One year ago, I was exactly the kind of person that I wanted to be. I had a year of living alone under my belt, a basic grasp of French, was in a town surrounded by fascinating new people, full of buzzing anticipation knowing that the next step would take me to the rest of the world.
I was never as happy or as independant as I was when I was hopping train-to-tram in Berlin, wandering around St-Stephensplatz in Vienna, or making plans with international strangers in London. Even at my lowest points, when I was sleep-deprived, homesick, lost, lonely and alienated, starving and broke, I always had the option of taking that magic little trainpass and going back to somewhere comforting.
When I returned to Canada, people noticed a difference in me - a surge of strength they couldn't quite place, or a freshness and maturity that they had never been able to recognize in me before. I was happy for several months, high on the memories and feasting on possibilities (maybe giving myself a little too much credit) - having seen a part of the world that was completely new to me, I felt like there was nowhere I couldn't go.
Now, it's one year later. I've been back in Toronto for three weeks, desperately handing out resumes, and feeling more hopeless than I've ever been. I've never once not been grateful for the experiences and the opportunities I've had in my life, and I know everyone has their lows. But what happened to post-Europe, independant, mature Jess? When I hand a potential employer my resume and see their smiles slowly wilt, I'm instantly reverted back to high school Jess, who still lives at home off her parents money, underqualified and hopelessly unprepared for her real life. Worries keep sneaking into my mind - what if I don't get a job this summer? What if my lack of experience will prevent me from finding a job in the school year? What if I don't save enough money to travel, and I don't end up doing what I really want to do with my life? Now that I've seen the person that I'm happy with being, will I ever be able to find her here?
I'm afraid I'll never be able to answer these questions. Three months. I just need to worry about these three months, until September, and constantly remind myself to keep holding on, and trust that this, too, will teach me something.