Why Living in a Foreign Country Alone was the Best Thing That Happened to Me

“It’s going to be okay!!,

You will be fine!,

You will survive! (I hope)”

This was the mantra I was constantly chanting to myself when I started to live alone in India for the very first time. Trust me when I say, these words however much I said again and again to myself, it DID NOT HELP.. It was the first thing I told myself the moment I woke up and every second thereafter, but in no way did it help the pain, the homesickness or the loneliness that I felt the first couple of weeks.

Even though I had lived previously in India with my family for quite a few years, it was different this time. I was alone and in a different state. And states in India are different from each other like night and day. So waking up to this new life was hard. Every waking moment I felt like something tight was wrapped around my body. I felt crippled, not knowing what to do to get by. I had to tell myself one step at a time, every day. At first I hated living away from home, away from my family away from that cozy spot I call my comfy corner.. I loathed every minute of it, I was counting days to go back. I clearly remember walking to college from my PG counting days on my phone and consoling myself. I was angry at myself for taking such a drastic decision to come so far from home. I would cry, lament and do all the dramatic ish you do when you feel extreme discomfort at an emotional level.

Only if I knew then that in a few months’ time when I was finally settled I would love every bit of this new life… that I would cherish every second I spent in the beautiful country that became my second home.

Living alone for the first time is Hard…harder than anything you can imagine. Especially hard when you’re in a country where everything from the language to soap brand is different. You become so accustomed to being cuddled up in your comfort zone that it becomes hard to wrap your brain around the fact that it’s okay to live away from your “normal”!

Today looking back, nearly 11 years later I am honestly so proud of myself for getting through the first few months ( Not like I had any other choice, but still) I wish I could go back and tell my old scared self “this is the best part of your life, stop hoping to magically go home and start living in the moment”

Apart from the knowledge I got in my study field, the amount of real life experiences and life lessons I’ve learnt are endless. Something I doubt I would have gotten if I stayed back at home.

I learnt how the world works and how people work. Best of all though this adventure I finally learnt how to dance to my own beat, to accept me for who I really am!

Coming from a south Asian family you’re expected to be a certain way whether you like it or not. It’s safe to live that way trust me.. But it’s not for everyone.. It’s not for me.. I’m an odd one out.. the miss fit.. and living alone made me realize this. Made me realize that living within that frame was not for me.. And also that it’s okay to be the way I am.

Also through meeting so many people from different all corners of the globe, I learnt that people around the world are not as scary as they are made to seem. I got to meet the best people I have ever met while living in Pune. All kinds of people, from many walks of life, some good some bad. Also through the process of living with people from different countries and different areas, I learnt that we are all human and all these superficial barriers we have created are not worth it!

Learnt that there is beauty in everything. it’s just how you look at it. Living alone makes you appreciate the small things that usually go unnoticed and you start to appreciate life a little bit better. You appreciate the things that make you feel at home, you appreciate your family and best of all you appreciate your new surrounding and the new people that are slowly coming in to your life. And you slowly but surely start to understand and embrace Change!

Out of all the life lessons I’ve gotten though this experience the best is the knowledge I got about how to deal with fellow humans- good and bad. You don’t get to choose who you associate when you’re in the real world. And by dealing with all different people one on one without a safety net to fall back on, you learn how to read people a whole lot better. I’m not perfect at this still but I think I’m way better at this than I would have been if I hadn’t lived alone.

The fear of living alone is just a phantom that our brains have developed. I’m not an expert in living alone or living abroad but all those years I’ve been thrown in to different places under different situations even as a child has shaped me to be who I am.

Today I’m back home settled in a comfy zone but I can’t help myself from craving for another chance to move somewhere else and experience everything that comes with it. I crave to wake up in a place where I get to challenge myself, and as cliché as it may sound, find a better side of me. Weirdly enough I crave that fear and that anxiety I felt all those years ago because all those different feelings good or bad made me feel alive.  

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