Three years ago, almost to the day, I wrote a post about a list I’d found online: 10 Things That The People Who Love Their Lives Do Differently. (You can read the post here.) In that post I talk a lot about not knowing where I would be in two or three years. I had no idea if I would still be in Dublin, and I learned that it didn’t really matter. Nothing about the future is guaranteed so why let worrying about it ruin the present?
And now look, here it is, three years later! I’m still living in Dublin, though I came very close to leaving it for Paris. And even though thoughts of it don’t send me to my xanax bottle anymore, I still don’t like to think too much about what the future may hold. However, I am now allowing myself to consider buying a place here and I will be applying for Irish Citizenship once I qualify at the end of the year. Those are kind of, sort of “permanent” things and yet, the item on the list I feel compelled to write about today is that people who love their lives embrace their impermanence.
When I was a newly-minted expat in Dublin, I was full of anxiety and panic that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. It wasn’t until I embraced my impermanence that I was able to fully commit to and enjoy life as an expat. I feel that, by its very nature, the expat life is a life of impermanence. Most of us don’t move to our new country thinking that this is where we are going to live for the rest of our lives. I don’t think most of us know how long we will be where we are. I know I sure as hell didn’t. I still don’t. And embracing that instead of fighting it has made all the difference. It allowed me to focus on the present, on the moments. And bit by bit, day by day, I put together a life in Dublin that is rather lovely. If I had allowed myself to continue to fret about the future, about my impermanence, I doubt that I would still be living in Dublin nearly five years after I arrived.
But one doesn’t have to be an expat to embrace their impermanence. The impermanence referenced in the article is, of course, our mortal impermanence – something we all have to contend with. But, just as with my expat life, it’s how we contend with it, how we embrace it, that can make all the difference.
There is a lovely quote that I’ve had pinned to the magnet board in my kitchen for a few years now. It gives me a good reminder when I start to take myself too seriously or let stupid things get me down. I really wish I knew who to attribute it to but the best my research could do was verify that is was not Richard Gere, Keanu Reeves or Christopher Walken:
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.
Expat or not, this is something everyone needs to remember. There really is no time for anything else.