What I Learned From Packing Up And Moving Across The World On My Own
Our contributor Shloka (@thesilksneaker) recounts the fears and triumphs that came when she uprooted her life in Mumbai and created a new one in London.| April 13, 2018
Amongst the diplomas, the green graduation gowns and hats in the air, there was a strong sense of optimism and excitement for the future at my high school graduation back in 2012.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India, where I lived for 18 years and suddenly it was all about to change. I packed my bags and moved to London almost five years ago now, but in those years, I experienced my biggest personal challenge to date.
I had not prepared myself mentally or emotionally for my first move away from home and when I finally stepped through the doors of my first home in London, it suddenly hit me. I had to make this new and foreign place feel like home. I felt as though I had been thrown into the deep end; I had no friends or real family to speak of in London, and although my parents came to settle me in, once they left, I felt a sense of emptiness. I was not only about to live away from home for the first time, I was about to live alone.
Both my parents had studied abroad and I knew that I wanted to pursue my higher education in London. It was a city I knew and that I was comfortable with, but at the same time the distance from home and from my family were huge emotional barriers for me. I was incredibly fortunate to have the support of my parents, but the process of having to find a place to live, the right university degree, the right group of friends, was incredibly daunting and difficult. I spent countless of nights on the telephone to London trying to sort out accommodation, coordinate with my university and making sure that all my boxes were checked. The logistics behind a big move can seem incredibly daunting and challenging, but don’t let this discourage you, just as I did not let it discourage me.
If you are about to move for the first time or have just moved, and are experiencing similar feelings, trust me when I say that things change and before you know it you’ve immersed yourself into a new life that you’ve created for yourself. Through this part of my life, there are a few key lessons that I took away, that I hope I can share with some of you who may be about to embark on your own journey.
One of my biggest fears about moving away was the idea that I was going to be all alone. I grew up as an only child and went to the same school for a majority of my childhood. Having to make new friends and find my place in a new city made me feel afraid. What I realised is that being alone and feeling alone are two very different things. Being able to be alone, and being comfortable with yourself is a skill that I learned living by myself in London. When I realized that I could actually be by myself, I developed a new sense of confidence in my abilities. I suddenly came to see how important it is to be comfortable with who you are. Although it is incredibly scary, it is so necessary to be able to internally reflect and be happy with yourself.
The sense of independence that was thrust upon me when I moved to London was incredibly sudden, but it also taught me that if you want something, you need to make it happen for yourself. Rather than sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come to you, you need to put yourself out there and make those circumstances happen. Don’t be afraid to start conversations, to make new friends and to go after your dreams. Only you can create the reality you want. I think I really understood this when I started my blog. The amount of love, sweat, and tears that go into creating the content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can sometimes be overwhelming, but never take your independence for granted.
Living alone teaches you the importance of self-love. I have always been told that self-love is one of the most important things, but it wasn’t until I moved away and had to be independent that I learned what self-love really was. It can be so easy to get lost in the negatives. It is almost easier to look in the mirror every morning and see all the things you wish you could change. What I learned was this: the only way you can give and receive love is if you love yourself first. The first person who needs to see the value and beauty in you is you. Wake up every morning and build yourself up. See the positives in yourself, whether that be physical, emotional or mental. When you love yourself, you are unstoppable.
Finally, whether you are moving away for work, for love, for the university, whatever your reasons may be, remember that there is no such thing as failure. There will always be good days and bad days, but it’ is all a part of the journey. What I learned, especially on my bad days, was that there is no such thing as failure. The concept of failure exists only within us. You set the parameters and you define your goals.
Remember that things take time in a new city and you have only truly failed if you stop trying. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. The world is your oyster, now go and grab it!
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