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Ireland was supposed to be my saving grace.
I was going to arrive and find a cute, old flat with a desk by a window to work and write, and have cool housemates who also had friends I could hang out with and I’d join a soccer club again and find the perfect hot yoga studio like my one back home and I’d go to live music pubs every weekend but not get too drunk so I could still wake up early on Sundays with a warm mug of tea, and I’d just softly land into this life I’d always imagined I’d have.
In fact, you turn up to discover there’s an insane housing crisis in Ireland at the moment. And you send out over a hundred emails to people—at this point not really caring exactly where you are—and you get about three responses which don’t end up turning into anything. And you spend way too much money on temporary housing because well, you don’t really have a choice. And the beer in Dublin is 10 times more expensive than it is anywhere else and the locals tend not to go to those live music venues because they are full of tourists.
The yoga studio you love is at the north end of the city but you’ve found an awesome coworking space with lovely people at the south end, which is also where you’d prefer to live. But the bus system is crap—they just don’t turn up or do and then you’re stuck in traffic for way too long. And so you buy a secondhand bike which you love but didn’t realize how unpredictable the rain would be in Ireland. And there are hills.
You left a big city for all these reasons only to find the same issues coming up in a new city, halfway across the world.
Yes—you are happier. But things aren’t (and probably won’t ever be) perfect.
I read this Elephant article the other day while trying to find answers to my predicament. The author, Kino MacGregor, says: “Drop the guard of ego, put away the facade of pride and just be there in the between space of not knowing.”
Be in the space of not knowing. That was all I had to do.
And then, “magically,” things began to fall into place. I got my working visa approved. I picked it up from my sister’s place in London and I walked through the border control with a stamped passport in hand and everything just sort of lifted off me because: Wow. I am here. Take a minute. Soak it all in.
I was stressing about finding a home but at the same time, something will and has to work out. Even if the life I came here expecting to have doesn’t happen right away, a life that is beautiful in its own unique way would soon reveal itself. There are things in our control (like how we react to situations) and things out of our control (like the public transit system in Dublin).
I couldn’t control people answering my house share emails. I couldn’t control whether everything I wanted was exactly in the right location. I couldn’t even necessarily control what city I’d be in at this point because I was running out of options.
But I could control my willingness to roll with it. I could embrace the uncertainty, which also maybe meant expanding my search options. Maybe that meant going to a city I’d never considered before and seeing where that takes me.
I do have the privilege of a job that allows me to be pretty much anywhere, and I have no real ties holding me down, and that is something to be immensely grateful for.
There’s always an option. It might not be the one we originally had in our heads, but the beauty of life is being open to what those unexpected turns have to teach us.
Some day soon, I’ll hopefully be able to enjoy that pint of Guinness on a Saturday, wake up, do yoga, and enjoy a tea with a good book on a Sunday morning.
It might just look a little bit different than I expected.