Tonight I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The movie, if you’ve never heard of it, is about a group of elderly folks who move to India to live at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Part of why I was excited to see it was that my other option, in terms of international rotations, was Mumbai. The other reason I wanted to see it? The cast. Anyway, the movie was just lovely from start to end.
One of the characters, Evelyn, has some great aphorisms that come through her blog posts. There were two that I really liked and that have been swimming around in my brain since I saw the movie.
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing. Has nothing. The only real failure is the failure to try. And the measure of success is how well we cope.”
Risks are what make life interesting and great. And while they are scary (or can be), it is through those risks that we gain so much. There’s a reason why the cliche “nothing ventured, nothing gained” exists. It’s true.
I had a conversation with my therapist a couple of weeks ago (yeah, still in therapy) about this international opportunity (when it was just a hope) and she asked me why I really wanted to go. It was an interesting question. I mean, when I talk about it at work, I have all the right “work” answers…and they are all true. But maybe not the most true. There’s something great that happens in therapy (assuming you’re ready for therapy and you have a good therapist); it’s a safe place to be the most honest.
So, I thought about this for a while because, truthfully, I am pretty terrified to move halfway around the world to live in a country where I don’t speak the language, understand the culture, and am going to stick out like a sore thumb. Oh, and be in a new job that scares me quite a bit, as well.
Here’s what I came up with. I don’t want to miss out on whatever life has to offer me. And maybe I’ll be miserable. (This is what I think my dad fears, as he still remembers so vividly how homesick I was at 14 when I moved to Belgium all by myself.) And I’ll probably be lonely for a while. And I’m sure I’ll wonder what the hell I was thinking at various points in time (when I’m homesick, or lonely, or scared). And I know I will miss my family. But all of those things are worth it to me because I will have tried and I will have figured out how “to cope with the results. And not just to cope, but to thrive.”
At the end of my time there, be it six months or six years (right now, six months…), I will have something amazing. I will have an altered “me”; a “me” who sees the world differently, who understands herself differently; a “me” who has had an experience that no one can take away from her. And I definitely think that’s worth the risk.