Today, it is around a year ago, I started blogging. I started blogging in Dutch in Holland. A year later, I am sharing my contemplations about life, work, friends, family and exploring the world in English. Over the past year, life has brought me from the most Northern part of Europe to the slums in Nepal to my current peaceful residence; Dublin.
The 9th of January was a turning point in my life. I left Holland and started a new life in Dublin. Extremely excited I started a new life in the emerging country Ireland. Once, Ireland was the poorest European country. Nowadays, it is one of the countries in the world with the most potential. Here, I started a new life. A new life that consists of new friends, new hobbies, a new job, new joyful moments and new struggles.
Most people in life attempt to try to reach a high extent of happiness by means of a career, a family, sports, drugs, cars, etc. etc. I believe there is no perfect path towards happiness. However, I do believe that my move to Dublin contributes to my overall life happiness. I consider myself happier in Ireland than I was in Holland. But, why? Living abroad has its clear advantages and disadvantages. In my case, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Analysis living abroad
An analysis often has a frightening effect on people. People can become scared for a wordy, lengthy and detailed contemplation regarding a topic. I share this thought. Hence, given the fact this is an easy consumable blog and not a scientific journal, this analysis will be short and to the point. I could list 100 advantages and disadvantages of living abroad. I will abide by a concise approach clarifying the main differences.
When living abroad, I consider the following advantages as predominant
- Enrich yourself personally by means of experiencing a different culture
- Enrich yourself characteristically by encountering new challenges
- Enrich yourself personally by new interactions with fellows
When living abroad, I consider the following disadvantages as predominant
- Missing family and friends
- Take a step out of your comfort zone and leave the safe harbor
- Experience the burden of distance in case of profound live events
Above I listed advantages and disadvantages. However, there is one advantage that resembles the main reason why I experience happiness in Dublin to a higher extent. This regards the time I have in here for self-development and the peace of mind I have to determine my life’s direction.
We all acknowledge that life can sometimes control us in contrast that we control our lives. We hurry from appointment to appointment to meet expectations of friends and family, while conducting the sport and creative activities we impose ourselves to do, simultaneously we climb the steps of the corporate ladder. We surrender to establishing a reactive approach to life instead of undergoing our life proactively. We all know that it is important to plan, to set your life goals and to establish a personal plan for the future while balancing values and principles. But where do we find the time and inner peace to do so?
In Holland, I tried to allocate time focussing on the activities mentioned in the last enumeration. Because of the fact life controlled me more than I was in control of my own life, I was never able to properly allocate time to self-development. In Dublin, I have the time and the inner peace to determine a personal suitable plan for life. Have I established it already? No. But I am happy with the mental steps I have been able to make over the past months.
Sustainability Living Abroad
Before everybody will immigrate and nobody lives in Holland anymore, I would like to bring the abovementioned into perspective. I think living abroad is especially beneficial for people at my life stage. Given the fact, I had no real constraints to immigrate to Ireland, made life easy. It would have been completely different in case I was in a relation, had a mortgage or somebody that’s close to me was terminal ill.
Next, to that, I consider the happiness, as a result of the abovementioned outweighing advantages, to be temporary. In the end, you cannot escape reality forever. After building a life abroad, you will inevitably fall back into old patterns. It’s pleasurable to have time to reflect on your life and to set an accurate life plan. However, at the same time, life is all about execution. Without actions, no results. Family and friends will undoubtedly grant you “time off” but in the end, they will not appreciate being subordinated for the rest of their lives.
Expectation Living Abroad
Since I moved to Dublin, time after time, I am asked what my expectation are regarding the duration of my adventure in Ireland. Despite the fact, I have never consciously thought about this, constant questioning enables your unconscious mind to ponder about this matter. At this moment, my thought is that my adventure in Dublin will last for 2 to 3 years.
This duration is based firstly on that new adventures require some time to elapse before you can properly judge about it. Secondly, I am a family-and-friends-oriented person. I expect to miss my family and close buddies more and more while time elapses. That said, you never know what life will bring. Maybe, some time from now, I will knock on the doors of the Irish city hall to collect my Irish passport. The one last step to make would be to paint my hair red. Would it suit me?