Escaping the Rat Race

I’m generally an optimistic person. I need to be – I throw myself into new situations all the time. Without optimism I’d quickly give up, because adaptation can be mind-blowingly difficult. New challenges pop up each day, from homesickness, to cancelled bus routes, to bureaucracy mind-melts, to the ever-persistent language barriers.

And yet, I still keep jumping into the deep end.

What gets me through is believing that if I persist, if I work hard, things will improve. And in the end, I do have rewarding experiences. However, after a year here in Israel my optimism is waning.

Fact: I am not happy here on the kibbutz, working as a waitress 12 hours a day, wash-rinse-repeat.

Here are the negatives:

  1. I am so not a part of the kibbutz.
  2. People are constantly criticizing my Hebrew.
  3. I feel like I’m accomplishing nothing struggling along in minimum-wage jobs.
  4. I feel like I’ve wasted a year here.

Here are the realities:

  1. The kibbutz is a goddamn exclusive shitty place to live as a non-kibbutznik. They’re snobs and they don’t want your friendship.
  2. To everyone who criticizes my Hebrew: זין גדול לכולם. I’ve only been here for a year. Of course I make mistakes.
  3. This is temporary. Working is improving my Hebrew and getting me in touch with Israeli culture.
  4. There’s no such thing as wasting time when I’m learning.

From where I’m standing, stuck in a loop of kibbutz-work-kibbutz, I don’t see an out of the endless drivel. This wall I’ve been trying to break, won’t. I need to try approaching it from a different perspective.

Which is why I’m flying back to Oregon for a couple months (!) to figure out what I’m working toward. Do I want to continue studying, and if so what? What career ideas can I glean from mentors and friends?

It’ll be refreshing to reclaim my autonomy.

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