Reflections On A Leap Of Faith
Well, here we are. It’s been two weeks since we took the life changing decision to quit our lives in London and start a new chapter in Copenhagen. I gave myself these two weeks as ‘settling in time’ before starting my new job and, now that that’s come to an end, I thought it would be a good point to take a moment to reflect on how we’re feeling now that the dust is starting to settle and we ease into our new normal.
Though it’s early days, It’s difficult to put into words just how much life has changed since moved here. The gear stick has shifted down a notch. Suddenly we have time for things, for each other and for ourselves.
Gone are the sedentary days of death staring commuters on the tube as you eye up a seat. Now we actually get off our arses and cycle to where we need to be. And not just because it’s quicker and easier than public transport, but because it’s fun. I really can’t overstate how strange it is to describe travelling around as fun after having spent so long in London where I pretty much had to pep talk myself before my morning commute. Now I find myself in the strange position of actually heading out with no real place to go - just cause I want to be out on my bike. And yes, I know I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase - I’m in the part of the relationship where you just want to be with the other person (/place) all the time - but there have been moments over the last two weeks where I’ve honestly felt happier than I have in such a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments where I’ve really questioned why we did this. I miss my family, I miss texting friends after work to meet up for a drink, I miss crap TV, I miss double duvets (Denmark has a thing for having two single duvets for a double bed, what is that?..), I miss Tescos, and knowing where to go for simple things. When we first arrived I had a weird allergic reaction on my hands and all the chemists were shut - when that happened I missed Boots. I miss shops being open late and I miss my dogs. I miss the comfort of my old life, where I just knew how things worked. I literally don’t even know which bin to put my rubbish in at home because they recycle everything here (I’m obviously not against that, it’s just so confusing).
But in spite of all of that, I’ve gained so much by being here. The excitement and adventure of figuring out all the unknowns is all part of the fun. When I needed to fix my hands, I discovered there is such thing as a 24/7 chemist here. That’s right, you can literally rock up at 3am on a Sunday and walk out with anti-histamines if you need to (I didn’t do that, but I came close). I also discovered that post offices are often in supermarkets here, and stay open as long as the supermarket does. So next time I have an urge to send a letter at 9pm at night, I can. Thank. you. Denmark.
Jokes aside, this experience has been rejuvenating. I spent such a long time in London just going through the motions, slowly losing myself to the unfulfilling routine and meaninglessness of it all. Now when I have free time, I spend it doing things I enjoy doing, like reading a book in the park, or visiting a new cafe, or seeing an exhibition at a museum. I don’t just head to the nearest shopping centre and buy stuff I definitely didn’t need for a momentary thrill like I did before.
Maybe it’s Copenhagen that fixed that. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m trying something new. Something scary, that’s pushing me way out of my comfort zone. I’m putting myself out there in a way I haven’t done for a long time. I am signing up for all kinds of random stuff to make new friends here, I’m meeting up with people who contact me after seeing the blog and learning to trust the kindness of strangers (another novelty after life in London), I’m learning a new language.
If I’d have known how this feels right now I would have made a change a long time ago. Quite a few people have contacted me since I started the blog saying that they are thinking of making similar moves but worried that it won’t work out. I’ve learnt pretty quickly over the course of my own experience that there are too many unknowns to make a move like this with total certainty that it will all go to plan. There will be days when you’ll just want to be back home, and others when you’ll wonder why it took you so long to go. As with anything there will be highs and lows, what’s important is that both the positive and negative experiences challenge you to cope with experiences you probably never thought you could. For example, when we first arrived I found the thought of registering with the authorities here (a complicated 3 step process that requires a lot of forms, signatures and passport photos) overwhelming - I never thought we would do it. But after a bit of trial and error we did do it, and we are now officially on the grid. If I ever have to do that again somewhere new I won’t sweat it so much, I’ll know generally what to expect. What felt like a pretty anxious experience at the time is now something I feel like I’ve grown from.
All I can say to anything thinking of making a big change, whatever that might be, is just do it. The timing will never be perfect, it’ll never be risk free. But it’ll be worth it. If whatever you’re doing right now isn’t working for you - like it wasn’t for me - then it can’t not be worth it. In the words of an inspirational meme I just found on the internet - author unknown - “Take a leap of faith and commit to what you really want. Go for it - you got this.” Now I know you shouldn't believe everything you read online, but I reckon you can’t say truer than that.