I recently finished another 3 month stint in Paris, and now I’m in the south of Sweden. I LOVE Sweden. It’s one of those places that for some inexplicable reason feels like home to me. From the very first time I travelled here back in 2005, I felt this incredible mix of the new and the familiar. As if even though it was all new to me, there was another part of me that felt as though I’d already been here before. I love the nature, the forests, the lakes, the coast, the cities. I love the people. I love the progressiveness of this place. Everything in Sweden just makes sense. This is the country that brought us IKEA and Spotify after all.
For a long time I wanted to live in Sweden for a while. And by a while, I mean a year or two. Because let’s face it, as much as I love Sweden, I’m also not a fan of the cold or the dark, so this is not exactly the ideal location for a sun lover like me to live permanently.
And It’s not just Sweden I used to dream about moving to. I also wanted to live in New York for a while. New York has its own completely different appeal to me, but again, the frenetic energy of a huge city like New York feels as though it would be too much to commit to for life.
Have you ever found yourself saying something like this. “I could live there (insert dream city or country) for a year or two, but not for my whole life.”
I get it. Maybe like me, you want to have a deep, incredible experience living in a place, more than you could ever get from just travelling there on holiday, but you also don’t want to move away from family and friends back home indefinitely. Living abroad is temporary for you.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you think something is temporary. You hold it lighter, you have more fun, you’re willing to try different options, you’re open to possibilities.
And this is what it’s like when you move abroad. Everything feels temporary so you don’t get too bogged down in the details. You’re open to accepting whatever job comes your way, you say YES to experiences that had never even crossed your mind before, you loosen up, have some fun and your world seems full of possibilities.
After all, this whole living abroad thing is temporary, so you might as well make the most of it right?
When things feel temporary, they feel possible.
And then comes the tipping point. The point when you’ve been abroad for so long that it starts to feel permanent. Whenever that may be – it’s different for everyone. I remember when I was living in Paris it happened for me after about 3.5 years. And when the permanent feeling comes along, you start asking yourself difficult questions. What am I doing here? How long am I staying for? Am I ever going home? Do I even want to go back? Do I even want to stay?
Here’s what happens when something feels permanent. It becomes serious. It becomes heavy. It feels like options and possibilities are disappearing before your eyes. The pressure begins to build.
Pressure to make the right damn decision because this shit is permanent.
That’s a whole lot of pressure that can make anyone feel anxious. Even the most care-free souls.
But here’s the funny thing that can be so easy to forget sometimes. Nothing is permanent. All of it is temporary. LIFE IS TEMPORARY.
This permanent concept is just a little mind game we’re playing to make us feel as though there is some certainty and security in what is fundamentally an uncertain, unpredictable and impermanent world.
So what would it mean for you if you started acting as though it’s all temporary?
Would you have more fun?
Would you try more things?
Would you take more risks?
Would you give yourself a break?
Would you make decisions more easily?
Would things become possible?
Would you LOVE more?
Because that’s really what life is about. Recognising that we are one tiny blip in time on a universal scale and that this life is precious. And it is brief.
So in the words of Mary Oliver
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I know I’m going to spend mine with incredible people, having amazing conversations, travelling the world, collecting experiences, laughing, creating memories, doing work that I love, following the places, people and things that bring me joy, and loving and giving with all that I have.
PS. Want help creating your own version of an ideal life? Then pop in your details here and you’ll receive a free audio exercise to help you get clear on exactly what that life looks like for you.