Preparing for the Leap

Image: Claude Monet, The Cliff Walk at Pourville (1882). Oil on canvas

When I moved out of my dorm a week ago I brought home 6 suitcases full of clothes. Six. Suitcases. While we could get into the hedonistic consumerism that led to me having enough clothes just in my dorm to fill that many suitcases, I’d rather focus on the much more serious issue that is having to fit all of my stuff for an entire semester abroad into two suitcases max. It doesn’t help that I’m also an avid over-planner and have to pack for pretty much every single scenario possible (like, what if I need this orange-jumpsuit-that-I’ve-worn-once-but-I-might-go-to-a-tacky-70s-themed-disco-abroad?), so I’m seriously having trouble thinking about everything I need to pack in the coming weeks. This kind of goes into this mentality that I adopt before every new semester that goes a little bit like this:

“i’m gonna be such a minimalist this semester!”

… which inevitably never ends up happening. But when I’m actually forced to realize this goal due to the total unfeasibility of lugging 6 suitcases overseas (unless… just kidding), how will this really pan out? Forcing yourself to realize the goals you’ve been too nervous, lazy, obstinate, etc. to work toward yourself is kind of terrifying (okay, maybe it’s super terrifying). No one likes growing pains. Independence, cooking for yourself, navigating a foreign culture, these are only things I’ve scraped the surface of while moving off to college, traveling, and the like. Transplanting myself into a wholly new country and culture will take the issues I faced while heading off to college hundreds of miles away and amplify them tenfold. It’s also so easy to find yourself in complacency– navigating within your comfortable confines and patting yourself on the back for barely toeing the edge. Don’t get me wrong, it feels amazing to rack up those small victories, but when you force a huge paradigm shift into your life, it’s pretty clear that those are the moments when you experience the most growth (they are for me, personally). Taking the leap to study abroad in Copenhagen is this paradigm shift.

Some flicks of the various sights I’ll have about me in my new home for the next few months

From avid over-packer to minimalist who goes with the flow (what I think I’m going for when I head to Copenhagen, but I’ll keep you posted if this actually pans out), I’m crazy nervous for what the next couple of months will actually bring. I could totally be in over my head, bumbling around like an idiot along the streets and bike lanes of Copenhagen. But, honestly, I need to get used to feeling like a complete and total idiot more. What’s the fun in being the person who always knows what’s going on 100% of the time– where’s the learning? Those super satisfying aha moments where you feel like you’re in a movie and the camera pans out from your upward gaze in your moment of revelation? Now is the time to embrace all of the things I’ve been averse to in the past couple of years– not knowing it all (this still makes me wince writing this, so let’s work on that), actually figuring out how to live simply (aka not packing 6 suitcases worth of clothes, heh), and more. Looking to the months ahead of me, I don’t see a straight trajectory for myself– more like some murky, inchoate whisperings of what my time could potentially be (almost like peering over a steep cliff, as seen in the lovely little Monet I’ve featured above), but only if I put in the effort to seek discomfort and actually open myself up to learning. It’s time to finally embrace this paradigm shift– whether I’m ready to or not!

When it comes to achieving these goals and more, I’ve made a silly little to-do list for myself (because, duh) that you can access along the top menu bar, so feel free to follow along with my random goals while in Copenhagen and beyond! Just like my ~ I’m gonna be a minimalist ~ daydream, they could be completely and totally unrealistic. But who cares! Failing in achieving your goals can reveal more about you and the world around you than actually completing them (cliché, but I had to say it). Vi ses senere!

xoxo– olivia! 🙂

Image credits, from left to right: “Iconic Nyhavn” by Jacob Buchhave; “Axel Towers” by Adrian Cuj; @sserass on Unsplash


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