I wrote this post a few weeks back, before the move to Dakar. I felt it was a little raw at the time, but as I get ready to publish the ‘Guide to Moving’ on August 15, I think it’s time to share.
I’ve been thinking a lot about manifestation, since returning to Monrovia. After spending some time away, it’s a priviledge and an opportunity to see the friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve had, and the projects that I created. I want them all to thrive in my absence, and I hope that they do. But as I get ready to leave this country, where I’ve lived and worked for the last two years, I want to keep the focus on myself.
So often, when we’re moving, we get caught up in all the motion. I’ve been moving around a lot this year, and I’ve refined how to pack my bags and enjoy the moment wherever I’m at, be it waiting for a meeting or cooking dinner for beloved friends. I’ve been in some amazing places, courtsey of the generousity of brilliant, wonderful people. Sure, each place we live has its challenges. Liberia has many. But as I look around me here, I see manifested all the hopes that I had for this place when I came here. I see how I’ve learned from my visions, my experiments, and my experiences. I see how I’ve grown.
Moving to a new place involves a decidedly visceral thrill. Every couple of years or so, I find myself desiring it. Unlike many, who turn back to their televisions or get in their car to drive to the mall, I start packing. I can’t wait to get to Senegal. Moving is one of my favorite things.
As I start to get into the swing of it, I am trying to acknowledge what I’ve manifested here. This manifestation is intensely personal. It is the transition of myself from the person I was when I got here to the person I am now, poised on the edge of a new country, a new map.
What have I learned here?
- I’ve learned better how to listen, how to let someone explain something to me from beginning to end. I’m still an impatient conversationalist, but I recognize when to listen, more and more.
- It’s okay if my ideas don’t work. But I also need to be prepared for when they do. This means planning ahead of time for people to replace me in new businesses and projects that I start, for people to be ready to take over and run with the day-to-day.
- I do not need an excuse to take a break. I didn’t recognize all the work I was doing here until I came back. I will be more focused on what I explore and choose to do in the future, much choosier about how I put my ideas into action. There are so many opportunities in the developing world to make a difference, to learn something, to try out an idea, to do something new. I find it intoxicating, but I want, increasingly, to manifest peace, to be in astate of relaxiation, to stay calm.
- Moving with less is key. I’m increasingly convinced that minimalism is key to being a happy, healthy expat. I’d rather have a few extremely nice, well-selected things that I replace with equally nice, well-selected things every few months than have the suitcases full of tops and dresses I have now.
I want to focus on recognizing what I’ve done here. I want to appreciate where I am. I have amazing, good people around me. I love the work that I do. And I’m happy to be moving to new and different places to explore. I love that I get to do that.
Gratitude is key.
It helps me recognize where I am and reminds me to enjoy it. Gratitude anchors me to the present moment. “That’s why it’s called ‘the present’,” my friend Melissa always reminds me. Gratitude allows me to manifest my own visions, my own energy, my own plans.
I am grateful for their manifestation. And I am happy to move on.