I sometimes forget how much I love music. During seasons of hectic schedules and chaos I occasionally go a few weeks or months without putting in headphones, only to be surprised by how much I missed it when I listen again.
My life in Colchester was especially soaked in music. I have an old iPod that houses all of the songs I’ve ever listened to since middle school, and I have a growing set of playlists designed for specific things.
Some are practical and made for specific events or tasks. I made a playlist called ‘Road Trip Songs’ for a trip to Wales with my friends last Summer. It was a strange cocktail of Disney songs, 80’s rock, Top 40 tunes, and anything we would all be able to sing along to.
“Songs to Work to” is mostly instrumentals, with an occasional song that makes me want to dance while folding the laundry. “Songs to write to,” on the other hand, echos the playlists from my term in Oxford: mostly Lord of the Rings soundtracks.
Other playlists are geared toward how I’m feeling, like the one I listened to most often while walking in Colchester: “Feeling good.”Or the one I listened to when I felt overwhelmed during dissertation time, “Breathe.”
I spent a lot of time listening to one titled “The Waiting List” while I tried desperately to find a job in the UK. I was waiting for a job offer. The right moment to decide I was moving back to the States. For any sense of direction, an inkling of an idea of where I would be living, what I would be doing, what my life was going to look like in 2017.
It’s nearly March now. My UK visa expired on February 5th, the same day I boarded a flight from London to Chicago.
I didn’t get a job in England. After countless phone interviews and a handful of in-person interviews, I found that–often, though not always–if an employer seemed to like me it was only until the words “Tier 2 visa” exited my mouth.
I’ve been in Chicago for a few weeks now. One of my closest friends is living here and has graciously offered me a place to stay while I figure out what I’m doing next. I’m still listening to music daily, and right now the playlist I select most often is called “Falling.”
I am unemployed. I have no health insurance, no car, no place that truly feels like home. I’m trying so hard to be strong and convince myself that I’m going to be okay. I am trying so hard to remember that I am loved and cared for by both God and the people around me. This is just a temporary season of change and uncertainty.
But at the end of the day I feel like I’m falling. Like I stepped off a ledge, thought I saw where I would land, but instead I’m just in mid-air without a sense of how, when, or where I might land.
And so I listen to music. I write. I read and pray. I spend time with friends. I submit job applications, go to interviews, try to figure out what to do with this time I have. All the while hoping that I land sooner rather than later.