Seven life lessons that Immigration has taught me

As my husband aptly puts it, “immigration is like being re-born, particularly if it is to a country that is vastly different from your own. You have to learn almost everything from scratch.” The pros and cons of immigrating to another country aside, there is a lot that this whole experience of moving from one country to another teaches you.

It is humbling to say the least. It causes a paradigm shift in your views. It breaks you and re-makes you. There’s so much that I can go on writing for eons but yes, here are some of the life lessons that my move to another country taught me. These life-lessons are equally applicable to everyone whether they live in their home country or abroad. Probably, we all know these already. However, they don’t hit home till you get the taste yourself.

1. Nothing is indispensible:

Yes, that is sad but true! There were a lot of things, ingrained in my routine that I thought of as an “absolute must” when I was living in Pakistan. Also, I used to live under the illusion that I am also indispensable in a lot of ways (for instance, at my workplace… ha ha ha!). The moment we moved from Pakistan, reality bit me. I was not indispensable in any capacity and vice versa. That is why the world moves on without everyone.

Take-away: Always be humble and enjoy the importance while it lasts.

2. “Prized possessions” can become “not-a- must-have” very quickly:

There are things that everybody holds close to their heart; childhood toys, framed photos, that memento from your honeymoon, this small token from a loved one’s trip abroad, etc etc. However, these precious things can quickly change their status. When you move from one place to another, from one city to another and from one country to another, your focus and priorities can change totally. For instance, I was travelling with a child and this totally made me consider her diapers more important than anything else! We had to leave a lot of things behind which I previously held very dear.

Take-away: Do enjoy things but don’t fret about losing them.

3. “Wants” are vastly different from “needs”:

Yeah, we all have heard that one! But this is hardly put to test in life. When your focus is on establishing a base from scratch, you tend to forget the tiny details about the favorite brands of yours. Things such as finding a good cleaning agent become more paramount than looking for your favorite perfume!

Take-away: Be clear about your needs versus wants. Also, care about others’ needs more than your wants!

4. One should never take things for-granted:

When we live our life in a set routine, we sometimes forget being thankful for a lot of things and forget being thankful for them. When one moves out of that context, the realization hits hard.

Take-away: Let’s all take a moment to be grateful for everything that you are blessed with.

5. Family matters:

Oh yeah, pun intended! Among a lot of strangers, one suddenly tends to draw comfort from your own family members who are with you. You re-discover each other in a new light and the relationships tend to take on a new light. Those who are thousands of miles apart are sorely missed. You suddenly realize their importance even more. You also tend to realize that a lot of less importance things could have been replaced with spending more time with the family.

Take-away: Let’s take out some time from our busy routines to spend some quality time with the ones you love.

6. Don’t take anything too seriously:

We usually spend a huge part of our lives worrying about things which either don’t happen or happen in a different light than the one we always imagined them in. When our context changes, they suddenly become insignificant.

Take-away: Thus enjoy the present moment rather than fretting over small or seemingly big things.

7. It’s never too late for a new beginning:

I hadn’t ever imagined myself pursuing any other career than banking but due to a change in my personal dynamics (aka an added bundle of joy), I had to rediscover my working options. To my ultimate delight, I am enjoying my new-found career as an editor and content reviewer. It is more fulfilling than my earlier one in some ways, not to mention the bonus of being present with kids.

Take-away: Whatever stage of life you are at, you can always start afresh!

Here’s to new beginnings and remembering the small things that can make life beautiful!

This post has been shared by Erum Fatima. 

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