One issue with living abroad is the feeling that your life is on ‘pause’. You see friends and family back home getting degrees, getting married, having babies, buying houses and cars and it all feels very remote and different.
At the same time, there is a feeling of envy. These people are hitting life milestones whilst you are on the other side of the world. There’s often a feeling of ‘Shouldn’t I be doing that now?’. I often feel a bit left behind or out of sync with the things my friends are achieving.
It’s at these moments that I have to remember the many benefits of living abroad. I’ve immersed myself in another culture and grown in confidence and knowledge by doing so. I have met a wide variety of people outside the people I would meet at home and I have learned from them and developed some of my dearest friendships. I have tried things I have never done before. I have been to new places. I have experienced a totally different working environment and learned how to adapt. I have become more relaxed through my acceptance that I cannot control everything (much as I try). I have learned so much and grown as a person through living in Korea.
This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t have learned and grown if I had stayed at home. I am sure I would have. But in choosing to experience this life, these are the lessons I chose to learn. And honestly, I think they were things I needed to learn.
So next time I find myself feeling odd about another graduation or another engagement, I am going to remind myself of that. We all choose different paths in life so I need to quit comparing myself to the things my friends are achieving and focus on the things that I have achieved- because I think 2 years living and working in a foreign country is quite an achievement, indeed.
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