Get some clarity about your life

I love this quote I read in “10 Ways To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed All The Time“:

“Unless you know what you want to achieve you will always feel as if you are running behind something. Give yourself some goals and only focus on them.” 

I was born in Kuwait and lived there for fifteen years before moving with my parents to my father’s home country, Jordan. For many Americans it is obvious that my home would be Kuwait. But, in fact it is not. Kuwait doesn’t grant its citizenship to the newly born unless the father is a Kuwaiti citizen. And by the age of 18 this non-citizen-Kuwaiti-born must exit the country.  I am an expat since birth! 

I am a Jordanian citizen. So, Jordan is my home. Right? But, I doubt that one should call a place home simply because he or she has its passport. I lived ten of my forty one years on earth in Jordan. I do love Jordan because my parents, sister, brothers and close relatives live here. But, I also have uncles and aunties in Damascus who I love and miss so much.

Those who read my blog know that I write about ‘home’ a lot. It is not as easy for some people to know where home is. Is it necessarily that we find a place to call home? I don’t know.

Yesterday, I read an article on CNN titled “The surprising benefits of doing nothing.” The article led me to a more fascinating video on TED Talk titled “Where is home?” by the same author as well.

The video is a must watch for every expat and people who find difficulties in finding a place to call home. The article is also as essential to one’s growth and finding perspective.

The statement that struck me the most is “Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going.” Yes! This is what I should ask myself. Where I want to go?  “Unless you know what you want to achieve you will always feel as if you are running behind something. Give yourself some goals and only focus on them.”This makes more sense now. 

Another quote from the video that struck a chord is:

“Movement is a fantastic privilege, and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to. And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand.”

Please watch the video:


Choosing where to live

In my second year in the United States, I was involved with four Caucasian students in a class project. We used to meet once a week in the library for our project. When we didn’t talk about our project we—mostly them—would talk about school and sports. They used to joke with me how they are different from the rest of the world with their sports preference. But, one person from our group was adamant to talk about politics whenever possible. It was 2003 and the pre-presidential election talk had already started. The stake was high then, the USA was already in Iraq. The rest of our group was vague about their political views. He, on the other hand, was crystal clear. He said “If Bush wins again, I am moving to Australia.”

I was new to the American culture and didn’t know it was a thing among some Americans to “threaten” to move out of the country. Many Americans promise or, maybe even, threaten to move somewhere else, mainly Canada, when they don’t like their country’s policies. I of course doubt those people ever carried out with their plan. Such attitude is even listed, #75, in once very famous website stuff white people like, now published as a book.

For the non-Americans hearing that an American wants to leave his country to live in another one might be the strangest thing they could hear. For the rest of the world, the USA is the place to be. In reality, the USA is like any other wealthy country it has its pros and cons. I know many American born and foreigners who left the USA for good. Of course, each has his or her reason to choose a different country.

I believe there is no such place on earth as the “ideal city”. Wherever you live you will find things that you will like and hate. There is no such city where you will love everything about it. Finding the ideal city is like finding your ideal spouse; he or she doesn’t exist. Like marriage you learn you need to work hard to make it work even when you both love each other so much.

After living in five different cities (four countries) I think I have an idea of how my “ideal city” should be:

  1. Mostly sunny. I found that I am happier when it is sunny. Also, I don’t function well in below zero temperature.
  2. Close to the coast.
  3. Has a minimum population of 500,000. I lived in small cities and it wasn’t fun.
  4. Should have good book stores, non-smoking cafes and cinemas. Some of you might find this strange but in Irbid (pop. 1 million) where I live now there is not a single decent book store, only one non-smoking café and no cinemas.
  5. Its residents of different backgrounds. The more multi-cultures the merrier.