Here's the thing I've noticed about the expats that I've met: they're yeasayers. Adventurers. Bravehearts. Bold thinkers. They're the kind of babes who go out and make magic with life every single day, casting spells that bring their dreams to life and send ripples of love throughout the universe. Sometimes the spells backfire and they get knocked down. But they never stay down. And they don't let that stop them from saying yes next time. And who's to say which came first: the life abroad or the brave declarations of "yes!"
Surely we must have already begun to cultivate this mindset before plunging into the decision to pack up our lives and move to a new country.
This make sense to me. There was certainly a time when moving abroad seemed like a possibility that existed for other people, but not for me. I might have dreamed about it, but I thought I'd never be rich enough or brave enough to actually do it.
It's only been in the last couple of years that I've realized that I shape my own destiny and that by saying yes to the little flickers of dreams dancing in my head, amazing things happen.
But when I made the decision to move across the ocean, I found my world opening up more quickly and with more ease.
That's the thing that about becoming an expat: saying yes to this big, momentous thing makes it easier to say yes to all of the smaller opportunities for adventure that come along after.
Moving to England catapulted me along my trajectory of becoming a 'yes person.'
Once you've said such a monumental yes to life, the other yes's - even when they're scary - become a little bit easier. You know what you're capable of.
Maybe even more importantly, you can't build a life somewhere new with no's.
Opportunities that I might have turned down in the security of home due to financial reasons, fear, or just plain inconvenience, I now pounce on. They're how I meet friends. How I learn my way around the city. It's how I found my job and how I stumble upon wild experiences that I'll never forgot.
I'm constantly compelled to make the most of my time here and this amazing life I'm creating. Without the safety net that having a history with a place brings, we need to say yes to move our lives forward. This is true no matter where we are, but more poignantly so when you begin your life as an expat.
We can't say yes to everything - that's an invitation for overwhelm and burnout. So I'm learning to make decisions based on how I want to feel. An exciting invite for a wild night out might not be the best thing to accept when I'm run ragged with work and want to feel recharged. At those times I say yes to self-care and spend a quiet evening in. But if life is feeling stagnant and I fear another day in the 9-5 might kill me, a night on the town is exactly what I need to feel invigorated and excited about life again. Even if it means being excruciatingly tired the next day.
The thing about saying yes is that it's addictive. You soon find out that the things that hold you back, the things you're afraid of, mostly aren't real anyway. Instead your possibilities expand. And soon you're living a life that's wildly different than what you might have dreamed was possible.
And you don't need to move to a new country to start saying yes. Go to that party you're invited to where you're afraid you won't know anyone. Take on a project you've been offered that scares you senseless. Taste a food you've never tried when it's put on the table. Find little ways to step outside of your comfort zone and say yes to opening up your world.
I promise it will make your life more fun and your dreams seem more possible.
Just pretend that you're at the precipice, looking into the horizon of the life you dream of. These choices are the steps that allow you to move into it.
So tell me, what are you going to say yes to?
And if you don't mind sharing, I'm working on a project and it would be hugely helpful to know: other than money, what's holding you back from chasing your big dream?