For many people, the month of May is pretty nice. For much of the world May begins with a public holiday, and if you happen to be living in France (and other parts of Europe), there’s a whole lot of other public holidays coming your way in May. For the Northern Hemisphere it’s also such a beautiful month because it’s right in the middle of spring. The weather is getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and the anticipation of summer is in the air. And for a whole bunch of us world wanderers, expats and travel junkies, the start of May is all about the Green Card lottery results! Yep, it’s that time of the year again.
The start of May used to be a time when I would wait with bated breath for my life to change. Year in and year out for 6 years I would wake up on the 2nd of May (1st of May in the US) with this excited anticipation as I logged on to get the results of my Green Card application. I was incredibly optimistic and genuinely believed that out of the millions of people that enter the Green Card lottery (Electronic Diversity Visa lottery if we’re being official), my application would be randomly selected. What can I say? Once a dreamer, always a dreamer.
And for me the dream was to live and work in New York. Not forever, but at least for a couple of years. I’ve always loved the charged energy and thrilling pace of New York. For someone like me, who used to get restless and bored easily, New York was the ultimate playground. I mean, who’s going to get bored in New York? Is it even possible?
Yet every year when I would log on to check the results, I would get that same brief message that my application was unsuccessful and had not been selected. I would feel my heart drop a little. I wanted so badly to live in the States, and the disappointment of having to wait yet another year to try my luck again hurt.
But it hasn’t been like that for me recently. Because for the past 2 years, I haven’t even applied for the Green Card lottery. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to live in the States one day, but for a while now I’ve been so much more grounded and present in my life, that the application window has slipped my mind.
For any Green Card lottery virgins out there, it goes a little something like this. The application window opens in October for about 4 weeks. You then proceed to wait 6 to 7 months to find out if your application has been selected. If on the off chance the computer is kind and randomly selects you, then you have to fill out a whole lotta paperwork and wait another few months to have an interview and then, provided all that goes to plan, you may have landed yourself a Green Card that can only be activated the following year. So from the moment of actually applying for the lottery, we’re talking a minimum wait time of 15 months and it can be much longer than that. Talk about forward planning! It’s amazing how when you are fully present and enjoying your life where you are, the constant planning to move abroad tends to fade into the distance.
But for those of you who did apply back in October and logged on to check the Green Card lottery results today, only to be met with a sinking feeling because your application wasn’t selected, here’s a little exercise you can do to pull yourself out of that funk and start feeling better. It’s time to look at why you were applying for the Green Card lottery in the first place. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did you decide to apply for the Green Card lottery?
- How were you feeling in your life that prompted you to apply? Restless? Bored? Unhappy? Frustrated? Unfulfilled? Apathetic?
- What state or city did you want to move to?
- How did you picture your life in that place? What was your vision for what it would be like?
- If you imagine yourself there now, how do you think you would feel? Excited? Happy? Stimulated? Challenged?
Now look at the list of feelings that you wrote down for question #5 and brainstorm a list of all of the things that you can do RIGHT NOW that make you feel those things.
Because the truth is, it’s not about waiting for New York (or your city of choice) to make you feel a particular way. It’s about figuring out how you thought living in the US was going to make you feel and doing some little life experiments to work out how you can generate those feelings in your life TODAY.
As the brilliant Danielle La Porte says,“Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most creative thing you can do with your life.”
PS – If you or someone you know is feeling restless, bored and considering a move abroad, then check out my ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ coaching package here