It takes a headstrong individual to confront purpose regardless of the atrocities along the journey. (This is just my reflective thought and not necessarily a quote from a profound person…other than myself!) ~Carrying on ~
I had a bit of an epiphany moment recently, which is the inspiration for this post. I found myself in a conundrum of pessimistic thought patterns that caused me to second guess my decision for moving abroad. A dream that finally came into fruition over a year ago was now being reconsidered? What happened that allowed me to have this sudden change of thought? The infamous epiphany moment was if I change my mind, essentially I can change my life. I needed encouragement. I was determined to get to the core of this angst and work toward my purpose for being abroad without pity and despair. So, I began to internalize that quote that you often hear during motivational conferences: You are what you think…or something like that.
In theory, self-reflection is an applicable part of the life process. It is a healthy and meaningful way of finding yourself during times of mental, physical or emotional transition. So if you are like me: working, living and traveling abroad and have hit a few “uncomfortable” bumps in the road that have caused you to think twice about your decision to move abroad, begin to change your mind so that you can change your life! Why flounder in melancholy when you can shift your mind and start being zealous about living abroad.
Here are a few, observed reflections that I have found very useful during my time as an expat.
Get involved by helping others
My sorority sisters and I participated in a 5K walk in Abu Dhabi last week to help raise awareness and financial support for the diabetes epidemic in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Even though it was just a walk and I didn’t raise a significant amount of money or sign a contract to become a corporate sponsor, it gave me a sense of fulfillment because I was able to give my time to a great cause that directly and/or indirectly will help others. One of my greater purposes on this earth is to be involved with more philanthropic efforts. In addition to this event, my local church is sponsoring a food drive for the labor workers in the area who do not make enough income to support themselves and their families in their home country. So in essence, there are many opportunities to become supportive in and around your local community as an expat. Life has a way of reminding you of your many blessings when you allow yourself to be sensitive toward the needs of others. If you ask someone involved in the community, you will find similar volunteer opportunities and outreach programs in your area. If interested in volunteering in the UAE, check out http://www.volunteerinuae.com/.
Network and develop a social circle
As a single mother, my social circle has been my life line. I don’t know what I would do without the relationships I have cultivated along my journey. Between keeping my son grounded and involved and me staying aware, I find both efforts to be advantageous to our time here.
Equally, it is important to make sure that people in your circle are relevant and not destructive to your time abroad. That’s when you allow discernment to take over to help you decide who should remain in your life. Since I have been abroad, I have joined plenty of Facebook groups and have involved myself in a several networking circles. I thank God for those relationships and hope that where ever you are on your journey, you build a community, too.
Join a social network or start one of your own. If you like to party, go for it. For me, different social venues such as a parties, a musical or play, poetry sets or a good old cultural excursion are important in making my transition easier because it provides a sense of work/ life balance. Whatever you decide, make sure that you inundate yourself with people and situations that will embolden you along your path.
Befriend a local
I have a really good teacher friend who has been extremely auspicious during my time in the UAE. She has given sound advice, personal experience, humor and a sense of comfort. I recommend that you befriend a local quick, fast and in a hurry!
It’s important to connect with someone from the community who can essentially “show you the ropes” of living in their community from a genuine perspective. Who do you call when you need a really good tailor or a restaurant suggestion when family or friends visit? What about when you need a reference for a car mechanic or someone to translate when the delivery guy has no clue what you’re talking about? Your local friend will be so eager to help with the overall transition process. Most of the locals that I have befriended are not Emirate, however, they have lived in the UAE all of their lives and have the first hand knowledge of what life is like as a local.
Act like a tourist
Sometimes you just need to get out and experience the richness of your current country. It is so easy to become secluded and complacent in our four corner surroundings. So, plan a monthly trip into the city or out into the country, if you are already in the city. Take a tour or a road trip. Whatever you decide, make sure you make a plan for it or dare to be spontaneous! Cheers to occasionally living your expat adventure like a tourist!
Perspective changes things…
Let’s face it: Challenge is imminent. Always remember, that when you deal with challenge and trials, it’s a sure sign that a breakthrough is near. It’s preparation season. Are you ready?
I take my challenging experiences as preparation moments and not as defeat. God doesn’t make mistakes and everything happens for a reason. Besides, all that negative energy will only bring your spirits down and cause despondency. It’s time for transformation of your mind! Perspective is everything!
Purpose, passion and pizzazz!
It’s amazing how many aspiring speculations have transpired within my mind since I have lived abroad. Taking a chance and stepping out on faith into extremely obscure territories, has allowed me to see life in a completely different way. I have allowed myself to begin a few independent projects that I hope will manifest into greatness. This experience has allowed me to grow boldly and boundlessly! I can truly say that I have began to recognize my purpose, passion and pizzazz for life!
Now, there are other ways to shift your perspective but of course it’s all germane to your perspective and experiences.
In this moment of self-reflection, I will continue to work on getting my life back into a place of clarity, peace and direction. Perspective is everything. Enjoy your moment while you have it.
Thank you for your visit and until next time…be blessed and well traveled!