Another checklist you must be thinking – that’s the last thing I need amidst this process of moving, packing, leaving, adjusting, farewells, new hellos, and adjustment.
But yes, what if by reading and taking one tiny step this makes a difference – would it be worth it?
Here are three of the nine checklist behaviors that I see making a difference in the lives of expats, repats and nextpats every single day. You have the power to make the difference between suffering through an unpleasant re-entry back home and gaining the winning edge to create the life you dream of living back home….which will it be?
1. Repatriation can be messy – accept this and move on!
Re-entry to life back home after living overseas for anywhere between a couple of years to a lifetime requires hundreds of moving pieces. Our bodies, belongings, relationships, family, and careers get packed up and shifted. The natural consequence can be some chaos. This can sometimes show up in the form of losing bits and pieces of your household goods, things can get lost, broken or stolen during a move. However, you personally don’t want any bits and pieces of the new person you have become while overseas, to become lost or broken. Your new self has been honed and chiseled by expatriation, your lessons learned are precious. Making sure that you guard your stories, learn the lessons and pre-package them in a way that others can learn from is a worthwhile exercise.
Be prepared for some breakdown moments. There are tools for just such eventualities – use them. Employ mindfulness skills such as breathing, focusing on your body and becoming fully present. Just assume there will be some chaos, some out of control moments and get prepared. Allow for them so that if or when they occur you OWN them and they don’t own YOU!
2. Think like an Adventurer not a Returnee!
A person who is “going home” has different thoughts and expectations than a person who is leaving on an adventure. A person planning for an adventure has entirely different ideas about how to approach the next stage and go about creating that.
If you are returning after seven to ten years there’s a chance that not a single functioning cell in your body is returning. Because our cells naturally replace and replenish themselves, there’s a chance only your brain cells are the same.
On a physical and an invisible level, you return as an entirely new being. Your return journey may also find you packing an intangible suitcase that you carry around in your mind – your stories. You are returning with memories, languages, even perhaps a different world view. You have learned, grown and expanded and, YES, by maintaining this growth and change – you will love the next adventure
A. Pretend you are leaving again on a new adventure with the same amount of excitement and joy that originally poured into being an expat living and loving overseas. Is this challenging? Yes – is this possible? Yes – just keep doing the work of imagining yourself back to being the explorer.
B. Pour that love of life, that willingness to explore, that sense of pushing back your boundaries (let’s face it – you would never have gone without those) and get out there to discover and explore exactly WHO you are now, and WHAT you bring to this new party.
You are returning as a brand-new person. Enjoy being new again, take action to maintain your sense of novelty, sense of freedom and your Re-entry will steadily respond well by delivering exactly the dream you are creating.
3. Steep Yourself in Well-Being!
You may find that Re-entry calls for you to become your biggest fan. Build yourself up every single day – particularly if you feel challenged, overwhelmed or are starting down the slippery slope of depression. I discovered that if I leaked a few tears a little bit every day I could maintain a more even keel and stay more emotionally centered. I feel more able to handle anything that comes my way during any transition when I release the internal feelings that sometimes want to surface and overwhelm me.
In becoming your own biggest fan you can build up your belief of what’s possible in your new environment. Taking time to build and nurture your unique dream every single day – hourly if necessary! Be like a teabag, become steeped in the people, places, and environments that nurture you – seek them out, bask in them and do the things that deeply feed your soul. If you don’t know what they are – go discover them now.
If you will take an action – even if it’s only five minutes right now, you will find yourself in an entirely different state of mind tomorrow. Day by day, bit by bit is the way to manage this most wonderful and amazing of journeys.
May your Re-entry Be the Best of Times For YOU!
Doreen worked for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London and Cameroon, followed by corporate America in the Middle East before becoming an entrepreneur in the US in the 1990s.
After 2 years in Japan and 15 years in Saudi Arabia, I now travel the globe half the year providing housesitting services all the while coaching and writing. Moving makes me happy; moving gives me joy and I love helping others move well.
She is the author of the upcoming “Life in the Camel Lane” a motivational memoir based on life and the after-life from living in Saudi Arabia, helping readers to transform their lives through international travel. Also, be watching for “Arriving Well: Stories About Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering Home After Living Abroad” a new book arriving this Fall. Read more about her…
Check out the Rock Your Re-Entry Group on Facebook!