15 June 2012

The things we didn't know

I stumbled across this poignant article by Chelsea Fagan, a spot-on and honest account of what happens when someone chooses to move overseas and home becomes significantly harder to define. 

Parts of it reinforce the newfound feelings of strength with which I now wake up most days: 
…Having to start from zero and rebuild everything, having to re-learn how to live and carry out every day activities like a child, fundamentally alters you. Yes, the country and its people will have their own effect on who you are and what you think, but few things are more profound than just starting over with the basics and relying on yourself to build a life again… There is a certain amount of comfort and confidence that you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again, and a knowledge that — come what may in the rest of your life — you were capable of taking that leap and landing softly at least once.

And others pressed something sharp into my side. I wanted to look away from the words, didn’t want to acknowledge that some days, her words are painfully truer than on others:
…Yes, life has gone on without you. And the longer you stay in your new home, the more profound those changes will become. Holidays, birthdays, weddings — every event that you miss suddenly becomes a tick mark on an endless ream of paper. One day, you simply look back and realize that so much has happened in your absence, that so much has changed. You find it harder and harder to start conversations with people who used to be some of your best friends, and in-jokes become increasingly foreign — you have become an outsider. There are those who stay so long that they can never go back.
Part of me wishes I would have done a little more research about what to expect before we moved our lives across the ocean, so some of the discomfort could have been lessened. But the wiser side of me knows that I am a planner, a sometimes excruciatingly neurotic one, and knew then that my fear would have overtaken the excitement brought on by almost absolute spontaneity and entering the unknown with only what I needed: a couple suitcases full of clothing, my husband, our baby, and the three dogs that have made our house a home for many years. 

Living here has, indeed, changed me, in ways I cannot yet enumerate; what I can do, however, is be grateful. 

Would it've been better to have known? Nah. But it's nice to reflect, retrospectively, on the process and know that if there is a next time, the impact of landing won't be so sudden.


p.s. Thanks to Marianne, fellow style blogger out of her element, for the post title inspiration. :)