Well I'm sitting here, partially in shock, because my UK visa was finally approved. I NOW HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO LIVE AND WORK IN THE UK! This is a major accomplishment, and I accomplished the fuck out of it.
I am kvelling.
(a bit of yiddish I learned from my Jewish friend)
If I could tell you the amount of work and tears and sweat and heartache I put into this process, oh man! There were times I hit such major roadblocks along the way, I was told it might not be possible. In retrospect, this sounds like a normal path of adversity towards a huge goal. When living it, each roadblock feels devastating--you're simply not sure if this is the end of the road, and then what do you do with your life?
Somewhere along the way I made a vow to remain steadfast despite every roadblock, while also reminding myself that if it didn't work out, I would be okay. I soldiered on for a year and a half, waiting it out, always waiting waiting waiting with every delay, every set back. I said this prayer often: "I pray for the highest good of all to happen," while also writing down "Ashley's visa is going to be approved" on a little note I kept in my purse. Going for a big thing you've always wanted requires a mix of taking action, while also letting go at the same time. It's the most intricate dance.
I did it. I put in the work, and now it is done.
Of course, with this kind of big accomplishment, and big move, comes fear from all angles:
- questions from myself: "how long do I intend to stay in the UK? Forever?"
- questions from others: "do you know the UK has changed? it's more divided and dangerous now than it ever was, ARE YOU PREPARED?" (this from a friend who was sweetly trying to warn me)
- questions from parents: "you'll be far away, will it be like this always?"
All I hear in these three questions is FEAR FEAR FEAR. After reading Eckhart Tolle extensively, who is probably my favorite author, I've realized that the ego wants to live in a continual state of fear. It'll give you a second to be happy about your accomplishment (feeding the ego!), but then jump to the next big thing, FEAR (which also feeds the ego!). The ego is a goddamn drama queen.
While I still believe in planning for the future (and being aware of danger and the feelings of others), I refuse to let fear seep in so effectively that it robs me of my major accomplishment. As Eckhart has put it:
"Are you worried? Do you have many 'what if' thoughts? You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear. There is no way that you can cope with such a situation, because it doesn't exist. It's a mental phantom. You can stop this health- and life-corroding insanity simply by acknowledging the present moment...All that you ever have to deal with, cope with, in real life -- as opposed to imaginary mind projections -- is this moment."
In this moment, I'm going to let myself linger in the thought that I DID IT. I WAS SUCCESSFUL. I ACCOMPLISHED A MAJOR THING. And then I am going to go for a hike by the ocean and become immersed in today. Tomorrow, as they say, will work itself out.
One last time, because I am proud of myself: I did it. I'm an official Londoner now.
What is next? Living to the fullest, no matter where I roam.