Thursday, April 23, 2015
Expat Talk: Gratitude
After a glorious week of sunshine, cherry blossoms, and blue sky, London is ... well, grey again. Temperatures are dropping and, in some parts of the UK, snow is even being predicted!
I've lived in London for over 8 years. In that time, I've slowly allowed myself to forget the charm and novelty of the city I once fell in love with. After bidding Sri Lanka a tearful goodbye a few weeks ago, I felt crushed about returning to England - the very place I once dreamed of living in. The place I worked so hard to build a life for myself in. The place I'd taped a postcard of next to my bed, so that it'd be the last thing I'd see before I closed my eyes at night.
And then: I was so angry with myself.
This life I have in London? These buildings, the traffic, the red telephone booths, the accent, the Thames, the afternoon teas? The coveted job in publishing? This used to be my fairytale. When did that change? My thoughts horrified me.
Gratitude is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I have so, so much. And yet I find myself wanting so much more. A new camera, a new watch, a new holiday in some exotic location abroad ... there's always something on my wishlist. And I want to stop wanting.
Have you seen that hashtag, #lifegoals? People use it liberally: from describing the perfect dip-dye to capturing an Instagram-worthy desk. I hate it. Especially now, when so many friends of mine are struggling with some serious life issues - some health-related, others not.
Wishlists and life goals are fine; forgetting to be grateful for what you have is not. Health, family, job security, shelter ... those are the important things in life. Most of which are completely beyond our control. When it's grey, when it rains, when I've had a bad day - I lose perspective.
In those moments, I want to shake myself.
What about you? Do you make gratitude lists to help keep yourself in check? If you live abroad, do you often lose sight of why you moved in the first place? It can be easy to forget.
p.s. the sun came out again, just as I finished writing this!