I haven’t written an Expat Diaries post in a while, but I want to get back to them this year.
Having lived in the UK for over a year now, being an expat doesn’t feel like something I have to figure out and navigate anymore. It’s my lived reality. Questions about how to set up a bank account or find a doctor no longer plague my mind and I’ve just settled into creating my life here.
There are still times when I don’t understand the slang or I get confused about a custom. People still often ask where I’m from. And now I’m navigating the waters of getting a long-term, more permanent visa.
But mostly I just live this expat life as my own. Reveling in the experience of seeing my dreams come to fruition and actively designing my lifestyle day-by-day.
And then something hits me upside the head and reminds me that becoming an expat isn’t all holidays abroad and afternoon teas.
It’s sacrifice and missing out, too.
Sometimes it’s just little things. Family dinners I can’t attend. Nights out I don’t get to enjoy. My stocking got lost in the post and it was the first year I’ve woken up on Christmas morning without one.
But there are bigger things too.
Not being there for my nephew’s first Christmas.
A friend’s wedding invitation slips through my letterbox and I know I’m unable to attend.
Another friend has a baby that I know I won’t meet until he’s nearly a year old.
Being an expat seems to make so many of life’s lessons even more poignant.
Even though we strive to have rich, full lives, we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every moment, every milestone, every crisis.
But perhaps this makes us more conscientious and intentional. Better at prioritizing what’s really important to us.
We find ways to keep these connections strong despite the distance. To show our love and support from afar.
Nothing comes without a price. Every dream requires sacrifices. But when you know what you really want, it’s easier to accept the downsides. And you learn how to minimize their impact. How to work around it.
So even though my heart twinges when I’m reminded of what I’ve given up, I know that this is my dream coming to life. Every path and every choice opens up some possibilities and closes off others. But I’m still a good friend, a good sister, and a good daughter. It’s just taking a different form.
What have you had to give up to get where you are? Does the thought of making sacrifices hold you back from your dreams?
P.S. I’m giving away a copy of Romance Yourself. Just pop over to my Instagram for the details.