Throughout my life I have had occasion to wonder why. What am I doing and why am I doing it? Why am I here? What do I want from life? You know, the standard philosophical questions that have been asked throughout history. Of course, with my move to Germany I have been able to plague myself anew with these sorts of questions.
Why did I move? What am I doing? What have I done??
And some of the time I really don’t know. There is a reason why the vast majority of people doesn’t emigrate: it is hard and as you get older, comfort and familiarity become ever more important. Of course, there is truth in the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt, but for most people this is overridden by an innate desire not to rock the boat and to stick with what you know. Of course there is nothing wrong with that but for a tiny minority, that isn’t good enough.
I am very sure that almost everyone goes through stages in their lives where they would like to run away, to make a huge change to their life and just “sod it all”. Most people, of course, don’t act on this and spend the rest of their lives justifying why inaction was the best course of action. Sometimes, it most certainly is the case and sometimes not. As usual there are shades of grey in almost every situation.
And so I have been wondering about my move and whether it was the best thing to do. It has certainly cost me a lot in terms of the upheaval and missing family and friends, not to mention financially. To answer this, I have tried to make a comparison between my situation now and what it would have been had I remained comfortable in England. What have I gained?
Well, I have met a lot of new and interesting people, some of them really lovely. I suspect I would have met nobody new had I remained at home. I have seen a lot of new things, had some new experiences (good and bad), and learned a huge amount. My German language skills have improved and while still dire, are a lot better than they would have been had I remained. The working environment I find myself in is also different to what I have hitherto experienced also. All of this has broadened my mind and indeed my horizons in the way that only travel can. Sure, I could have looked for a “different” job in the UK, could have got out there and made an effort to meet new people, etc. But the reality is that I wouldn’t have because I was comfortable. The move forced me to do things I would never have otherwise done, and has enriched me as a result.
And so here I am, well and truly forced out of my comfort zone, but with an entirely different outlook on life. Had I remained in England, to the question “Where will you be in 30 years time?” the answer would likely have been “Here”. (Actually, maybe the answer may have been different, but the reality?) Now, to the same question, my answer is “I have absolutely no idea.”
And for now that is enough.