One of the best pieces of advice I received as I prepared to close the distance with Brittany was given by a friend a couple of weeks before I left Australia.
It’s not often one has their plate completely emptied and gets to start afresh. Be careful what you put back on it.
I’m a guy who finds it difficult to say no to people. If I’m asked to do something, I often say yes before I think about how it will impact my schedule, or my sanity. It’s got me into all kinds of trouble in the past, leading to failed commitments and pulling out of projects.
The worst was when I accepted so many projects (on top of a 60 hour work week) that I burnt out. It was six months before I picked up my guitar again – an instrument I loved and had played for eight years. It took five years for my writing abilities to be on par/ahead of where I was before the burnout.
As the final days of my life in Australia came to an end, the realisation that I would essentially be starting life over sank in. Once I finally arrived in Saipan to be with my long distance fiancée, I only had two permanent commitments on the list: following Jesus, and my marriage to Brittany.
So what did I want to put in my life when I arrived in Saipan? I had the freedom to choose a few things that really mattered and stick to them; to say no to everything that would distract from those commitments.
What will you choose?
If you are faced with a reset, what will you choose to do and why? Are you so busy you hardly have time to think? Are things so quiet you’re dying from boredom? Or is your life well balanced?
These are questions that are best thought about before your life is reset. Once it happens, life can feel out of control, swept along in an unstoppable flood; a flood that dumps you in an ocean with no land in sight.
This is why I strongly recommend packing floaties before you make the move to your new life.
Floaties! Get your floaties!
By floaties, I mean a device to keep your sanity afloat when everything familiar to you is washed away. Something to cling to and focus on; keeping you going until you can drift or swim to land and regain your stability.
It’s important these floaties aren’t things that defined your old life and made it home. Like family or cultural traditions, social norms, even the colour of butter. You do not want to anchor yourself to those, or else you’ll find yourself stuck in the ocean and risk drowning.
A life lived in the past is a life half lived. The moment you think of where you are now as home, well, that’s the moment you make ashore.
So what makes a good floaty?
I believe a good floaty is:
- finding a hobby or interest you can take with you to your new home. Something you can fill your time with. If you’re having to fight through government red tape for a visa, then you could have months before you’re legally allowed to work.
- if you’re a Christian, taking the time to build a better prayer life and study the Bible more.
- learning something new. Always wanted to know how to cook like a chef? Now’s your chance! Use your free time to acquire skills you didn’t have time to learn before. Moved to a country that speaks a different language? Learn that.
- making new friends. For me that meant joining my local church and getting involved there. There are plenty of options there. Do a search online for local clubs based around your interests. And, of course, there’s your SO’s family and friends.
- getting a job if your circumstances allow. Extra income can always help.
Any of those floaties could help you find your feet and establish your new home and life.
Finally, I want to finish with this: never forget where you come from and what makes you you. Never forget the family that raised you and the friends that stood by your side. You may not have a close relationship with some of those people, but every circumstance in your life, good or bad, has shaped you into the person you are today.