NorthSouthEastWest: Expat Dispatches
With 2012 still fresh and new, this month’s NorthSouthEastWest: Expat Dispatches examine beginnings from the four corner of the Globe. Linda of Adventures in Expat Land (North) Linda explores the moment an expat's new life starts. Russell, who blogs at In Search of a Life Less Ordinary (South), is dreaming big, and taking an even bigger bite out of 2012. Erica of Expatira, Baby (East) writes of her love beginnings. And Maria, of I Was an Expat Wife (West) writes about the first time she felt at home in Singapore.
So, get comfortable, pour yourself a glass, and join us in saluting 2012. Many new and wonderful beginnings to all of you.
Dream Big But Commit to Action
by Russell V. J. Ward
I dream too much.
In 2011, I dreamt of untold possibilities, of opportunities and scenarios, of futures so rich of the good stuff of life, so promising and expansive I’d be hard pushed to find the sides. In my dreams, anything was achievable and I spent hours imagining options and outcomes without the mundane boundaries and restrictions of the ordinary world.
Not that there’s anything wrong with dreaming. We all have our hopes and aspirations, and to dream is to create and plan out one of many possible paths ahead.
The problem with last year was that I dreamt too much and too often.
I daydreamed about my life’s direction, I contemplated the brightest of futures, and I blissfully whiled away the minutes and hours in a dozy, vacant state of mind. I dreamed of changing my job, of building a new business, of writing that bestselling book, even of living simultaneously on three continents in three wonderful homes...eventually. My dreams were fanciful but they were doomed to always remain just that. Dreams.
You see they weren’t real, living, actual things I could touch and feel because I held back from making them a reality. Procrastination was the devil on my shoulder and he was busy going about his business in 2011.
Faced with the prospect of sketching out a simple business plan, I’d instead seek out the comfort of a ‘tweet’ or a ‘like’. Rather than get started on the outline of a novel, I’d rather read one. I’m a lousy planner and a poorer goal setter, and these longer-term tasks continued to pass me by.
Whilst procrastination is the devil on my shoulder, then fear is his steadfast companion. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of disappointing others.
I’ve decided that this year is going to be different.
This year will be about new beginnings because, whether it's in a novel, a business idea, a change of direction or an approach to the New Year with renewed vigour and a fresh start, beginnings form the foundation upon which everything else rests. They embody great heart and hope.
With this in mind, I will dream less and finish more often.
I will stop being scared to make a mistake. Doing something and getting it wrong is far more productive than doing nothing at all. I may not get it right first time, but at least I’ll have given it my best shot.
I will stop being idle. I over-think and create problems that weren’t even there in the first place. I analyse and re-analyse when decisiveness and action are required. This year I’ll consider less and act on more.
I will stop thinking I’m not ready. Most great opportunities in life force us to grow far beyond our comfort zones and I will never feel 100% ready. It’s par for the course and I need to get onboard and know I am ready, even if I think I’m not.
I will stop trying to make things perfect. The real world recognises and rewards people who get things done, not people who try to create perfection in their lives. And, anyway, what’s so bad about being imperfect?
I will stop following the path of least resistance. If I plan on achieving something worthwhile in this life, it’s most often not going to be easy. I won’t plan to take the easy way out but I will plan to create something extraordinary. It might be a hard slog, but the results will make every extra effort worth it.
This year will be about doing, not dreaming. I’ll take procrastination and inaction by the horns, confront the devils on my shoulder, face my fears head on.
This year I’ll dare to dream but, above all else, I’ll commit to action.
Image: Kenneth Cratty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net