…then go and take a long holiday away and have a long hard look at what it is that you really want.
It’s a funny old world. As I have mentioned before – we lived in Dubai for over four years – then left the UAE for a couple of years, and now we’re back in the UAE again, in Abu Dhabi. You come across all sorts of people here, as you do anywhere in the world really, but it is interesting to hear people talk. You meet people who love it here, people who are homesick, people who hate it, people who want to be here when they’re not and not here when they are and a lot of people who just mindlessly complain about well, pretty much everything.
I’ll start right at the beginning on this. Moving overseas is a hard thing to do. It definitely is. There’s a lot of planning and stressing and running around sorting paperwork, getting certificates notarised, informing councils and the tax man and selling possessions and all sorts of stuff that you never even think of until you are in the position of actually doing it yourself. The actual decision to move however, as far as I’m concerned is not a hard one – I mean why wouldn’t you do it? You might as well give it a go, though actually doing it is rarely as simple as just packing a bag and getting on a plane unless you’ve somehow managed to stay off the grid for the major part of your existence! Anyway, once the decision has been made and you’ve arrived in your new country – you’ve got through all the hard stuff, all the annoying stuff, dealt with endless bureaucracy, got through all the really scary stuff – leaving your comfort zone, not knowing anyone and more than likely started a new job too. You’re in this super exciting phase of your life and suddenly all you do is complain about it…. I mean… what’s that all about? They say that two of the most stressful things in life are moving house and changing job, and you’ve just done both of those in one go. It is pretty scary stuff, but as they also say – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Clichés aside, it can be an easy trap to fall into I guess. Once the wide eyed excitement has worn off and the reality of everyday life sets in it can suddenly be hard to remember why you left your homeland in the first place. All those things that seemed amazing, or endearing, fascinating or just downright unbelievably foreign in the beginning have suddenly become the bane of your life. Things you once wondered at or overlooked suddenly become impossible to bear and rage inducing at even the slightest instance.
Having left the country once myself I can empathise with these feelings, but I do have the benefit of being able to look at things with completely new eyes now that we’re back. The grass was most definitely not greener on the other side and we worked hard to come back. You have to remember that you’re here because you want to be. And if you don’t want to be anymore, then leave – but do take some time to really think it through and make sure that it is the right decision, and please don’t moan on and on about how miserable your life here is. You need to take a step back and think about it properly, are things really that bad or have you lost perspective? It’s easy to fall into a habit of taking things for granted and finding fault everywhere you look. It’s easy to forget the reasons we left our homelands in the first place when you’ve been away a while. It’s easy to forget what life in the ‘real world’ is like… And that’s just it. Yes, we go to work every day and do all the same things overseas that we used to at home, but there are a lot of advantages to living in a place like the UAE. Advantages that are not so easily available at home. Advantages that are easy to forget. No, life isn’t perfect here, but it isn’t perfect anywhere. Maybe it’s for you and maybe it’s not. You’ll never really know if you don’t try. But don’t forget to appreciate what you have. It’s easy enough to become tired and to let your judgement become clouded, but before you make any quick decisions – take a holiday, go away and have a good long think about what is missing and if what you really want is elsewhere. The life you really want may well be right in front of you, you just might not be able to see it.