How many goals, aspirations or experiences do we allow to slip through our grasp because we latch onto a paper-thin but a convenient excuse? You could argue it’s a daily confrontation in your mid to late twenties – Go to the gym v spend an hour on Instagram. learn something new v binge Netflix. You know what you SHOULD DO, but then you don’t do it. Sound familiar? Well, I’m finally sick of the merry go round.
I’ve run out of convenient excuses not to emigrate. That in itself, I’ve decided, is good enough reason to hand in my notice and commit to moving to Toronto this April. What have I, what has anyone got to lose?
Blink and you missed it
Being 20 seems like a week ago, while the prospect of turning 30 glares back at me each morning. Friends are now spending their weekends in IKEA, not Coppers. Shopping for tiles instead of ‘shopping’ for cheap Jaegerbombs and hazy conversations. Every notable date, whether Christmas or a Bank Holiday brings with it another engagement. I’m now 27 and susceptible to having a minor mental breakdown at the speed a life of responsibility, commitments and ‘adulting’ is approaching. Truth is, I might be already chasing after the bus!
For those our age settling down, I’ve nothing but admiration for that, but that’s not my gig right now. I’m not done exploring new places and new environments yet. Not even close. That’s why I’m belatedly ripping the band-aid. The investment is made, the visa is approved and the flight is booked. My two-year/who knows how long adventure to Canada is now so real it has a start date – 18th April 2018.
Confront your fears head on, your older self will love you for it
Does moving abroad scare you? At least on some level? It should. It’s supposed to. That’s why excuses like – I can’t save enough, I don’t want to leave my job, I’ll miss my friends and family too much and even I don’t want to miss Ireland games in the Aviva (yeah, I’ve used that one) etc are created and legitimised. Your brain has a natural aversion to experiencing fear because it’s uncomfortable and sometimes totally crippling to your mindset. The funny thing is, it’s fear that drives people to grow the fastest and the furthest. Without any fear, your mindset will become irreversibly crippled.
I like to think I’m starting to learn the difference between the fear that exists to ensure your safety (don’t start on the Black slopes), and the fear that exists to maintain your comfortability (do what you always do because it’s what you know). One of them is necessary to, you know, survive but the other one is just as necessary to grow. What’s the point of adhering to one without confronting the other?
Emigration isn’t isolating
I have honestly no idea what lies on the other side of the Atlantic. No safety nets, no opportunity to easily sink back into my comfort zone and old habits, no going back. Is there anything out there more authentically exciting than the unknown? But, it’s not really the unknown is it? The fear of moving continent and doing it solo has been eroded away by technology. I’m not removing myself from family and friend Whatsapp groups.
I’m not isolating myself in some cabin in the woods, rocking back in forth as I figure out what kind of life I want to end up with. Everyone and everything are still accessible at my fingertips, while a whole new city and country full of opportunities are now directly accessible too! Imagine taking the decision to emigrate in the 1980’s. Now compare it to today? You have all of the upside while most of the downside has been removed by our connected world.
Taking advantage of your great fortune
The older I get, the more I genuinely appreciate how lucky I’ve been in where I’ve grown up. The family I have had around me and the fact that for 27 years I haven’t wanted for anything of importance for a single day. There are two ways of looking at that. You either, beat yourself up with the guilt that through absolute luck you’re a part of the most privileged 2-3% of the global population or you take advantage of your luck and see how far it can take you while trying to contribute positively back to what’s been randomly given to you.
The chance to move country, without becoming a marginalised member of the new society you’ve inserted yourself into is actually a rare thing. You can have college degrees coming out of you know where but the real learning is reserved for the area that surrounds your comfort zone and the more time you can spend there.
Ireland has become my comfort zone but I’ve consciously stopped listening to the natural excuses that I’ve created to stay here in search of something bigger. It will always be home but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider leaving it, in order to fully appreciate it down the line.
I’m wheels up to Toronto in five weeks and no matter what, the worst thing that can happen is I end up back where I started having learned a great deal more than if I’d stayed here in the first place. Let go of the excuses, be ambitious and get on the plane!
I got my visa approved through USIT (naturally), with the help of David.Yeates@usit.ie and within a month I had my POE letter, flights and insurance sorted. I can honestly say, successfully getting fed at Nando’s if you haven’t been before is more taxing than going with USIT.