The moment I go pass the passport control at Schiphol Airport I leave my Dutch life behind me. And all that is me will be gone. There are days that I really need to catch my breath on that part.
The reality of what I’m about to do is sinking in as time passes by and sometimes I wonder if I really gave it enough thought as it is. other days I tell myself not to think so much and let go of my worries.
I leave behind everything that is familiar to me to start a new live at the age of 54. I leave behind a family that scarcely talks to me, I leave behind a daughter, I leave behind close friends that shared so many important moments of my life.
I leave behind the towns and cities that I know. The streets that are familiar to me and the culture which I understand. The language I know, the traffic rules, the prices in the shops, the metric system, the financial system and the system in general. I give up Dutch Healthcare, social security benefits, pension funds. All that is well-known to me will be gone. All that is me will be gone, once I walk toward the gate and unto the plane. With every step I take, my life here will be over.
And some days those thoughts are more disturbing than other days.
Questions like: What if I can’t make a living for myself out there? And: What if I get very sick? or: What if I get dementia? How will my life be once I’m getting over 60-70-80? Or simple questions like: will I have a pet? Or a garden? What will my view from my new home be like? Will it be sea view? Or lots of green like I have now?
For the first part of my trip my son is taking care of me financially. We will be traveling together and he is my sponsor. That is a reassuring thought and I realize I’m very privileged with this opportunity. He offers me a unique change. And who am I to doubt myself and my decisions, right?
Although the financial part is taken care of, still it is a scary thought. Because all that I have ever known, every bit of professional knowledge from past jobs will be more or less useless. I do not think that I will ever use my knowledge of social welfare and participation for citizens again. Or my knowledge of revitalizing neighbourhoods. Because they are all inherent to the Dutch problems, culture and rules. I was active in Dutch politics for a long time: no use of that knowledge anymore. Taking minutes of meetings?
My general knowledge,common sense and life experience will be of use overseas, but I hope you understand what I’m saying here. I wonder how much of my knowledge and which parts do come of use once living in Asia.
All of the ‘me’ I am right now will be gone, all of the Dutch me will be gone. And I need to invent a brand new me. And that is such an exciting, scary life event, such giant step, such thrilling and fearful idea. It is an elusive chance of a lifetime: to start over again. And today is a day that I really question myself: did I think this through? Do I grasp the total picture? Or should I let go of it and live the moment, waiver on those thoughts a bit and let them pass by, untill that day comes when I pick up my backpack……..?
Maybe then they will end, just like my Dutch me.