262,800 minutes

Adjust; verb; to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms; adapt; accommodate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about adjustments the last few weeks and the multitude of things that we all adjust to, no matter where life happens to take us. How long our commute to work is, where we live, how far away we are from family, the passing of an election year. These are all things that many people will adjust to depending on their circumstances.  So if we all spend a good chunk of our time always making adjustments for life, why is it always so hard?

As we sit at the 19-month mark for being overseas, I’m watching the social media resources we have for our current location begin to bust at the seams with questions for the months ahead. The irony of it all is that the same issues that people are asking about now are the same questions that I asked two years ago when I knew Bahrain would be home. As I sit and attempt to answer for people what it is that they need to bring, I only wish that someone would ask the question of ‘what do I need to expect?’ Nobody ever seems to focus on this side of the coin when they’re in their research phase but knowing what to expect is sometimes more important than whether or not your sofa would fit in homes out here.

If you speak to anyone who is in the world of Psychology, more specifically Behavioral Psychology, they’ll talk to you about the cycles that a person must go through emotionally and physically when change gets inserted. According to those who I have spoken to it takes the average human being six months to adapt to their new surroundings entirely. Even if you’re going to live someplace you have been before; you still need to allow yourself to adjust.

If research is correct, and I believe from my personal journey that it is, we get 262,800 minutes; 4,380 hours; 182 days; 26 weeks. Think about it however you would like, but any of these options equates to six months. When it comes to change in life, this is the information that I wish I had was given before we began on our endeavor if for no other reason than to not be so hard on myself.

Bahrain Street Art, Adliya, Bahrain 2017

With only a few months left of living overseas, I’ve been thinking a lot about my time here. A self-assessment on everything. I reflect on those first six months where I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Days where it was all I could do to get dressed and walk the dog never mind venture out to explore. I would see people who had been here that had it together, and I would think that there was something wrong with me for not being at that level of togetherness.

If you find yourself in this predicament, talk to people. Talk to the people who have already done what it is that you’re in the process of doing. When I took the time to speak to all those individuals who were so together, it was because they allowed themselves the six months to figure it all out. Use the time to your advantage. Think about you. Remember you? What do you want? What passions to do you wish to pursue. Just because time seems like it is idling doesn’t mean you need to be following suit.

Don’t beat yourself up. There’s a component of me that believes that we add stress onto ourselves by stressing about why we feel so stressed.  Remember, life is going to happen regardless of if you’re ready for it or not. It’s you who gets to decide what sort of an experience you have.

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