5 Lessons Moving to UK Taught Me About Life
We have been back to Singapore from the UK for almost 4 years, and yet my husband and I still struggle with the busy lifestyle we currently have back home. Years seem to pass faster, and the days have become shorter. I asked myself at times, why on earth are we trying to go so fast?
Somehow people seems like have an addiction with speed and being busy. We often say and hear "I am so busy", “I wish I could start doing that, but I am too busy.” Even the kids are overscheduled with activities and classes.
When We Arrived in the UK
When we first moved to live in one of the more laid back rural parts of the UK, we were initially annoyed by the slowness in the pace of life compared to Singapore.
We whined about how infrequent the bus and train schedules were. We were shocked that it took 7 days to open a bank account whereas it took us 5 mins back home.
Interestingly, we gradually began to enjoy our slower pace of life. It seems like having a perpetual holiday. We visited farms and castles. We baked garlic bread for breakfast and savor it without rush.
We enjoyed our conversation while waiting for the infrequent bus. We enjoyed conversing with strangers.
#1 Slower Technology
Since internet availability was very limited (we didn’t subscribe to wifi), we found no necessity to use the phone or laptop excessively.
Instead, we use the time to converse more, in fact, we realized that all the conversations we had were more than the conversation we had all these years of our marriage.
We cut down the unnecessary massively. We didn't have a TV, video player or computer games. Although the movie was a rare treat, we enjoyed a couple of theater works in the University occasionally.
Our days became cluttered free. A day is paced - morning, noon and evening. Technology became an enabler and not a driver.
#2 We Live Minimalist
I use the same bag for 2 years. I only have 6 sweaters and 2 jeans in the wardrobe with 1 trainers at the door.
Oddly, we didn't feel poor at all. In fact, we were much happier!
And the memory on those slower days in our cozy tiny apartment often reminds us of the pure joy that we experienced.
We hardly do shopping except for our daily grocery and necessities. Without clutter, our tiny apartment looked spacious. We didn’t need to spend our time to clean up the mess and toys.
Life had a lot more space for quiet reading, bread baking or simply a conversation with each other.
#3 We Developed Our Relationship
We often took long walk along the canal and fed the ducks. We spent time playing in the snow in winter or blowing the dandelion in summer.
We got to connect with our neighbors at the personal level. Some days it is simply scone with tea for an afternoon chat, another it could be just a special occasion with the home-cooked potluck.
# 4 We Celebrated Success
We celebrate every small win in our life. Life didn’t feel like a burden and work didn’t feel like a treadmill.
In fact, our definition of success was so different. It wasn't measured with how much we achieved but by how we spent our time.
#5 We Are Worth More Than What We Do
We all have the desire to hang around and do nothing. In fact, most of our complicated life comes from this desire.
We work hard to earn more money so that we can live comfortably, spent on holiday or buy anything that makes our life easier.
In many cases, we have lost sight of the good intention. The aspiration for simplicity has often turned into a process of growing complexity.
We suffer from the complexity of life and unspoken demand for "more, more and more" in our environment.
We live in an era that believes "We are what we achieve". And when we define our self by only what we do, we lost our identity. We deny our self and others the joy of knowing our personality.
We lost ourself when we lost our job. We forgot who we really are apart from what we do.
We worth much more than our activities. The simple life we had in the UK has taught us that we don’t need much to be happy. That living a simplified life is a fulfilled life.