Life, Differently…

A week or so ago a Facebook friend posted an article listing 10 Things That People Who Love Their Life Do Differently. The 10 things, in case you haven’t time to click, are:

  1. They don’t care if they are liked.
  2. They do things because they want to not because they believe they have to.
  3. They love their friends but don’t rely on them.
  4. When you ask them what you do, they don’t give you a job title.
  5. When you ask them where they live they say, “At the moment…”
  6. They have their own philosophies, their own religion, they created and live by.
  7. They embrace their impermanence.
  8. They see the world as their playhouse and their mind as the conductor.
  9. They live in the moment but dream in the future.
  10. They don’t bother changing others, but instead learn how to deal with them appropriately.

I know that this list was not specifically aimed at expats but a lot of the points really resonate with my expat experience.  I’m going to explore some of these points from an expat perspective on this blog, the first being #3: “They love their friends, but don’t rely on them.”

I do indeed love my friends.  I love hanging out with the ones I have here in Dublin and I love keeping in touch with the ones back home and scattered around the globe. But I most definitely do not rely on them. That isn’t to say I don’t seek their advice, or cry on their shoulder when I’m having a hard time, but when you get right down to it, I have to rely on myself for most things.

And as an expat, that has been amplified. I don’t know how long I will be in Dublin. A lot of my friends here are expats as well, and I don’t know how long they will be in Dublin. One of my best expat friends here in Dublin recently moved to Denmark for an amazing job opportunity. I’m incredibly happy for her and I know that we will remain friends but it will be different now. And I’m discovering that this type of thing happens a lot when one is an expat.

I’ve realized that, as the article states, I have very close friends but have always maintained my independence. I think maintaining that independence is one of the things that gave me the courage to take the leap and move to Europe. The only thing I loved about Los Angeles was my friends. If I had relied too heavily on them, I might not have believed I could manage on my own, and I would have ended up staying in a city I hated because it was easier and less scary. But I knew that the friendships I had were strong enough to survive the distance, and I knew that I was strong enough to make the move on my own.

Friends are important. Friends are everything. I wouldn’t want to live my life without my friends. But my independence and self-reliance are important too. I wouldn’t want to live my life without them either. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have my expat life without them. So, I have amazing friends, both near and far. Friends that I am there for and that are there for me. But I don’t rely on them too much because, after all, the only person responsible for me is me.

And I do think that has made for a happier life, especially as an expat.

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6 thoughts on “Life, Differently…

  1. Great post, Shannon.

    This is on of the reasons I hope those I care about get to experience the expat life (at least for a while). It forces you to rely on yourself.

    I look forward to reading about the other nine.

  2. What you say, Shannon, is basically true. However, some of your thoughts may change as you grow older. We do rely on our friends at times, to lift our spirits, to help us with something we cannot do or handle on our own. for support, etc.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  3. Thanks, Kay! With me, because I am on my own and move around so much I cannot rely on friends at the expense of my independence. Hopefully, when I get older there will be people I can rely on, but I don’t think that is something I can depend on. 🙂

  4. This is a great post, as it has provoked in me (probably unanswerable) questions. Just thinking out loud here, philosophically. Does true independence require keeping relationships (any, friend, work, other) at arm’s length? Can you rely on someone emotionally and still be independent? Does the meaning of independence shift when a relationship forms? When we are emotionally bonded to another person (friendship, family, or romantic) is a relationship even possible without some form of relying on that other person? Independence is definitely a positive thing and I think more people (women, in particular) should strive for some degree of it, but is dependence a negative quality?

    I wish we could share a glass of vino and/or Guiness and mull that over.

    I know that I rely on you for inspiration, entertainment, and travel reviews, among other things, so keep on keepin’ on, my friend. 🙂

  5. Oh, it would be nice to mull this over with you – over wine/guinness.

    The article specifically talks about friends, and I think I am specifically talking about friends as well in that if you rely too much on your friends you could be setting yourself up for disappointment because, by nature of the friend relationship, you are not at the “top of the list” – other people (partners, children, themselves) will always be more important. Because it is just me, and let’s face it, probably will be just me, I have to rely on myself and if there is some lovely friend on whom I can also rely, then that is a bonus. But that isn’t something someone like me can count on.

    I think it’s different with spouses, boyfriends, etc. in that there is a certain amount of reliance if a relationship like that is going to work and be healthy.

    merp!

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