30, Living Abroad, & Returning to School… Am I crazy??

Looking over Zurich, Switzerland over Easter holidays

Surely, I can’t be the only person to still feel lost at 30. Ok, well I won’t be 30 until November, but still. There has to be someone who feels like their life should have been more structured by this time.

I guess life could be worse though, I am living abroad… quite honestly the happiest I’ve ever been, nonetheless, with the feeling that I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Enjoying lunch at the top of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park in Ireland

I found myself in this position last year, when I accepted my current working position here in Germany. The position directly sets me up to complete a masters degree and I have now been accepted to a masters program, very near to my apartment and directly related to my studies.

Sounds great right? Sure, even I know it sounds almost perfect.

For me though, as a North American, the feedback I receive from everyone at home is that I should just start working and making money. Yes, I would love to start making a massive income consistently, but I do see the benefit of having a masters degree, especially while living in Europe.

Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria

Then, when I receive feedback from anyone in Europe, they say I would be crazy to turn this opportunity down. The program I have been accepted to has only 1 year of classes, then a 6 month thesis. The whole time, continuing to work at the same company and then when the masters thesis is completed, I would continue working full time.

It’s just the fact of working part time, with a few full time months between semesters, for another year and a half. AT 30!! It does seem a little crazy to me, I must admit.

Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

So yeah, I feel a bit lost. I could of course return to North America, with my German working experience, without a masters degree, and I would find work right away. Unfortunately, this is not at all what I want to do.

I could also continue to work here in Germany without a masters degree, but now something in my head tells me I should continue with this opportunity, since it has been almost laid out to me on a silver platter.

Les Invalides in Paris, France

Looking at this from a different perspective, I’ve had a lot of mixed feedback as a Canadian living in Germany. Most people expect me to return as soon as possible since Canada “must be” way nicer.

I find myself always explaining while, yes I could go back to Canada and my life would continue the same it did before, but this is not what I want. I came to Germany because I wanted to live and work in Germany. I love Germany and Europe, and I don’t plan on returning to Canada any time soon. Of course there is nothing wrong with Canada, it’s a wonderful country, it’s just not where I want to be right now, and this is ok.

Looking over Freiburg, Germany

So yes, with being 30, having the thought of returning to school, and having so many people here mention to me that I would be better off in Canada, I sometimes feel a bit lost.

So what have I learned from this so far…

Well, I have learned that even though it may seem as though I am living a magical life abroad, there are still struggles. But yes, I am probably the happiest I have ever been, meeting friends from all over the world, travelling to different countries every month, and learning a new language. Life is still magical for me.

I have also learned that even at 30, not everyone’s life is where they thought it should be. I have learned that for people who are 30 and have their career already set, they wish they could be in my “lost” footsteps abroad.

I have learned that for people from parts of the world outside North America, it seems almost crazy that I ever had any desire to leave. It took me a while to figure out how to respond to this. I now have the same answer to every person who brings this up:

The world doesn’t live and die in Canada or the United States. It doesn’t live and die in any country. I want to be able to use my life to learn about countries and cultures all over the world. I will always be Canadian, but I will never have this opportunity again to experience other countries in the same way as I am doing right now.

Looking over London, England from Tower Bridge

Before, living abroad seemed like something someone should do in their early 20s. And sometimes I feel like I’m living this fantasy life and maybe I should consider going back to the “real world”.

I then remind myself that this is the happiest I have ever been, and that everything will, and has until now, worked out. So I guess, for me, this is the real world now. It’s definitely not perfect, but its wonderful, and I am nowhere near ready to change it.

Brandenburger Gate in Berlin, Germany

I have accepted the masters program, which starts in October, and until now, I still feel I will stick with it.

Does anyone else have these “lost” thoughts? Even if not at 30, it could be any age – 25, 35, 45? I would love to hear different experiences from people all over the world.

Ski Trip in the Austrian Alps
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