We all have different lessons to learn and different ways to approach life to make it easier and more enjoyable. I am in no way trying to say that these are lessons we all need to learn, I can only speak for myself and for my scatter brains that need to see things in writing before fully comprehending them:
- Be calm. There are certain things that can’t be changed. Sometimes you might miss a train, or even a flight. Obviously try your best to make sure that doesn’t happen but generally you’ll encounter bumps that can’t be avoided. Before starting this journey, I got anxious and stressed out and would swear and cry and get flustered when things didn’t go as planned. Since moving around though, I’ve noticed I’ve become more patient than I even imagined possible, and I’m pretty happy about that.
- Don’t just be patient with the world around you, be patient with yourself. It took me a long time to find my place and people in Edinburgh and instead of accepting that it takes time to settle in, I would get upset with myself for not making more friends, or not travelling as much as I thought I would be. But looking back, those first few months I did do a lot and see a lot of new things. I fell in love with a person for a little while but more importantly slowly but surely I fell in love with Scotland, with travelling, with being uncomfortable, with being alone, and most importantly, with just being me. In the future, I’ve resolved to be kinder to myself and allow myself as much time as I need to solve problems I encounter.
- It’s okay to be nostalgic sometimes, but you also need to learn to let things go. A line from the song Welcome, by Hey! Rosetta goes: “Forget where you’ve been, it’ll never be that good again, and we must only look ahead.” I think they mean that the happiness we feel at certain points in our life feels so intensely bright because we’ve not experienced it before so we’ll never be able to double those specific happy feelings. That’s one major thing I’ve come to learn while dealing with depression. Life will never be as good as it was, but it will be great OR even better in the future if you open yourself up to new possibilities. If you always keep moving forward there are an infinite number of opportunities for happiness and light ahead of you, and that’s pretty damn exciting.
- Find what makes you happy and practice it often. I love singing. I love it. A lot. Every time I sing I feel incredibly happy. So now I do it every day. I sing to myself when I wake up, I sing at work, I sing while I walk down the street, I sing when I play guitar, I sing when I cook, and I sing on the toilet. I especially love that my friends love to sing with me too. With Dave in the car or in the Meadows with no background music to hide our AMAZING voices, with Max and Izzy in their living room, with Alissa in the kitchen, with Asha wherever we are basically, with Evey before a night out, with Emma to the sweet sounds of Paolo Nutini, and with everyone at karaoke for my 25th birthday last year. These are some of my favourite memories from my time away and I’ll forever cherish them and remember them when I’m low.
- Sometimes the only person you’ll have to rely on is yourself. As much as your family and friends will be there for you when you need them, sometimes you’ll be all alone and no one will be available to take your call. It’s these times, when we’re truly alone, that show us how strong we really are. Depression was tough. There were many days I didn’t leave my flat, or even my bed. But the day I decided to get help and fix myself was the day I realized that as a 24-year-old woman, no one was going to grab my hands, pull me out of bed, and physically force me to go to the doctor. I had to want to get better and push myself to do things I didn’t think I was capable of at the time like getting a new job, leaving behind a relationship, going out and making new friends, and making myself enjoy my life since it’s the only one I’ve got. Don’t get me wrong, my parents and friends played a big part in my recovery, but in the end I was the only person who could start moving myself forward.
There’s definitely been way more than this list that I’ve learned while livin’ dat expat life, but I think 800 words of rambling, if anyone has actually made it this far, is probably enough for now. Stay tuned for more things that people probably already know but are consistently eureka moments for me.