It’s been almost three months since my last blog post.
I’ve been feeling uninspired. Low on energy. Lacking the motivation to write.
A voice in my head speaks:
Uh oh. I know what that means. You’re not doing too good, Dan.
Moving to America has (and continues to be) one of the biggest challenges of my life. I thought it would be easy. But I overestimated my resilience to tough situations.
While I was back home in England, I was pretty miserable. Working a job I hated – nothing meaningful on the horizon. I turned 30 and realised more than ever that I was years behind my peers in terms of wealth, status and generally sorting my life out. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been waiting for years for my life to actually start.
When you’re in this position, it’s easy to fall into a trap.
Since I moved to America a few months ago, I’ve been unable to work. It takes months for a work visa to be processed and in that time I can’t leave the country, or do much of anything really. To save on costs, my wife and I have been living with her parents and brother.
It doesn’t matter as much as you’d think. Most houses in America are huge in comparison to the UK. Living with other people isn’t a problem. If you need some time alone you can sulk off to your own wing of the house and pretend that nobody is there with you.
When it becomes a problem, is when you also have enough animals in the house to open a petting zoo. My wife’s family seems to collect animals like most people collect useless kitchen appliances. Instead of an ice cream maker they’ll only use twice, they get a new cat. Instead of a popcorn machine, a dog. When you have as many cats as they do, it probably seems like something you buy regularly. “Hey, don’t forget to stop by the store on the way home and get a new cat!” “Cat food. You mean cat food, right?” “No no, I mean a cat.” Continue reading Living with 5 Cats, 2 Dogs, 1 Bird, 8 Fish and 4 Humans→
Before leaving for a new life in America, I believed that moving here would be easy. Over the last two months I’ve found the adjustment to be anything but.
Numerous people back home told me how envious they were about my moving to America. To them, the idea of living in the USA reminds them of past holidays. Great food, good weather, good beer, cheap shopping. No worries. Continue reading Adjusting to Life in America→
Hotels. Restaurants. Buses. Planes. Trains. Automobiles. If you’re going to travel long-term you need to make a strict budget and you need to plan ahead. Otherwise one day you’ll wake up, find your bank account empty and you’ll have to do the last thing you want to do: go home.
A few years ago now, not long after my birthday, I wrote a blog post that I was pretty proud of. It was entitled, “The Annual Existential Crisis (Birthday)” and was essentially how every year my birthday forces me to become introspective about my life and how I usually don’t like the results.
In the three years since that post, I have worked 4 different jobs in 3 different countries. I have had the happiest period of my life yet really nothing about my situation has changed.
I’ve now arrived in another country and I’m looking for another job and all those horrible thoughts and feelings are swarming back to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been sitting around house-sitting for a few weeks and for the first time in a few years I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and think about…stuff. That’s the worst thing to think about.
Of all the characteristics of ordinary human nature envy is the most unfortunate; not only does the envious person wish to inflict misfortune and do so whenever he can with impunity, but he is also himself rendered unhappy by envy. Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has, he derives pain from what others have.
– Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
Envy. It takes us all at some point, usually when we’re at our weakest. Whenever I’m miserable or depressed, the sin rears it’s ugly head and poisons my mind. I have envied my friends, I have envied my family. It shames me to say it, yet it’s almost impossible to stop.
When we are children we are all envious creatures. We know little of the world or our own lives, we lack true empathy and are selfish beings. We look at the other children around us and see what they have and if we don’t have it, we want it. If another child has a new toy, we too need a new toy.
As children our envy stems somewhat from perceived injustices. Why should another child have something while we have nothing? How is that fair? Children can’t rationalise that another child getting a toy has very little to do with their own circumstances.
Growing into adulthood we don’t learn much, we are still prone to envy and jealousy and struggle with our feelings, we just find between ways to hide it from others. Continue reading Modern Envy.→