I wrote this post 12 things I learned upon emigrating for the “Una docena de” (A dozen of…) website.
Leaving one’s birthplace and moving to a different land in search of a better life is a common experience for millions of people. Everyone has their own personal story, some more dramatic than others. My experience is not a dramatic or heroic one, but perhaps it may be useful to anyone who is considering the idea of emigrating.
1. It is very important to have a clear reason for emigrating
In my case, for example, I was looking for a better quality of life for my family than what I had in Buenos Aires. For me, it was about being able to spend time with those I had chosen to share my life with, my husband and children. Knowing exactly why you want to leave and what you are seeking serves as your true north. This way, you will not get lost once you have made the choice to leave.
2. You are no one
When you arrive at a new place, you don’t exist. No one knows you. Your phone doesn’t ring. No one cares about you. This, is a lesson in humility.
3. Don’t try to fit in at any cost
Everything takes time and surely the people you first meet will not be the same ones that become your friends in time. The initial feeling of loneliness makes us want to fit in at all cost and by doing this you can end up betraying your core essence, that which makes you most valuable, without even noticing it.
4. Withstand the negative in order to grow
In the search of a better future you will go through situations that you don’t like. It is important in these times to remember the reasons why you left your familiar world. My “difficult” situation was having a job that was not very motivating, among having several other negative aspects, but allowed me to earn an income and have time to spend with my family (which was the main reason for leaving our home). This is why it is important to “withstand” the things we don’t like and even to be creatively stagnant for a while. Being in a bad place can spark creativity. The dissatisfaction I felt in the workplace was the catalyst that pushed me to create my own business and leave my job.
5. Patience is a necessary virtue
High doses of patience are required. Nothing is accomplished from one day to the next. Loooooots of patience. It takes years to create a new life in a new world. And, if you want it to be congruent with your values, it will take even more time. But the day does come. The universe will conspire to help you achieve this if you put your heart into it.
6. Know how to ask for help
It is quite possible that you will go through moments of anxiety and anguish. It is normal to feel bad (without getting to the point of developing the “Ulysses Syndrome” associated with extreme cases) and to feel the need to seek medical or psychological help. It’s truly ok. They really do help. You will feel better and will be in a much better place to keep moving forward.
7. Feeling lonely can be a good thing
No one knows you. This is a bad thing… but it is also a good thing. You have no external pressures. You don’t have a mom, dad, friend, neighbor or co-worker telling you what to do. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the silence, to listen to your inner calling and act accordingly.
8. You are not from here, nor there
You will become highly aware of how the place where you were born has conditioned you. Things that seemed “normal” there are not here and vice versa. Things that seemed ”weird” back home are “normal” in the new place. The result is that you develop a much broader view. You don’t belong anywhere, but the map of your mind has greatly expanded.
9. You are the owner of your life
It becomes much easier to take charge of your life because you have already tested your nature by daring to leave home. You realize that you have the power to change your life, to think for yourself, to be true to your deepest desires. You realize that it’s really not that complicated and that you can do it.
10. Starting over is addictive
Once you’ve left your home of origin moving becomes much easier. I would say it becomes addictive. After living in the Canaries for 10 years, where I was able to have the family I had so desired, I feel that it is time to move again. Time for new challenges. Time for a new phase in my life. Time to start over.
11. Deep ties are forever
Distance is like a weeding process in regards to relationships. The strongest and truest ones survive. When you see those that are most significant to you again, the connection is immediate. The affection you feel for them remains intact.
12. Distance improves your relationship with your family of origin
This latter part is a bit of a joke… but distance improves your relationship with the family in which you were born. Differences are more easily overlooked with distance…
How about you? What have you learned by emigrating? Share your experiences and add to the list!
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