Unfamiliar ground, a new language, a clean slate… starting over in a new country can be tough. Especially when you’re letting go of many important parts of your life—your career, your family, your home. But moving to a new place also presents amazing opportunities. Here are the 5 best things about starting over in a new country…
You get to live twice
Not everyone gets to do more than one thing in life. So while it may be natural to cling on to whatever it is you’ve left behind—the PhD, the career, the whatever it is that you thought defined you—the truth is that this is a wonderful chance to live a whole new existence. An existence that would have never have happened had you stuck with your original career.
Embrace the change. Make new friends. Create new habits. And discover the selves you never would have known without this opportunity.
You’re forced to change
When we stop growing, we start getting old. So why do so many of us stop growing when we reach adulthood—and then moan about getting old?
We do it because sticking with what you know is comfortable. It can be tiring to learn, strive and grow. We therefore cling to things because we feel safe with what we know. And we doubt whether we can do it again in a different context, with a different challenge. And so we get old.
Starting over is an opportunity to grow again: to be curious, vulnerable, excited… and stay young.
A whole new you
With your new life comes a new learning curve: new challenges, and new attributes that you develop to tackle them. These attributes aren’t just work-related skill-sets (which are in themselves hugely valuable), but they’re also elements of your character: resilience. Perseverance. Flexibility.
Before you know it, you’re developing skills and attributes that you never knew possible. Who knew you could make new friends in a new neighbourhood so quickly? That you could learn a whole new language in so little time? And make a career out of something you thought was ‘not for you’?
A different kind of confidence
Discovering that you’re not who you thought you were—and that you can be anyone you want to be—is one of the great joys of starting over.
Because it brings a different kind of confidence: the confidence to deal not only with what you know, but with whatever life throws at you.
That ancient sense of adventure
For all of life’s challenges, we lead protected lives. We are top of the food chain and have roofs over our heads, access to hot water and three meals a day. And while it’s great that we take these things for granted, it also means that we can get by our whole lives without much adventure at all.
Starting over taps into a deep human need for adventure, a need that is starved in today’s world. And a need which, even when it’s born of necessity, brings with it the same emotional rewards that have made humans leave their homes for thousands of years: the rewards of discovery.