Four things I learnt about life from moving overseas
I always suspected I would live overseas in my lifetime. Not only because an old Indian palm reader told me so (although that was very interesting), but because I could feel it, deep down in my bones, long before I proffered my palm for its secrets.
So I wasn’t surprised when the chance to move from the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia to Salt Lake City, Utah came up as an option for my husband, our three kids, and me.
We landed last November, just days before Thanksgiving and as the first snow started to fall in this stunning city.
We’re only here for two years, and we’re already 10 months into it. Time flies, but that’s the least of the lessons I have learnt from this major life move.
We’re here for my husband’s work – he's in IT, not the mines or the Mormon faith (most people ask).
But while he’s been busy with his company, and the kids have been busy settling into their new school, I’ve been keeping the boat afloat and thinking about what this international relocation has taught me about life.
And it’s taught me so much, but most importantly these four big things:
1. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. Squeeze your family and friends close, and tell them all the things you think you’re too scared to say. Take that walk on the beach or up into the rainforest – the work will be there when you get back. Feel grateful for all you have in the moment that you’re in, and breathe deeply knowing it can all be gone in a flash. Live large, live juicy, live it all. Because this too shall pass.
2. Life is moments and memories, not material possessions. We packed six cartons of ‘precious’ possessions only to stare at them blankly three months later when we uncovered them from their packing paper. You will never miss your favourite mug or that expensive rug more than you miss the faces of your family and friends, and the sights and smells of your own home town.
3. No matter where you go, you take yourself with you. I’ve made two major moves now and both times I’ve been hit squarely between the eyes by the realization that miles don’t make you a different person. Real, intentional change does. Living away from your home base certainly opens you up to new experiences, but unless you use the distance to see what needs tweaking or changing in your life, you haven’t really moved one tiny bit.
4. Having less makes you see more. Culling, decluttering, giving away and carting less stuff does indeed make you feel lighter, but it also makes you see clearer. When all the people and possessions that were important to us were left back in Australia, and we really only had ourselves and our suitcases, our understanding of life became a lot clearer, crisper. What truly mattered crysalised in our vision, and what didn’t matter floated away like debris on the ocean’s edge.
I don’t think you need to move overseas or even down the road to learn life lessons. Any event, big or small, brings a chance to learn and grow, if you let it.
What are some big life lessons you’ve learnt lately?