Today is February 3. But I feel like 2014 is just beginning.
Around December 31, 2013 I heard someone joke that they’d decided to celebrate Lunar New Year so they could have an extra month to reflect on 2013 and create their plans for 2014.
I had to laugh when I heard that. I’d been stressing about not having my 2014 plans in any sort of coherent form because I was so focused on preparing for three big events in January. Events I’d been planning for so many months that January seemed more like the final month of 2013 than the beginning of 2014.
I decided then and there to let January be a transition month, and not worry much about 2014 until February. I doing so, I felt a huge weight fall off my shoulders.
I then started wondering why I felt I had to conform to a specific timeline. It’s not like anyone was demanding my 2014 business plan. There weren’t any pressing decisions that I had to make before February. And I wasn’t just being lazy; I had a full month of work planned for January.
It was simply that I felt I should have my life in order by January 1.
Beware of the “shoulds”.
Especially when it comes to re-entry and living your ideal global life.
I should be happy that I’m home with my friends and family.
I should be grateful that I had a life-changing experience abroad.
I should be perfectly happy with my current life.
I should love this job.
I should feel differently than how I feel right now.
I should have things figured out by now.
The list could go on and on and on, right? The thing is,
1. You don’t always have to follow the “rules” (all of the “shoulds” in our lives).
2. It’s ok to do what works for you.
It’s hard to make re-entry a positive, growing experience if you’re should-ing. And you can’t create your ideal global life if you’re focusing more on what you feel you should do, rather than what you want to do.
Should-ing is often about pleasing others and not rocking the boat. Sometimes we need to do things that we don’t want to do, and that’s fine. That’s not what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about the kind of should-ing that results in dowinsizing your dreams to fit someone else’s expectations.
When you start thinking I should…
Take a mental step back. Ask yourself why you feel you should do/feel/think/be whatever it is that you think you should do/feel/think/be. Do you really want to do/feel/think/be that? Why? Why not? Could you do/feel/think/be differently? How does that make you feel? Which way of doing/feeling/thinking/being helps you reach the re-entry or global life outcome you want?
It’s not that you shouldn’t do what you feel you should do. Rather, it’s about being aware of what you feel you should do so that YOU can decide if it’s something you want to do. If it helps you reach your goal, do it! If not, find an alternative.
It’s your re-entry. It’s your global life. What do you want?