|Just follow it|
When you have everything, yet have nothing. A lot of people think I fall in to the first part of that statement. I feel increasingly like I relate more to the second. On the surface, as outsiders looking in, the life of an expat, especially one lucky enough to be living in Australia seems idyllic. Like one long holiday. It’s all sun, sea and BBQs isn’t it?
Well, no actually. It’s just the same as living anywhere in the world. I still have to go to work in an office 5 days a week. Laundry and the weekly big shop still have to be done. And my work shirts don’t iron themselves, unfortunately.
So you get the drudgery of everyday life, but without your friends, family, and loved ones around you to make it all worthwhile. I’m now ten months into this expat experiment and of that, I have only really had one month of pure happiness. And that was when I had a friend over from the UK at Xmas and I was able to share this beautiful city with somebody. One month from ten where I have been genuinely happy. Not a very good return is it?
A close confidante and me often play the “percentages game”. What percent chance of you being there over 1 year. Percent chance being there 2 years. Percent chance of being there forever. I think we have already ruled out that last one. And she tells me she suspects I know in my heart already what the answer is. I’m starting to fear that maybe she is right. Yet I keep holding off. Waiting for the switch to come on and for it all to fall into place. But things are in place. I’m working, in a good job, decent wage. I’m managing to play a game of football each week. I’m progressing well with my Spanish, now on level 3. And I have friends outside work. So all the components of a good life are in place. Yet I feel empty. Wondering if the switch will ever come on.
So when does perseverance become stubbornness? How long do you give it? Do you sit out the months simply because you feel you have to, and one day it will all be worthwhile? Somebody keeps telling me that life is short. It is, she is right. It’s time I stopped running away, and started running towards. Life dishes out harsh lessons. I’m starting to learn from them. At what point do you listen to your heart and follow what it is telling you?
I remember travelling through South America a couple of years ago, having a great time. But I also distinctly remember when I realized it was time to go home. I booked my flight and immediately felt a sense of peace, and happiness. Enjoying the journey, yet counting down the days to being home with close friends I had missed. I’ll never forget the unadulterated joy I felt at seeing my friends face as she picked me up from the airport. So with this knowledge, I can't help but wonder how I would feel if I booked a one way ticket home. Not quite yet of course, as I am on those shores in just over 8 weeks. But that trip will be the litmus test for me. A temperature check on how I really feel. Will I feel "home". Seeing all the friends I have arranged to catch up with, will it feel "right" and something that I no longer want to turn my back on? Taking into consideration the second half of this year, I have no such plans for friends to visit this xmas and I already know I don't fancy the prospect of spending my birthday here, alone.
Just to further complicate matters, I think I could be starting to have my first mid-life crisis, feeling the urge to face my commitment issues head on. I won’t blame the last book I read, “The Rosie Project” as my thoughts since turning 40 have been quietly bubbling away, but I’m ready to quit putting myself in isolation constantly. I think my solo travels could be a thing of the past as I look for somebody to share the world with. My search to find some meaning to the journey that is life is starting to narrow and what I am wanting for the second half (see previous blog on turning 40) is coming sharply into focus. I’m in danger of allowing alone to morph into lonely. I won’t allow that to happen.
Look out, the Yorkshire Expat is coming!