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26 August 2015

Why Change isn't as hard as you think

Who doesn't dream of living in a small flat in Paris, where the light glows, everyday objects glitter, you are twenty pounds lighter and handsome brogues notice you on the street as you tuck a baguette (which you purchased in fluent French) under your arm and tuck a flower into your cascading hair? Yeah.
     The thing I've learned from this move overseas, traveling first to romantic France and then moving to breathtaking Scotland, is that wherever you travel, you take yourself with you. You will be the same person you were back home (wherever home was) when you get to your new life adventure. You will look the same, have the same habits and needs, even the same quirks, strengths and weaknesses. And while that may sound somewhat depressing, it's exactly why making a major life change isn't as hard as you might think.
     When everything in your life is changing, its comforting to know there is still one thing you can rely on - yourself. It's why I don't feel all that different as I sit here surrounded by amazing and ancient buildings.
     I thought that turning my life upside down and changing everything would make me feel different somehow. But this all feels pretty darned normal. I know that sounds unbelievable considering my circumstances. I'm staying in a flat above the Royal Mile in the thick of the Fringe Festival with the sound of a bagpipe wafting through the open window. But consider this... I took a shower. I ate my breakfast - fruit, yogurt and muesli, I'm actually getting some work done and blogging. These are things I do every day. My needs are being met. I haven't changed on these most basic levels.
     It makes this new life so much less scary, and more fun. Because it's the things outside myself that have changed. The selection of restaurants is exciting. The scenery is over the top and beyond believable. I'm surrounded by new languages, smells, sounds and experiences. And yet, the people and tourists are all themselves too. It just doesn't feel as radically different as you might think.
     And yet, in some ways it does. I have slowly and quietly changed in some important ways that I'm quite proud of. This is not a vacation, so I haven't acquired a tan, but I have figured out what is truly important to me. I have rid myself of objects, obligations and various things that were holding me back. I have embraced new experiences. I have adapted. And I have found that while I am still just myself, I am my very best self through this experience. And that makes it all so much easier.

7 comments :

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Love this so much and am soooo proud of you! I brag on you all the time for having the strength, will, and gumption to undergo such an amazing adventure!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Big fuzzy hugs, Vicky! :) e

Val said...

Elizabeth, I'm going to remember your advice "you take the same you with you" when someone is afraid of a new adventure. It's the best answer anyone could give to someone in need of reassurance!

Also loved brogues and bagels! Food and handsome men? Do we need anything more?

Be safe!
Val

melinda beavers said...

It's funny you should mention this, because I experienced quite the same thing when I left for my year abroad in England. It was my first time traveling outside the US and I was doing it alone… but, while I missed my friends and family, I still had myself (and aol.com, baby). And of course, I made new friends, and had classes, and OH so many new places and things to see. Everyday life and a foreign land is that much more… appreciated, isn't it? You have to be present, like you just aren't sometimes, when you're "home" and taking it all for granted. :)
-m.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Val - I'm so glad I struck a cord with you!

Melinda - It's hard not to be present in a town as beautiful as this one! :) e

Faith A said...

Great to hear you are in Scotland and enjoying yourself, I hope you will discover more of the UK as you settle into your new life. We had our honeymoon in Edinburgh 49 years ago.

We had the same experience when we lived in Saudi Arabia, it's wonderful to appreciate a new culture, sights, smells and sounds and as you say You don't change. We had couples with us in SA who thought a new life would mend their marriage and found it didn't, surroundings change but you don't.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Thanks Faith! This would be a lovely town for a honeymoon! I bet you had a great time! Interesting insight on your friend too. :) e

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