I am an international teacher who has taught for 2 years in Mexico and who is finishing her second year teaching in Kuwait. Before moving abroad, I had changed apartments and usually neighborhoods every year since I moved out of residence in Uni. Even in Mexico and Kuwait, I changed apartments in my second year. Ten years after moving out of my parents’ house, I’ve lived in 10 different places. And I love it!
Why do I want to start over every year or two? Why haven’t I any desire to stay in one place for longer, even though I may love living there? I’ve spent much time, in recent weeks, contemplating the answers to these questions and guiding myself to discover more about my lifestyle.
First, you need to know that I see my life as one long journey of discovery – discovery of myself and discovery of the world around me. I am quite self-aware and often reflect upon how I have grown in recent years and how I currently identify myself.
I have found that when I stay in one place, I begin to form an identity that is tied to that place. For example, my teenage identity in my hometown is much, much different from how I would identify myself now. My identity when I was in University is quite different from now. And it’s the same for every stage of my life.
So, after making positive changes, I’ve found it’s difficult to stick with those changes when I’m in a place with which I associate a different identity of myself. Sometimes I discover that I’d like to change certain habits in order to grow in a certain way. But habits are very hard to break.
“Starting over” gives me the opportunity to redefine myself and form new, improved, habits.
For example, in Mexico, I discovered that I was spending too much unproductive time online and not achieving things that I would like to achieve. I miss the days when I would read each night before bed. I yearn to continue my musical education. I have rediscovered my passion for writing. I am learning about a natural and healthy lifestyle. And more. All of these interests require dedication and determination in order to achieve what I want.
So what’s standing in my way? Bad habits!
In Mexico, I had a habit of eating the same thing every day. I always watched a TV show while eating at home. I rarely went for walks in one of the many beautiful parks near my apartment. I did not study music. I did not write. I rarely read. If my after-school routine was altered, I craved the normality I had other days… but at the end of a non-routine day, I would always be so much happier than on a normal, routine day.
How do you break a routine and bad habits? Start again somewhere where you don’t have a routine or habits.
I’m came to Kuwait with an idea of the things that I was interested in. While I rarely care to set specific goals, I did know what I wanted to learn about, participate in, and experience. I’m in a choir, I’m studying music again, I’m playing sports. I am cooking with a friend and don’t always sit down with food and a tv show after school. Habits are hard to break. But ‘starting over’ sure makes it easier.
My lifestyle is not just about seeing the world; it’s about encouraging positive growth through fresh starts. Does that mean that, when I stay somewhere for more than a year, I’m closer to this place I’m working towards… self-actualization, the ultimate me, whatever you want to call it…?