In one of my last posts, I mentioned that it’s time to start living for the now. The expat life is filled with a lot of uncertainty and often times (ok, all the time) we are really only about to plan our lives one year at a time. We have no 5 year plan, much less a 10 year plan. We have no ties to anywhere at this point beyond where we are in this moment. And often times, it makes it difficult to make even the simplest decisions because we don’t know where we will be in a year’s time. It’s also hard to define what is home. Is it where you lay your head? Where you are from? Where you lived most recently?
When we moved to Barcelona, everything was at first for 2 years. We didn’t buy the nice vacuum because it was only 2 years. I didn’t get a license because it was only 2 years. We didn’t do this or do that because it was only for 2 years. Then 2 years became 3 1/2 years, then 4 1/2 years and now we are almost at 7 years (and our second country) and I find I still often do the same thing – why invest when we are here for a finite period of time even if we don’t know what that time frame is? Only what I’m finding out is that there is no finite answer because what we intended to be a 2 year journey has turned in to so much more and so much longer with no definitive end in sight.
In the end, 4 1/2 years and 4 crappy vacuums later, I finally bought the nice Dyson. After 3 years, I got my license. And slowly, bit by bit, I’m adding European kitchen appliances and other things to make this house a home. Next up, perhaps buying a car at the end of our lease since we’ve been hesitant to buy when we keep saying it’s easier to lease when we are only here for a few years.
Kind of like that One Foot Syndrome that I mentioned, we often keep one foot in a previous place with the idea that we are going back. Someday. So why invest the time and money into where we are now? I’ll tell you why. Because this is where we live NOW. And as we’ve learned, a plan does not always come to fruition, otherwise we would have been back home 4 1/2 years ago. It also becomes a state of mind – you can’t fully be living in the place that you are in, unless you let go of the notion that having a “plan” is essential to living your life.
We’ve got a lot coming up in the next few months that I think will help us to embrace the living in the now mentality. And while Josh and Liam don’t seem to struggle with this concept, Aidan and I need to shift our focus because it’s not healthy constantly living in limbo. He and I have had the talk about not discussing the future because we need to focus on the now instead. We can’t worry about where he is going to go to high school or stress about what’s going to happen at the end of each school year. Our focus needs to be living in the moment and perhaps we’ll live in Barcelona again someday or Boston, but in this moment, we are living here in the Netherlands and it’s time that we both embrace that because we are missing out on so much by putting our focus on the future.
So that’s what we are going to do. We are both going to try to not think about what’s going to happen a year from now, or two years from now. We are focused on what we are doing today, next week perhaps – maybe even next month. But short term. We’ll stay here til we are ready to move on. And while it’s hard for me to grasp at times that this is home, getting ourselves out of limbo is definitely a way to make it feel like more like it is.
Knuffels en kussen,