By Leenna Naidoo
Go on, admit it. You dream of starting over, rebooting your life like you do your computer.
And who could blame you? Some days, it’s all just too: too much slog, too much stress, too many financial switchbacks, and..(daa-daah) too much drama.
Better to hit the reset switch, wipe out the glitches and even go for an upgrade or two while we’re at it. So simple. So elegant.
Aah, to do an Elizabeth Gilbert and let the universe be our super-efficient IT department! But would you be able to cope with it all?
Here are three things you should consider before you hit that life reset switch.
You’ll have to start from scratch.
This meanings learning new things and relearning things you’d thought you’d known. Most life restarts begin by getting an education–formal or informal. Giving up your 9-5 to teach children in China or Japan means that (for most of us) you’ll be immersed in a totally different culture where few people over 25 will be speaking English to you, even if they do understand English (especially the sweary words). Your classroom is all around you, and you haven’t even met your students yet, just your language and culture teachers. Most ESL institutions also require you take an ESL teaching course.
As with any career change, you’ll be the newbie, no matter your previous experience and knowledge. You’ll have to start slogging up those ladder rungs again.
In a new country, there are all the little things to take care of too; the easiest being your luggage. You’ll have to find an apartment, see to the utilities, open bank accounts, find new foods and hangouts, and make new friends–often in a new way.
All this can be great! Just do your research, plan ahead and keep an open mind to the adventures around you.
Living a new life does not make a new you.
So, OK. You have the fab new job and fab new boyfriend, but where’s the fab new you? Moving to a new environment means that you’re carrying the one thing you can’t possibly leave behind no matter how hard you try–you.
Your issues, safely packed inside of you, may not be noticed at first with the excitement of all the new, but come the three-month mark, they’ll resurface and you’ll have to start dealing with them again.
Now, it’s easy and tempting to think that you could just go from introvert to extrovert in your new life; that faking it till you are It, is going to be much easier where no one knows you and all your issues. I’ve seen people contort themselves into being someone else, either to fit in with the new scene or to try to be someone new.
It’s not pretty when it all starts to fall apart.
The simple truth is: coping with all the new situations in your life is exhausting, learning constantly is exhausting. Add remembering to be someone you’re not, is exhausting and mind-numbingly futile. The real you always resurfaces, and if you’re running with the wolves, you’re gonna get eaten.
The simple, elegant solution is be yourself. Allow the new situations to bring up your issues, be mindful of them, then kiss them goodbye. You’ll be happier than ever before, and rejuvenated instead of exhausted.
It may not all pan out the way you wished it would.
So you’ve adjusted. You’ve evolved. You’ve experienced life in an awesome new way when you stop to think about it. You’re really quite comfortable. But…well, something seems to be missing.
You are just a little bit disappointed. Your new car is so sporty, but darn it! It hits every bump with a thump. Your new job pays all the bills and for a holiday or two, but now there’s no time to paint. Your new life has become old. And that’s OK.
Unless the reason why you rebooted is still at the fore-front of your mind.
Rebooted for a guy? Is he still with you? Rebooted out of boredom? Are you bored again? Rebooted for the lifestyle? Is it falling short of expectations in more ways than one?
There’s nothing wrong with these outcomes. What matters is you! Are you willing to go through the whole process of starting over again, or will you try another remedy this time?
Whatever you decide will be right for you.
Just remember: do your research, take your time, plan ahead and smile.
Liked this? Check out my messy-life personal reflections on Noah’s Ark and Blue Elephants.