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Expat Living: Two Things 2020 Taught Me

Building my resilience for 2021 and beyond

World Map with Route Lines

It is now February 2021 and we have experienced one month of this new year. Thankfully, we closed out 2020, and given all that occurred during that year, I thought it worthwhile to share my lived experience and reflections.

In December 2019, specifically New Year’s Eve, I committed to what my new year and a new decade would have resembled. I spoke to God and the Universe proclaiming that 2020 was going to be my year. I was going to continue growing my business, find a new job, and I was going to enjoy life. I did them all and I learned two main things during 2020.

While the global pandemic was happening, I was taking charge of my world to change my world! In January 2020, I moved to Bangladesh and at the end of October 2020, I moved again to Niger, West Africa. As a global pandemic raged, I became resilient, steadfast, and learned how to first take care of myself.

In the past 12 months, the two things I learned do not require years of experience, research, or even a degree. However, they are vital reminders of things we should be doing for ourselves all of the time.

I reaffirmed my self-worth

Quote about "being capable"
Alysha Rosly/Unsplash

Understanding who I was and what my talents were were essential. Not allowing anyone to mistreat me at work was also essential. I learned that I did not have to accept bullying, harassment, or sabotage techniques from my colleagues. I am smart, and I am worth much more than these tactics. I also knew and reassured myself that my skill sets were valued by this organization and would be valued by some other organization in the future. In other words, this was not my only option, and even though it was a time of global crisis, I would be able to take my skill sets and expertise somewhere else. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to walk away.

Learning and understanding your worth will help you decide when it’s time to move on from a position. Understanding your value, skill sets, and the productivity level that you can provide for an organization is vital in understanding your worth to any organization. Once you have spent the time getting to know these things about yourself, you can make the best decisions for your present and future career moves.

I prioritized self-care

Self-care is not always about fancy things like a spa or getting your nails done. Self-care, sometimes, is just about your mental and physical well-being. We’ve all learned to pay more attention to our well-being (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and more) during this pandemic. For me, this honed through while I was in Bangladesh. Due to circumstances out of my control, my mental well-being started to deteriorate, and I needed to rebalance. Rebalancing meant making hard decisions. That critical decision I had to make was to leave my job. Sadly, my job was the source of my well-being, and it was compromised.