Hey gang, I’m moving back home to my parents’ place this week and I felt like I should share a bit about some things that have been on my mind as I pack. A lot happens internally when you are preparing to move to another country, whether temporarily or permanently and I figured I’d talk about these things today as I am sure I am not the only one who has gone through these nor will I be the last.
Am I doing the right thing? I don’t know about you but every time I am faced with a change in my life, this is the question that burns brightest in my mind. This time around it has burnt especially bright because I am taking a major detour from my career as a writer. I have always wanted to work in Japan and I guess after 4 or so years of trying to learn the language I’ll need for my CV, this was the next best option. Immersion. So yeah, right now, my logic says I’m doing the right thing, but that hasn’t stopped doubt from putting its best foot forward in trying to convince me otherwise.
With the volume on doubt lowered almost all the way down to zero, the strangest thing began to happen as I approached my resignation day. I was overcome by grief. I lost my sister-in-law recently, and I was sure it was residue from that time but when talking to a friend, she shared how she was also feeling a bit tender and I knew this was another symptom. I wasn’t grieving my sister-in-law’s life anymore; I was grieving my own life. With almost 29 years spent on African soil with my family and various friends, I am losing another significant part of me soon. So I wept and felt bad about it and eventually came to a place of acceptance. This was possibly the most uncomfortable of all the side effects of making the decision to move overseas but I’m kind of glad it happened. I have come out appreciating everything and everyone I have here all that much more.
As a naturally anxious person, I had already been waiting for anxiety to hit from the day I sent in my application. I’d prepped myself and mentally written the pep talk I would give myself when it happened. I was driving to one of my solo movie dates when it hit me full force, and I almost had a car accident. Having had my car switch off during the traffic circle near miss, I pulled out my artillery of calming words, switched my car back on and drove to the mall. I did a few breathing exercises when I got there and carried on like nothing happened. I still struggle with random bouts of anxiety now and again when I think about how my life is about to change, but then I always counter it by asking myself: “What do you need that fear for?” (Thanks Will Smith :-P)
Of course it’s not all bad feelings and stress. At some point the prospect of the adventures to come finally hits you again. I think I only reached this stage after I had left my full-time job. This break is perhaps the longest I’ve taken since I started working back in 2016 and boy was it needed. I finally have time to find out more about where I’m going, who I’m going to live with and what new hobbies I’m going to develop. The prospect of restarting my short-lived cycling career in another country also really excites me. No more cycling with the fear of death at the back of my mind, I’ve got a safe new neighbourhood to explore. Of course I’m also excited to be giving road cycling a shot this time around (Mountain Biking was fun but I think I preferred the road terrain during my training.).
The sucky part about being super excited about an imminent change in your own life is that soon after that you are hit with a tidal wave of guilt. Now, as an anxious person, I’m no stranger to guilt, so when it came, I recognised it for what it was: Just another byproduct of anxiety. Pre-departure guilt presents itself as something good and wholesome. It pretends that this is just you being thoughtful of others and not wanting to hurt them by leaving. What it is really is saying to you is stay. Stay and don’t follow the path that lays ahead. Can you see why I say it’s all anxiety? Not going after your dreams because of guilt is just another form of fear. Again to fight this, many pep talks need to be had with the self because, to be honest, the self is never on your side, as I’m sure you have noticed.
When you’ve talked yourself out of quitting on your dreams, you can finally enjoy the next stage. Being hopeful for the future is all we can really look forward to during the pre-departure stages. It’s why we filled in all the forms and said all the goodbyes. This is what the sacrifices were for. I am just beginning to enjoy this stage of moving. The unknown still scares me, but it also gives me hope for a more interesting, if not better, life.
Thanks for reading. Make sure you check out my next post. Chat soon.