I have now been living in Hong Kong for two full months. I've been blowing through the "firsts" - first week in the new apartment, first night out in LKF, first GA event, first time at an art gallery, first visitor, first time that Foursquare kindly points out that I've been to a bar five days in a row (thanks for that, Foursquare.) Consequently, the buzz of a being in a totally brand new place is starting to wear off. With it has gone that heightened sense of awareness that comes with being completely out of your element, that ability to watch yourself react to your new environment and use those datapoints to deepen your understanding of your own complex motivations, desires, and insecurities.
In fact, not only has that awareness faded, but I feel it has swung in the other direction entirely and has been replaced by an overwhelming sense of numbness. This makes the whole concept of "getting started" very difficult, as I am suddenly missing the drive of conscious anxiety and am now just overwhelmed by the indecision of not knowing what I want or what matters most at present. I've spent a lot of time wondering, "What's wrong?" "What am I missing?" and "What can I be doing better?" and "What should I be doing differently?" Obviously nobody can tell me the answers, and I don't know even know if they are the right questions to be asking.
The worst part is that whenever you try to share this sentiment with anyone, the response is "Oh yea, that is totally normal. It just takes time to adjust! You'll figure it out!" I understand that people think this could potenitally make you feel better, but please note that it does not make anything better. In fact, it makes me feel infinitely worse because it seems to diminish the potency of my current state of discomfort. Knowing something will eventually be better certainly does not keep it from feeling awful right now. Furthermore, writing some vague unhappiness off as "normal" feels as if you are saying it isn't important to figure it out. That seeking to reattain that heightened level of self awareness is not necessary, because all of this will eventually go away on its own. Who knows, maybe that is true for some people -- but certainly not for me. Nothing tends to go way until I can put my finger on it, at which point it almost always seems to magically dissipate. Identification and acknowledgement are elusive, but key.
Perhaps it is just the fact that meetings, classes, signups, etc. all slow down over the holidays and so progress feels like a distant promise. Everyone is away on holiday, e-mails go un-answered, and my days lack the structure that comes with scurrying around town meeting interesting people with great ideas. There's too much time to think about what the hell am I doing, how is it possible going to work, and how will I even know if it's working?
Things are picking back up, though. GA's first class is tonight, I'm working on putting together our first long-form course for late February, and we'll have more wonderful visitors to entertain in February (my mom is coming and I couldn't be more excited about it.) Maybe people are right when they say that "it just takes time" and before I know it I'll be back in the swing of things and the answers will just appear out of nowhere. Until then, however, I'll be quite busy overanalyzing what I could be doing differently. Feel free to chime in with any ideas, as long as they don't involve "Just be patient." Because, frankly, I'm just not.