I’ve been having this conversation with myself for a while, and intermittently with other people, too, but I feel like I need to open this up.  Maybe turning this into a “general knowledge” problem among my friends will help me.  Maybe it won’t.  Who knows.

Increasingly over the last six months or so, I’ve felt like there is less and less of a role for me in Israel.  My plan was “get out of the army, spend a year trying to figure something out here, and if I don’t, then it’s time to look overseas.”

It’s been less than three months since my service ended, but I’m already hitting a wall.  I’m just not gaining any traction in anything.  I can’t find an apartment that I can afford in the area I want to live, I can’t find a job that I can feel good about, and even the ones I feel bad about are hard to come by, and slowly all of the doors I’d planned to look into have closed before my face.

It’s a really difficult decision to come to.  More difficult by orders of magnitude than the decision to move here in the first place.  It would mean admitting that whatever I wanted to accomplish by moving here didn’t work out, that I’d failed, that the State of Israel isn’t the right place for me.  It would mean saying goodbye to some really good friends before I even really got to know a lot of them.  Isn’t it a bit ridiculous?  I’d be saying goodbye to more good friends from a school I never attended, none of whom I’ve known for more than a year and a half, than I did when I left the house I’d lived in through elementary, middle, and high school.

But probably most importantly, leaving Israel would mean jumping headlong into a situation with no definition at all, almost out of necessity.  Sure, as of now there’s a nice two-story suburban house that I could probably live in rent-free waiting for me in Florida, and sure it’s walking distance from two shopping centers and biking distance from one of the biggest malls in the country, but I’ve been there before.  I know what’s there and what I can make from it.  It’s a stepping stone at best.  I’d have to find a way to carve a whole new life from somewhere among those three hundred million people, and that’s fairly intimidating.

But I need to move forward.  And I don’t know if I can do that by staying in a place where I keep hitting brick walls, where I’ve managed to live for six years without developing a single employable skill, where I can’t manage to get my act together regardless of how much effort I put into it.

I wish there was a magic wand that could just come and solve one of my problems.  Not all of them.  Just one.  That someone out there would just magically appear and say “I want to give you a job, and it involves writing and marketing!”  Or give me an apartment.  Or hand me a contract and say “if you promise to do A, B, and C, you will receive X, Y, and Z, no catches.”  Just some element of stability somewhere in my life, or even the promise of stability.

I’m suddenly reminded of the first post I ever wrote on this blog.  Maybe it’s time for me to get on that train.

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2 Responses to Contemplations

  1. Standback says:

    Well, a crucial question is this: are the things which are keeping you stuck now going to be specifically different elsewhere?

    And a crucial observation. You say you’re trying to “figure something out,” you “can’t find a job you feel good about,” that you “can’t get your act together.” Here’s what I’m hearing: you don’t have a goal.

    As long as that’s true, you’re going to have a hell of a tough time. Goals give you direction. Goals tell you what needs to be done next. What concerns me most is that you sound as though your plan is to *wait* for a goal, for a career path, for your very own personal character arc, to present itself. In Israel or abroad, opportunities may drop into your lap, but goals won’t – and how will you recognize an opportunity, or be able to sieze it, if it doesn’t help you reach goals, because you don’t have any?

    Right this moment, choosing a goal can be overwhelmingly daunting. It’s not like you’ve got some burning desire to guide you; you have immediate problems and money issues that need to be solved NOW; your preferred goals may be ones that are difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish.

    But the truth is, none of that is going to change. If you need training or experience or simply to spend lots of time and effort for your goal, then you won’t be gaining any of that by waiting. If you’re having trouble keeping yourself afloat financially now, you won’t be anywhere better in a few years if you don’t spend some of your time developing some means of income. And so on, and so forth.

    I honestly don’t know what your life goals are. Maybe you want to write ad copy; maybe you want to be a starving novelist; maybe you want to teach theater; maybe you want to be a secret agent for the Mossad; maybe what’s ultimately important to you is family or community, and your job will just be something to pay the bills. Maybe you want to be a world traveller or a hobo or a criminal mastermind – I’m not saying you need to choose something responsible to do; I’m just saying you need to figure out what you want to spend your life on.

    I don’t know which of these you want – and I suspect that you don’t either. As long as you don’t know, as long as you don’t commit yourself to any specific path, I’m afraid you also won’t get very far on any of them.

    First pick a path. Then figure out if you can do that thing better in Israel, or elsewhere. I know it’s intimidating. But that’s what you’re missing; so that’s what you’ve got to try to get.

  2. Standback says:

    On an entirely different note, I have no idea what the tagline was before, but evidently it’s no longer what it was.

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