Leaving is an ugly word. It lacks the sugar and the coat that is most often applied to major decisions or big announcements. If two people stop seeing each other, the term most used is ‘they broke-up’ rather than focusing on who did the breaking. Similarly if someone is relieved of their duties at their place of work, the common vernacular used is ‘let go’ rather than saying that person was fired.
Perhaps I lack tact. I’ve never been one to beat around that ominous bush in order to disguise or fudge meaning. I can say without equivocation that in certain instances it certainly would have been a better path to have taken.
Not in this case.
Leaving is the perfect term for what I’m doing. Not that other terms don’t apply. Moving on would work. As would setting a new set of goals, challenges and career objectives. As simple an answer as missing home is also relevant.
None of those have the same ring as leaving. Leaving, while not a sexy word, is the most appropriate. It describes exactly what I’m going to do in almost exactly 3 months from now. While I will also be doing those other things, the leaving must be done first.
This in great part was the determining factor in my decision to leave now. My goals, like any person, are numerous. Included is the desire to live and work in many other countries and areas of the world. A very achievable goal, no doubt, in this day and age but not one that can be achieved while remaining stationed in one place. This may seem like a very simply notion – and it is – but it is one that took some time for me to completely understand.
In my three plus years in Costa Rica possibilities for career advancement have always been present. I started as an English teacher. I was then promoted to a supervisor role and then to manager in the same language institute. Just when thoughts of leaving Costa Rica had started to trickle into my mind, I was offered a position to help head-up an ESL teacher certification program at the beach – a natural career progression position in a location that had always been a dream for a winter tainted Canadian.
I always told myself that when I felt like I got to the point where opportunities for growth in Costa Rica had dwindled, that would be the time to leave – and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Since I came out of the proverbial despedida closet last week, reactions from friends and family have been as expected. Some have shown shock, others support, others wondering if the job isn’t going well.
The reason for my leaving has nothing to do with anything that’s going on here. The job is fantastic. My life is great. I love the beach and I am, and will always be, in debt to the amazing friends that have made me feel like family in my time here.
Nor does my leaving mean I will never return. I don’t think anyone can spend such substantial time in a country and never come back. I will return many, many times and surely love it as much as I do now. But I won’t return to the same life or circumstances.
Leaving is about timing and opportunity. I could easily stay here and be very content with what I’m doing. But I need more than content; I need a challenge. I need that feeling that I had when I first stepped foot in Costa Rica. The feeling of having no idea what to do or how to do it, but just knowing that you would do it.
To get to that point again, I need to leave first. An ugly means to a beautiful end.