“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” – Lao Tzu
As 2018 starts, I recall several conversations that I have had with family and friends. These conversations are as varied as the locations that they have taken place in.
As we left the two lane county road that was paved to enter a dirt driveway, I knew I was almost home. Or the place I’d call home for 18 years. Our rental car pulled into the driveway, the dust rolled over the top of the car and settled on our windshield and top of the car doors. This was to remind us that we were land locked in Kansas. As we slowly opened the car doors the fine light dust settled on our hair, arms and even lips. I was home. As we sat in the car, I tried to answer the questions of “Was it fun here?” and “Why didn’t you ever come back to live?”, the list of questions my children had was long. It is amazing how many questions can be asked when the earbuds are out and the entertainment off. I answered each question with as much truth as I could.
Later that year, we find ourselves in the middle of the Caribbean sea with little land insight. The sea water stings our newly acquired bug bites as the sun starts a slow burn our cheeks. The mild wind blows our salty coated hair again and again into our eyes. Once again, unplugged, the questions started coming. “Why did you pick a global lifestyle?” and “Was it hard living alone in your twenty’s?” Once again I tried to answer each question with as much truth as I could.
The hardest thing that an Expat has to deal with is the constant reminder that the life we have chosen becomes… by default… the life of our children.
In a family, we are not all the same and we do not all have the same feelings, dreams or wishes. Also throw into that equation that a child never has any say in what their ‘plans’ are. As an expat mom or dad we are just hoping we made the best choices we could at that time in our lives and that through connection and communication our family thrives.
Three things to help with an global life and family
- Invest in experiences, not things.
- Invest in time with family. Appreciate the members in your family by learning their stories. Ask them questions and find our more of their history.
- Be grateful. A ritual of gratitude is a great lesson to pass on to your children. Gratitude rewires your brain for happiness.
I hope 2018 is wonderful for all the global nomads out there.