So after living here in New Zealand now for a year, what are my thoughts and advice on the whole experience of shaking up one’s life, selling and getting rid of virtually everything we owned, and moving to a new country. Was it worth it? Was it a stupid idea?
Nope, virtually every day I think it is one of the best things I’ve ever done. And I know my wife, Rebecca, feels the same way. Countless times she has said, “Even if I have to live on cat food the rest of my life, I’m so glad I did this.” I don’t think she’ll have to live on cat food, but you get the idea. And not a day goes by that I am not happy and grateful to have had the experience of living here. Despite loving the US, it’s been expanding and just plain fun.
So here are my words of advice.
Life truly is short. The years go by faster than one would think, or wish. If there is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, or if you get a chance to do something that you’ve always wanted, do it.
Windows of Opportunity
Life provides us with windows of opportunity. Sometimes life gives us a chance or opportunity to do something that we weren’t entirely planning on or expecting. That’s the way it was for us moving to New Zealand. We had visited here for a month and liked it or perhaps were intrigued by it. Almost on a whim, we looked into moving here. It turned out that Rebecca worked in a field in which there was a shortage. We decided she’d apply for a job here. They accepted her and the rest is history.
When windows of opportunity occur in our lives, we often think that if we don’t take this particular chance—whatever it is for us— that that particular opportunity will always be waiting for us out in the future or will appear again someday, or we think we’d be able to re-create the opportunity if we wanted. But it doesn’t work that way. Opportunities or chances often present themselves and then they disappear, often for good. And no matter how we might try in the future, we wouldn’t be able to reproduce those conditions.
It is like a window opening or like stars aligning. And even as the window opens, it is already preordained that the window will close. Even as the stars align, they are destined to fall out of alignment.
So when an opportunity unexpected presents itself, consider it carefully.
That said . . .
It’s Never the Perfect Time
There are ALWAYS parents, children, family, friends, houses and jobs. You’ll never be the right age to shake things up. You’ll always be too young, too in-the-middle, or too old. There’s never the right amount of money.
There are always things you’ll have to give up. And there are always a million reasons why it doesn’t make sense.
And . . .
That thing where you list positives and negatives on a piece of paper and decide based on that doesn’t always work.
You know that thing you do where you list all the positives on one side of a piece of paper and all the negatives on the other side. It doesn’t usually work. Because there is an intangible involved, in our case, rekindling a sense of adventure particularly as we grew older.
That surge of life and energy in your life is what makes it all worthwhile.
But . . .
Be Ready to Make Lots of Decisions —and Quickly
It was amazing for us all the decisions we had to make when we decided to move here. And so quickly. At least for us, once Rebecca had gotten the job, we had to be here in New Zealand in one month’s time. That meant selling, disposing of, or storing all our stuff very quickly. Was it hard? Yes. But fun in a weird sort of way. It was a way of saying to ourselves or to our subconsious that we were bigger or more important than THINGS.
Everybody Gets the Wobbles
When we were thinking about moving to New Zealand, I was reading a forum on moving here. A woman shared something like, “Hubby has the wobbles again.” Everyone gets the wobbles. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad decision. Rebecca had hers one day walking up Rampart Range Road in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. “What the hell are we doing,” she said, “This is crazy!”
Expect it and keep going and also . . .
Whatever Place You Leave Will Still Be There
And it probably won’t change much. In fact, it’s often a bit disconcerting how little things do change. All the people you know will be doing the same things they’ve always done. Everything you left will still be there. Finally . . .
If it seems a bit crazy and stupid, you’re probably on the right track.
That’s right. In a world where there are no survivors, sometimes I feel that only by acting with a certain amount of abandon do we put ourselves on an equal par with our predicament here. And I like to believe that . . .
The Universe Rewards You
I like to believe that the Universe does reward the risk-takers. I do believe that if you give up something, that something else bigger or better will be made available to you. I am not religious but I am spiritual, and I like to believe that when one door closes, another one does somehow open.
So if there is something crazy, that seems out of sorts, that most people would think is silly or stupid at your age, or given your position, then I would suggest that you . . .