I’m terribly unhappy with my life at the moment, but things could be better…

…Any case, I digress. Even if things aren’t currently the greatest in the world (let alone in my personal life), I realize that it could be a LOT worse. Looking back on this past year, I’ve gone through a ton of not-so-great moments (e.g. job rejections, death in family, getting laid-off from work), but at the same time, I am incredibly blessed that I didn’t choose certain paths in my personal and professional lives that would’ve jeopardized my life even more. In other words, I’ve dodged many bullets, and I consider myself extremely lucky with all of that. *knock on wood

Here are just several bullets I’ve dodged within this past year:

1. I couldn’t get a job to stay in France.

Around this time last year, I was still living and working in France. My job contract was coming to an end, and I had no idea what I wanted to do afterwards. A part of me wanted to stay in France, but for the wrong reasons: to continue traveling and delaying getting a “real,” i.e. full-time, job. I liked France, but I couldn’t envision myself living in the country in the long-term, but I was also torn and reluctant to return to the US, just because I knew I wouldn’t have the skills and experience to get a decent job.

That said, I applied to many teaching job, as well as other miscellaneous work. Unfortunately, I did not get any of them, mostly due to the fact that they would have to sponsor my visa as a non-EU citizen. I was heart-broken that I had to leave to go home in July, and you could bet that I cried on the plane ride back. For the next three months, I was moody and bitter, as I’d made France my home for four years only to go home with nothing much to show, except a bunch of travel memories.

However, since COVID-19 started, I’ve slowly started to accept that it was a good choice to leave France. Besides the obvious part that it would’ve made my life difficult financially and socially (i.e. possibility of being furloughed, no travel prospects), I came to accept that I never really loved France that much, to the point of envisioning myself there in the long-term. Going home sooner was a lot better than later, as I knew at a certain point I had to grow up and face the challenge of finding full-time work. Overall, I had a good four years in France, and I know that it’ll still be there for visits in the years to come (just not right now).

2. I turned down a job offer to work in China.

At the same time I was looking for jobs in France last year, I also set my sights on teaching in China. In general, I wanted to continue living an expat life, so I applied to teaching jobs there. I actually got a job offer to teach in Beijing, which was exciting for me– however, the contract had less to be desired, as it was really convoluted and definitely not in favor of the employee should shit go down.

Originally, I was set to start my contract in September. However, after having serious doubts about whether I really wanted to uproot my life again (as well as the bad contract), I asked the company if I could postpone my start date to later, under the guise I needed time to gather all my documents for the visa process. They accepted, and I had my contract pushed to January. Ultimately, I ended up turning it down in early November after I got my job at the airport, and that was the end of it.

In retrospect, I’m incredibly glad that I didn’t teach in China. Not only because COVID-19 happened, but also because I would’ve been in serious shit if I’d gone. Who knows what would’ve happened if I ended up living in Beijing? Perhaps I would’ve gotten sick, or maybe the company would’ve cut my contract/salary, leaving me to fend for myself. I might’ve been unable to return home because of lock-down and limited flights. Ultimately, I would’ve been screwed, alone and far away from my family. I also knew, deep down in my heart, that I didn’t really want to go to China, but rather delay my full-time job responsibility. Good thing all of this didn’t happen!

3. I got out of a MLM early on.

My one month in a MLM (more accurately, a “direct marketing” firm) was perhaps the weirdest experience I’ve had. It was the first time I directly encountered a cult-like environment and actually got brain-washed for a short part of it. If it weren’t for my naturally-skeptical behavior and re-reading the shady contract, I would’ve continued to stay in at a loss.

Besides the fact I’m just not born to be a business-woman, I also couldn’t fully buy into the “work hard, play hard” mentality that the company had, even if I tried. Pretending to be someone I wasn’t was difficult, and it even made my physically sick. I was turning into someone I didn’t like, and it took a wake-up call from re-reading the bad contract to realize that the company was bad news, and that I had to get the hell out.

Not only was I extremely lucky not to “drink the Kool-Aid” entirely and left after only a month, but I also managed to make enough money to offset the costs I had when I was still in the company– I even made revenue, albeit not a whole lot. Moreover, I’m just glad that I got out early before I got myself into debt– I feel sorry for those who are still in, but overall, I’m glad I no longer am.

4. I declined potential dates with red flags.

Earlier this year, I went on a ton of online dates. Many of them never got past the first, and even those that went past the second ended right there. While I wasn’t actively rejecting my date prospects, I ended up just not seeing them anymore when I found out that I just wasn’t into them, whether physically, intellectually, or both.

I likewise got rejected, too, even when I was feeling them. Although it can be hard to accept, I tell myself that it’s nothing personal, and that it’s possible that feelings aren’t mutual. In any case, whether I was the one declining or they were declining, it was good that the dates never lasted long, because some of the prospects had serious red flags when I took a step back from the situation.

Granted, some of them didn’t necessarily have red flags– they were perfectly fine, but it just wasn’t mutually compatible. But the ones who did have red flags, oh boy… it took me some time to realize that they were bad news, and that I needed to get out of dodge. Most of the red flags were things such as indecisiveness, declaring that we just “be friends” (when in fact they were too cowardly to say they weren’t feeling me), and talking about their exes on the first date. A lot of them had just gotten out of relationships recently, and I found that problematic, as I wanted an actual relationship and they didn’t.

I’ve since lessen my activity of online dating, and I’m just taking things slow with whomever I met and click with. Especially considering the fact that it’s not advisable to go out this time, I’m taking my time with it all. Not just to feel out who my prospect is, but also whether we’re compatible and no red flags. We shall see in the next few weeks and months to come.

5. I got laid off from my job due to COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, I got laid off from my airport job at the end of March due to COVID-19. I was upset, although I kind of knew that it was bound to happen. I was unhappy that I no longer had a job in which I could earn money from, and I also missed the people I worked with, many who were pretty cool.

Yet, despite losing my job, I also found that it came with some positives. The job itself had less-than-ideal hours, as I was scheduled for night-shift 70-80% of the time. I’m definitely not a night owl, and I would be exhausted leaving work and returning home at 1 am. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to shower and wash off the hair gel I wore, so I usually just slept with dirty hair– now, I no longer have to wear hair gel, and I can sleep with clean hair all the time (plus, more sleep)!

Another good aspect was that I no longer had to deal with some of my co-workers. While I did say that I liked most of them, there were also a few really bad apples which made my shifts hell. Not that they were mean to me, but they goofed off and didn’t help out with the work at hand. I couldn’t stand them, and I’m glad that I don’t have to see them again. Plus, management didn’t do anything about these idiots, so I’m also happy that I can avoid experiencing all of this.

Overall, while I might not be at my most-optimal in terms of career and personal development, it’s better that I’m stagnant now than if any of the circumstances listed above had come to fruition. For the moment, it’s okay that I haven’t figured my life out, as it’s more important to get through this pandemic than anything else. There’s still time, and all we can do is wait until this all blows over.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

— The Finicky Cynic

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7 thoughts on “Dodging Bullets This Year…(some thoughts)

  1. SP

    Great list! It’s good to trust your gut instinct isn’t it.
    I’m also glad you spoke about number 1. As a fellow ex expat/immigrant of France, I would stress myself out into finding a way to make a life for myself there work, only to realise that while I liked France, I didn’t truly love being there. I don’t think I would be happy if I stayed.

    Moving forward, what sort of career are you interested in doing or do you have any other plans ahead?

    1. rebbit7

      A combination of gut instinct and circumstances was what happened, but I do agree that, while it wasn’t what I wanted then, looking back it was the right decision to make.

      Things are currently in-limbo with COVID-19, but I hope to get into government work later down the line. Hopefully, a couple of domestic trips this fall, too. We shall see!

      1. Garth Brooks sings a song about unanswered prayers. No matter your faith its a universal thing because sometimes prayers look like hopes and dreams and those things that don’t come to pass will be best for us.

  2. It takes all these moments on our lives journey to get to where we are supposed to be! I have come to realization that at any point we will not have all the answers, but if we keep moving forward, accepting the closed doors and some times just being patient with our journey will lead to all the answers we are looking for!

    1. rebbit7

      I highly agree! It’s important to accept the unknown, and understand that the paths we take might not necessarily lead us to where we expected to be, but all the same a fulfilling one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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