Learning to live in the present

Hello, I’m Océane, from France and a few months ago I arrived in Sweden as part of an ESC program. When I arrived there, my intentions were quite clear : make myself useful, learn new things and achieve new skills, improve my English, but also find what I want to do with my future. Rather work-oriented ideas. And finding what I want to do for the future… I know, it sounds a bit dramatic.. But when you are asked, each time you finish a study period (middle school, high school, university) : “what do you want to do with your life ?”, “What study do you want to do and what for ?” , it makes you wonder how and what you actually want to do with your future. And for me, it felt that I was in a hurry and that I needed to not waste time and decide. So as you probably understood, it always was a great source of anxiety for me.
As a really curious person, I always was interested in a lot of things, at school but also in general, so I never could choose one field to study. In a way, I always thought that I had to keep the most “open doors” possible, and that at some point things will be clearer. But here I was, June 2022, freshly graduated from a really interesting bachelor but with no real perspective for my future, with no idea about what master I should integrate or which career path I should embrace and even not knowing who I was, except this studious girl. So I decided to take a break from my studies, to go somewhere where I could have time to think, to confront myself to the world, to work and to challenge myself by doing things I never did before. This is how I arrived in Sweden in September 2022, with the hope that during this year I would miraculously discover what I want to do with my life. Yet, 9 months later, I still don’t know what I want to do. But don’t get me wrong, I did learn some things and a lot more than I expected.

Thus, in a few months, from level 10 of anxiety regarding my future, I got to level 3 (still some improvements to make but a big step was made). What Happened ? Volunteering. Living abroad. Meeting incredible people. Get out of my comfort zone. Understanding that being happy is not a waste of time. I learned to see things in a different way and to relax. Before Sweden, I was this person stressed all the time and always in a rush, and here I learned to let go, accept the unknown and above all to take time and live in the present. I understood that we never waste time but we always gain from it. We gain maturity, experience, and souvenirs. I discovered a new country, fell in love with Swedish lakes, Swedish sunset, and Swedish nature. I made some of my dreams come true like going to Lapland or having a snowy Christmas. I also had the chance to get to know myself better, found new interests such as hockey and I got the chance to make time for doing things that I put aside during my studies such as painting, dancing and photography. And most importantly, I met incredible people with whom I lived incredible adventures that will always remain in my heart.

So in conclusion, I still don’t know what to do in my life, but I know that life is full of surprises and that happiness is sometimes just one click away. Clicking on this “apply” button on a random afternoon on the ESC platform was the best decision I made. It was honestly a life saver on so many aspects for me, it is such that sometimes I just wondered if it was real. But the tattoo that I made here will always remind me that yes, it was real. So If you’re still hesitating about doing an ESC, I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about, because you might not know how the future will look but you’ll live an incredible experience, you’ll certainly learn new things and you might even live the best year of your life.