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NIKKI NEWMAN: MAKING A CHANGE

Have you ever felt that you wanted to make a change in your life? Change of job, career, location, wardrobe…partner?!

It’s been nearly 6 months since my family and I relocated overseas from the UK so I thought I’d write a little about making that change and what it’s meant to us.

When my husband first came home and told me he’d heard of a job opportunity overseas, in a place I’d admittedly never heard of – Qatar – I wrote the idea off. Partly because I believed I was where I should be – back on my home turf in Devon, England, after a good ten years of living and working all over the UK. I’d moved back 8 years earlier to settle down; this was my home town, ergo, it had to be the place I’d naturally feel ‘at home’ and find that sense of completion and satisfaction that we all crave. Right?

Well, in a sense yes. Devon was a beautiful and peaceful part of England, our son was at a great school and we had family and friends close by. But there was always a feeling that we both lacked a sense of passion about being there; I’d felt that as a teenager, the small town blues I guess, and often wondered if our son would feel that way too as he grew.


Have you ever felt that you wanted to make a change in your life? Change of job, career, location, wardrobe…partner?!

It’s been nearly 6 months since my family and I relocated overseas from the UK so I thought I’d write a little about making that change and what it’s meant to us.

When my husband first came home and told me he’d heard of a job opportunity overseas, in a place I’d admittedly never heard of – Qatar – I wrote the idea off.  Partly because I believed I was where I should be – back on my home turf in Devon, England, after a good ten years of living and working all over the UK. I’d moved back 8 years earlier to settle down; this was my home town, ergo, it had to be the place I’d naturally feel ‘at home’ and find that sense of completion and satisfaction that we all crave. Right?

Well, in a sense yes. Devon was a beautiful and peaceful part of England, our son was at a great school and we had family and friends close by. But there was always a feeling that we both lacked a sense of passion about being there; I’d felt that as a teenager, the small town blues I guess, and often wondered if our son would feel that way too as he grew.

Then there was the crap. I’ve got to tell you, for a good five years or more, life for my husband and I had been pretty challenging and there hadn’t been a lot of enjoyment.

Ill health had plagued me, just one thing after another all of which led to a loss of career, role and identity. Employment opportunities where we lived weren’t great and my husband had gone through several career transitions, studying for a post-grad during it all in a gallant effort to improve things. The financial commitments we started off with when we first met only worsened due to these factors, and our situation became critical. Everything imploded.

The toll all of this took on my husband was visible. A dedicated, loving, hilariously funny man, he was struggling under the weight of it all.

Everything has a knock-on effect.

So despite going home to find a place I thought I belonged and would feel at ease in, the reality didn’t match with my dreams. I know life is not plain sailing, but sometimes it just seemed RIDICULOUS!

Somehow, thankfully, our son seemed to be doing ok. But there was a sense we were existing, not living, and we knew it could be so much better if only we could change a few basic things – more space in which to live (we were cramped in our tiny home); more family time; increased income to provide for greater security, freedom and choice in the long-term; then maybe – dare I hope for it? – improved health; more opportunities…oh yes, and sunshine!

It had been like the cogs hadn’t been turning, the stars hadn’t been aligned, the energy wasn’t right…whatever it was, something was saying ‘DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!’

We all know the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again with the same results. I don’t know if this is true, but it made me laugh thinking of our past situation!

Not that we hadn’t tried, it just seemed like the results were always the same! It sure felt like going mad sometimes! So when the opportunity to emigrate arrived it was the right opportunity at just the right time.

After thinking it over, my husband and I independently came to the same conclusion: that we REALLY wanted to give it a go! Growing old and wondering how our life would’ve been had we given it a shot was not an option.

It was hard at first to tell loved ones, who’d been there for us throughout it all. I felt bad about leaving. I mean, what kind of thanks was that? I was also honestly scared of coping without the love, support and friendship close by. Then there were the niggling doubts: Was it quitting? Giving up? Running away?

NO. There comes a point when you just have to say, enough is enough! Plus, I was taking the gifts I’d been given – the love, care, well wishes – and was not letting them go to waste.  My dear mom, sister and dad would want for things to be better for us. At the very least it would save each of them a few more worry lines!

It felt good to recycle and donate stuff; sort and box-up possessions; to really figure out what I treasured and wanted to keep; and to sell the goddamn ‘sofa of illness’. It was Empowering.

The biggest concern and consideration was our son. We talked to him about it, showed him where would be living on the map, explained all we could about the going and the keeping in touch with home. He too started to get excited.

The leaving was sad but the arriving was unbelievably exciting!

I’ve got to tell you, we’ve all experienced so many good things since being here.  Yes, of course there are challenges, ups and downs – just because we have sunshine all the time doesn’t mean things are always sunny and cocktails! –  but at last, things seem to be moving forward for us and we can plan for the future. Oliver is doing just fine, settling into a great school and making friends.  Already he’s seen and done so much that living in a different place and culture affords. I have a much happier husband too! I personally have experienced a blooming, a healing, that I daren’t think of before.  Then because of that, I am able to be there more for my son and my husband, be more involved. And that’s all great for our loved ones to see.

As I said before, everything has a knock-on effect.

Many things you cannot plan for so you have to approach life with whatever planning you can do along with a good helping of faith!

We cut ourselves a break and moved away. In doing so, we’ve found openings and paths we would never have otherwise. I’ve learned home can be in different places. We feel we are living now and are excited about the future. And all of that feels AMAZING.

But what about you? I’d love to hear about the changes you’re thinking of making and the concerns you have? Or have you already made a change that has helped to open things up for you? Please, share away…!

Nikki Newman, 36, from England, currently lives in Qatar, where she moved this year due to her husband’s work. A former teacher and proud mother of 7-year-old Oliver, she’s currently focusing on settling her family into their new lives, while also pursuing her passion for painting. To see Nikki’s work please go to: www.nikkinewmanart.com

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