Hey, folks.

Over a year (well, nearly 18 months) has passed since I left France for good, after a four-year run. I actually wrote a “Life Update” post almost a year ago, but a lot has changed since then. It’s really incredible just how crazy the shift has been, and I’d like to use this post to speed you up-to-date on what has happened since the last update:

For starters, if I were to summarize 2020 in a nutshell, I would say that it has been “weird.” Also “challenging.” In fact, I don’t think I had such a year that has tested me so much since 2013, when I was still in college. And even what I experienced back then was nowhere near as abundant as what 2020 had in store for me…

If the previous five years abroad had been about gains and triumphs, then 2020 was about loss and humility. I’ve encountered plenty of losses this year, including the death of two close family members, one which was due to COVID-19. I almost lost another close family member in August, but thankfully, it didn’t happen. But because of all of these deaths (and near-deaths) I’ve experienced, it made me realize that not only was I getting older (and everyone else was, too), but also just how short life can be. Sounds cliché, but it is true: you never know what’s going to happen to you every day, so it’s all the more important to put loved ones ahead of yourself and cherish the time you have with them– before it’s too late.

Besides dealing with my family’s health, I was also struggling career-wise. Specifically what I wanted to do with my life. Since returning from France, I was more-or-less underemployed for most of the year, as I worked several, odd jobs that were either part-time or seasonal– and none of which really had opportunities to grow in. I was feeling stagnant in these dead-end jobs, as well as frustrated in my inability to find something stable and permanent. I also got laid off in March due to the pandemic, and I was unemployed for four months. Applying to hundreds of jobs during COVID-19 was quite the uphill battle, as millions of Americans had also been laid off and were competing for the same jobs. I must’ve received rejections at least 95% of the time throughout my job hunt, which wasn’t surprising, but it was still disheartening.

I could go on about other losses I’ve experienced this year (e.g. cancelled trips, romantic breakups), but I won’t. And I could say that 2020 was one of the “worst years” I’ve had since 2013, but I don’t believe that that’s completely true. Yes, I did go through the grinder this year, but despite the hardships, I’ve found myself surprisingly calm throughout much of it. While I was devastated with the deaths and unemployment, I ended up picking myself up at the end of day and continuing on with life. I acknowledged the sadness, but I also didn’t let it engulf me from my own life: I knew that it would’ve been a disservice to the family members who’d passed away if I didn’t continue to enjoy life for them, to keep living despite it all.

It’s funny. If you were to look at me around this time last year, you’d find a slightly-different individual. Back then, I was still angry, bitter, and jaded; I wasn’t pleasant to be around. I still harbor those sentiments today, but significantly-less so: I think after going through so much crap this year, there’s no point to complain about the things– big and/or small— that get thrown at you. I am a firm believer in that you’re in control of how you respond to events than letting them overwhelm you. Sure, it’s okay to pity yourself for a bit, but eventually, you’ll have to dust yourself off and try again…

…and this mindset has worked. And things have gotten better. I ended up securing a full-time government job in August which is stable and permanent. The process was arduous and time-consuming, but I’m incredibly-blessed that I managed to get it, especially during a pandemic. I’m liking it so far; I have a full year of probation to get through before I officially “pass” and am more-or-less set in the public sector, but I plan to work hard and do my darndest to reach that goal. And from there, I can move up and through different government sectors to discover which department is suited for me. Plus, that pension is gold.

In many ways, I’m very grateful for the challenges I’ve encountered this year. If it weren’t for them, I would probably still be unhappy and stuck at my old, part-time job. I was also really lucky to be at home with my family when the pandemic hit, not just for safety’s sake, but also financially after getting laid off. I had a supportive network of my family and friends, and we kept each other afloat during the most difficult of times. Even political events like Black Lives Matter and the 2020 presidential elections couldn’t shake the strength of the personal ties I had with the immediate people around me.

That said, where do I go from here? For now, I believe I’m quite content with my life– again, I have a stable job and loved ones around me. Not to say that I plan to be complacent, but for the moment, I know that I’ll be riding out the remainder of my twenties with building up my career (at my first “real” job) and, to be honest, settling in Los Angeles. Especially after having such a wild, thrilling time throughout much of my early and mid-twenties in France, I’ve come to that point in my life that I want to settle– and that’s okay. Los Angeles is my home; I can see myself living here in the long run.

And of course, I want to continue traveling once the pandemic subsides, but I no longer want to attempt to make it my primary goal, instead secondary… I want to connect (and reconnect) with friends and acquaintances whom I *sort of* let go during my time abroad, and to keep them close to me. I want to continue experiencing love and heartbreak, as it took me until my late twenties to start dating; I started doing a bit of it on-and-off throughout this year and had a few brief, although not-serious relationships. For the moment, I’m taking a break because of COVID-19 and my job, but I hope that by letting life take its course, I’ll find someone in the end. I am still young; I have the time!

Perhaps I’ll return the following year for another “Life Update” post. To see if I’ve changed tremendously since this post. As for the fact that I’m not traveling at the moment, this blog might be a bit of a struggle to continue with travel-related posts. I do have enough adventures to put out for next year, but maybe afterwards, the theme might change. We’ll have to see, but until then, definitely look out for more travel content in 2021…

A long (and overdue) post this has been, but I thank all of you whom have read until the end. I hope all of you are continuing to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, and I hope you continue to find the positive moments in your lives despite the challenges. Corny as it sounds, there is still good in this world, and that is what makes life worth living. Take care! ❤

Sunset in Los Angeles (November 2020).

— Rebecca

55 thoughts on “Life Update #14: How Life Has Changed After Leaving France…

  1. Thank you for your in-depth review of 2020. I love your focus on the positive, especially with the grind that we all had this year. The ups and downs in short succession can feel like the ocean is tossing us all over the place. There is no real fighting the waves, and we have to ride them out. Even though it’s hard, the only thing is wait for the hard moments to pass, making the best out of the current situation (even though easier said than done) and hope for what’s to come. Here is to the next chapter 🥂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your metaphor on waves and oceans is very apropos for what’s been going on this year (and life, in general). It hasn’t been easy for all of us, but we’ll be stronger than ever once we ride out the last few weeks of this year! Hope you’re staying safe and healthy during these tough times. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry for the losses you experienced this year. As I read your words, I’m inspired by your calm reflection and strength! Congratulations on the new job. “Pension is gold” – I work in retirement benefits so yes, I love that! Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the new year. Take care 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your condolences. I guess being neurotypical does help one get through the difficult times haha. I do my best, and I’m glad to know of another government employee in the blogging community! Happy holidays and stay safe, Darlene. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, go you! Getting older and knowing oneself better helps to gain the confidence and ability to stand up for yourself. I used to be rather passive and a push-over, but my experiences in travel and work over the years helped me become more assertive in who I am, and how to interact with people. Glad to see you’re doing well on self-improvement!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely update Rebecca. 2020 certainly has been a very weird and challenging year for many people, and how sad that you’ve lost loved ones. You do however, sound as though you have discovered the key to life…and have learned a lot of important lessons to see you through. You’re absolutely right…life is short, keep those you love close and cherish them.
    Good luck with your job and may 2021 see you grow from strength to strength xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well Rebecca…. there is much food for thought in your life update. I admire bloggers who put a bit of their heart into articles. I tend to do this in my short stories more than in my travel reports, and find doing so highly cathartic. You’ve inspired me to consider an end of year review post, so thanks for that. Glad that this difficult year has given you some triumphs, things to be grateful for and much perspective. Keep on truckin’ as the saying goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my posts are factual, as they report on the sights, accommodations, and other practical matters when it comes to travel. I likewise do inject a bit of my sentiments in such posts, but for personal affairs going on in my current life, I reserve them for my “Life Updates.” I actually plan to have a “2020 Review” published in January, so look out for that! I’d also love to read your thoughts on an “End of the Year” post, should you do so! Keep on trucking, too. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This bitter and angry person you’ve described is so far from the person I imagine. You’re definitely perceived as content and positive in all of your posts. Even though, it’s important to push the pause button everyone in a while and breathe – to take a minute to reflect on the variety of challenges and emotions which shape us. Be proud of your commitment to rise and shine. All the best to you dear Rebecca for 2021. Bientôt j’espère, tu reviendras faire du tourisme en Europe! And Beyond!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci bien! I do believe I give off a more-optimistic side of myself on my blog. But in reality, I’m rather sarcastic. 😅 I agree with you that it’s important to take a moment to self-reflect when the going gets tough, and to make it through in the end. Je te tiendrai au courant dès que je reviendrai en Europe…je l’espère bientôt!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry to hear that 2020 has been weird and filled with losses. The good news is that the year is almost over! Despite these hardships you’ve managed to keep such a positive attitude and tried to look on the bright side of things. Here’s to hoping 2021 is better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite the losses, I think I had a solid year filled with learning and strength. Life really is too short to wallow in negative thoughts (at least, not constantly), and I strive for staying optimistic as much as I can every day. Let’s see where 2021 takes us!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this lovely and thoughtful post, Rebecca. Sorry to hear about the losses you faced this year but glad that things turned around in the second half. I hope you will continue to blog, even if it’s not about travel. I always enjoy your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s been quite the wild ride this year; I would’ve never expected it to turn out this way, but I’m glad it did. I do intend to keep blogging for next year, so definitely stay tuned for that! Thank you for the constant support. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s been a tough year for us all. I’m very sorry for your personal losses. and the jobs. but I’m so glad that you’ve managed to find a new , better job. hope 2021 brings more joy to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 2020 really has been a rough one. But looking at what we’ve got despite the losses really changes one’s perspective on life and living. Things have looked up, that’s for certain, and here’s to more of it in 2021!

      Like

  9. I’m very sorry for your losses and all the “downs” of this year. It has definitely been a very weird one, but I like your optimism now. Sometimes it feels like we have to go down to get back up, and it is quite an encouraging thought! Hope this new year brings many more positive things to you and your family 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more! I believe it’s by hitting a low point that there’s no way but upwards to climb. Thanks for the encouraging words, and I hope you’re staying safe this holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, my friend! Very true that there were storms this year, but there were also pockets of sunshine in-between. It’s important to focus on the sunshine over everything else, to keep going and living life. Merry Christmas to you as well! 🎄

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss and for your struggles this year. But, I’m also happy that things are looking up for you now! I think we’re all ready for this year to end. I hope you have a nice holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so sorry for your losses. It’s been so tough. Somewhere along the way I heard this description of the pandemic and it really resonated with me: We’re all going through the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat. Your boat is different than my boat, but the storm’s the same. Your positive attitude is just the thing, though. As for the blog, maybe it’ll morph by necessity, or maybe you’ll post about more local travels. Goodness knows that California is an amazing state. Just booked tickets to Palm Springs for a couple of months from now. You can actually just hop, skip, and jump over the mountains and you’re there – so lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like your boat/storm analogy; it really is true that many of us have gone through a rough year, even though it’s to varying degrees for everyone. I do have some California posts gearing up for 2021, so definitely look out for them! Funny enough, I’ve never been to Palm Springs despite living in California practically my entire life, so it merits a trip over! Hope you enjoy your time there, and have a great holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great blog post! I can say we fell into similar but different circumstances this year. I recently left my government contracting position in Afghanistan and recently made it home to Huntington Beach area. I think 2020 has really forced me to consider what I want to do in the long run. I was sick of working in combat zones, I just want normal or close to that, while I still have my eyes on traveling or relocating to another country…I agree with your sentiments on settling and being okay with that. Nice to mee you Rebecca I am not a happy subcriber…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you had the courage not only to work in a combat zone, but also the courage to leave that job! Hope your life is less stressful because of that…and we’re actually not too far from each other now (howdy, neighbor)! Enjoy your holidays, and stay safe. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Enjoy your holidays. I left because I was accepted into a masters program in Italy but with COVID-19 I am hoping for a miracle that will allow this to all work out! If not i will most likely go back to working for the government in another location or try to get a teaching job in Asia or middle east. Good Luck on your endeavors and welcome to world of working government jobs…lol

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m sorry to hear of your losses, and hope you and your family are keeping safe and able to spend time together over the Christmas break. 2020 has been a weird one, that’s for sure. I’ve valued the extra time (and money saved!) from not having to commute – I used to spend c. 3hrs a day commuting! But on the flip side, I miss seeing my colleagues and friends in person. Zoom calls aren’t quite the same…! The slower pace of life has also made me stop and reflect on what I want to be doing more, and less, of in my life. Here’s to new directions, health and happiness in 2021 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rosie. It’s good to hear from you again! 2020 has been quite the ride, that’s for sure, but it really is true that it’s helped us slow down and reflect on what’s valuable in our lives. Thank goodness you don’t have to commute during these times, and it truly frees up time to pursue activities you’d neglected prior. Happy (safe) holidays, and here’s to hopefully a better 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so sorry to hear of your losses, Rebecca. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. This year has been quite the ride and I can’t wait for it to come to an end. On the other hand – congratulations on your new job! All the best with your new role. May the holiday season end the present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright New Year. Here’s wishing you a Happy Holidays! Aiva 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Aiva! I appreciate your kind words. This year hasn’t been simple, but it’s already an incredible feat to get through it all…wishing you a wonderful (and safe) holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s