I have spent the past three years reflecting on many aspects of my life: things that passed and my current self. I wanted to write this article as the idea popped up in one of my daily walks, and I wanted to share it with you, dear readers. Walking helps significantly in clearing the mind and slowing down the racing thoughts in one’s mind. I find it extremely helpful whenever I feel stuck or overwhelmed. Walking with the flow gradually helps me forget what bothers me and focus on finding solutions. Sometimes, I walk to clear my mind. However, these two words ”Changing Perspectives” popped up with this recent walk!
I have been thinking extensively about my past understandings, beliefs, and ideas. I realized how much one can change to no longer adopt them and truly consider them wrong or errored. Seeing my family again after over four years made me realize how important it is to be surrounded by family and loved ones. It made me see being completely alone from a different lens. The idea of remaining alone is honestly taking its toll on me on many levels: mentally, emotionally, and physically. As much as I am the solo type of person I have always been, I somehow believed or thought I was meant to stay alone. I would lie and say I had difficulty being alone or moving to a new country independently. I felt very ready to embark on this journey over five years ago and found my way as I went.
Alone ≠ Lonely
I slowly began to feel the changes over a year ago. Yet, I believe it may have started a few years earlier. The walk made me return in time to realize the changing perspectives from the beginning. Since 2020 and with COVID-19, I shared in previous posts that it was one of the most challenging periods of my life. Looking back, I’m not sure how I survived it while in quartine and living in fear for a whole year on my own.
In 2020, I started to notice things differently: my relations and pool of network, interactions, thoughts, my way of expressing myself, and many other things. So, I decided to take baby steps. I started by gradually disconnecting with many people I thought I knew whom I had connections with through digital spaces. I realized that I didn’t have to know anyone and everyone just because we had mutual friends. Also, I don’t have to keep connections just because I shared a specific period in my life with certain people. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I had issues with those people. It is more about living an authentic life and finding comfort and peacefulness in keeping a small circle but focusing on building a relevant professional network.
Moving abroad influenced my online engagements and dense presence. Therefore, it affected the online relationships I built with many people I once knew. Most of whom I no longer remember their names now. By last year, I managed to filter my network and limited it to a close circle. Some of the connections I made online, whether because of blogging, specific commitments, or just mutual friends, didn’t serve a purpose, and some managed to somehow result in damage. With time, I started to prefer having a small circle of friends and network and became selective and private. My younger self wasn’t as mature as I thought and had much to learn.
In my daily walks reflecting on the span of a year, I recognize how I changed utterly, negatively, and positively over time. Negatively is directly associated with me becoming a workaholic. Work has become almost my life. I noticed how I became too practical in my engagements and used rationale to weigh many circumstances and events. Work makes me feel good, and I dramatically enjoy it, but it has taken over my life. Although I started my professional career three years ago, so much has happened professionally in these three years that I am grateful for, and it contributed to my personal and professional development. However, I have repeatedly prioritized work over everything else, even myself.
The positive change, nonetheless, was that I no longer believed in the things or thoughts I used to have before. For example, I finally feel ready to visit home after five years abroad. Before, I felt stressed whenever I remembered home, and that is why I never went back. A part of me wanted a way out, and I came to comprehend years later that it wasn’t the answer. Finding peace with home was what I needed. Home will always be home. With time, I recall all the great memories I made there, even when life was complicated. Another positive notice is that my emotions no longer control or significantly influence my actions. In the past, my emotions drove my actions, contributing negatively to how I interacted with people.
I realized also that living abroad is not as glamorous as it may seem. Living in the global north doesn’t mean having freedom and rights. Those will still be compromised and controlled. No matter how you try, you will always be considered a foreigner, and it is only the reality. Living abroad is complex and requires energy, patience, and resilience. I know I managed it throughout these years and found my inner strength. Still, with time, I know it has become exhausting.
For now, it reflected negatively on my health, and I felt I truly needed support and care from family and close friends. Being on your own could mean feeling all the feelings simultaneously. It can feel powerful but powerless; it can feel intense and scary. Being completely alone is brutal, but I acknowledged that wanting to share the journey with others is what makes the most of the experience. Knowing this made me see the change from being extreme in praising being alone to understanding that it is no longer the case and I am simply a human. I admit that individualism or complete independence is demanding and is suitable for a certain period. At a certain point, it will no longer serve a purpose. Of course, it differs from one person to another. However, having the experience for some time could be extremely helpful.
Recognizing the Changes
Making the necessary changes has helped me feel calm. For instance, I no longer get provoked by the same things that provoked me years ago. In addition, I no longer want to prove a point or fill a void. Instead, I found inner peace and learned when and how to respond. I do not feel that I need to have an opinion on everything. Sharing opinions can sometimes be harmful. Choosing words wisely became my style because your words can be used against you. Throughout the past three years, the changes I got to feel began to reflect on my life now, and I started to live life differently. I am enjoying the small things and finding blessings in the simplest things.