Time and choice are set up to hold no value for us. Before we know it, our life is running ahead of us.

Time – Just a few months ago it was Christmas and now looks at how half of the year has already gone by. Do you feel time is flying? Have you ever thought about what all the fuss is about your life, and how you have no control over it? Why are you complicating it more than you have to?

Choice – You are where you are today and tomorrow you may wake up somewhere else. With all of the new facilities/technologies such as transportation, satellite and other means, movement has become so easy to accomplish.

On a human level, we still sometimes get stuck, at least in our own mind, and believe that we are not happy or quite satisfied where we are, the way we are, and where we belong. Time and choice have helped people to relocate throughout their life and immigrate into different countries.

In almost every country we find people immigrate hoping to integrate into a new environment and each one making such a move for their own reasons. We always look for a better life and many times it is not for us but more for our children. How many in every country call them selves Canadian Greek, American Italian or British Indian origin. Many of us do, the feeling will always stay with the first generation of these newly immigrated people and on numerous occasions to the second generation. For example, I am Canadian Lebanese. I left Lebanon at the beginning of the war as my parents sent me to the US for my education, but in reality it was more to get me out of Lebanon during the start of the war. The war lasted 20 years and since then I’ve never been there for more than a month at a time. I was not able to stay longer than that because I felt that I had outgrown being there. It is kind of like I had never left. It’s the same old talk, circumstance or routine occurring all over again. I am not saying that I consider myself better than the people there. On the contrary, just my understanding of life had changed and had forced me to change and start building a new life. I remember my father’s last words to me at the airport when I left for the US in 1981. He told me, and it still remains on my mind, “You know Joseph, we are here and you know we are all fine, but I want you to not feel guilty. Wherever you are happy, and then stay. Anytime you want to come back we are always here. Your place is always here”. I do believe that these were words of wisdom and not meant in a selfish way. But that was not my problem. My dilemma was just starting once I got to the States. It was not as easy as one might think when I got to this new country and only spoke two languages, and neither of them was English. I did bypass that and decided to educate myself and learn English. My inner difficulty was a culture shock and realized that what was happening to me also occurred to many of the first generation immigrants which end up living in two places. What do I mean by my shock? Well, it stayed with me for seven years until I learned, I guess, the hard way. In life when we make a choice in life we need to adapt and adjust to that choice. Otherwise, we are not living in reality. I made my choice to go and study abroad and somehow deep inside of me, I was walking for the first time into that plane. An inner voice told me that I was not coming back and that my time for living in Lebanon was finished. That was the feeling I felt at that moment. With all of that in mind, I still fell into my own trap by living in two places at the same time.

I was living in the US at that time, but mentally I was still living in Lebanon. I was torn between two places at the same time. Anything we are doing in our life will never bring us any value until, and unless, we are focused on where we are, and on the way we see ourselves.

I was happy being in the states at that time, but a single thought of Lebanon or any memory of it, destroyed all that I had accomplished in a month of work, or even a year. I was always dragging myself around and did not know what I wanted and where I was going in my life. After being in the US for seven years, while studying, I decided to go back for my first trip home. I went for one month. What a tough month that was that I spent there. I realized one thing, that I missed my freedom. It was nice seeing my family, I had a very good time and they did everything possible to make my visit as pleasant as possible. I was living that month in Lebanon, but my mind was in the US. What a vicious circle I was living? Then I thought how complicated we are as humans, and how we complicate our lives and for what?

The moment I got back to the US to finish my last year of study I took a decision to invest in myself for a change and stop worrying about everyone else. I followed a few steps in order to keep my sanity. As I have always been a logical person, I decided to try something new.

First of all, I stopped listening to people’s advice when it came to my life. I don’t believe that they know me better than I know myself, and certainly do not know what is best for me.

Secondly, I decided that regardless of where I would be living, I would invest 100% in the place that I was and to also enjoy my life there. Usually people from different nations integrating into other nations would hang around together to keep their connection to the community and to their homeland. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you integrate within the society you are in, and stop trying to do things in the same old way you were accustomed to doing when you were in your own country. It just does not work.

Thirdly, to enjoy yourself better you need to incorporate yourself into your new environment. People think if you integrate into a new society that you are somehow revolting against your being, your culture, your religion and your own people. We humans are funny. We seem to need some sort of association or social connection to make our life better. It is not always true. Associating in terms of networking is not the same as gathering with others just to make your self feel better and more secure about yourself. At the end of the day you may go home and still feel lonelier than you ever have because you are associating for the wrong reasons. Think about it! I have been there. I have done that. And it does not work.

It’s a culture shock for many people and sometimes we do not see it or realize it at the moment we are living it. It does not mean it is not there. I realize through observation, from associating with other people and seeing this phenomena of second-generation families growing up with parents who are still living between two places. In one way we should be sympathetic to the parents and not expect them to erase all of their past and start to integrate into a new environment. This is not possible in some cases. If you are of such an age, maybe you should start to bring some changes into your life. It might do you some good, and sometimes that’s just what you needed in the first place.

Where do we draw the line? Many nationalities have family values on top of everything and children should listen to their parents and do what they are supposed to do, as good boys or good girls. If you are under 18, then do not oppose your parents under their own roof. If you are older moving out is not a sin either. You still need to respect your parents for what they are and not what you want them to be. You both have different views on life. Maybe taking another alternative is the other avenue that you should take in life if this is your case. Instead of trying to change your parents why don’t you change your attitude about them? They are who they are and they will always do what is right for you. All nationalities that emphasize family values will understand what I am taking about here.

First generation parents should not expect their kids to follow the way it used to be when they were in their own countries. You have to remember that your children are going to school in a new country, new environment from what was in their time and usually they adjust and adapt faster than grown ups. We need to adjust in life in order to be happy. There must be a middle ground somewhere and it should be accepted by both sides. In the end, what is the point of making your life miserable? Adjustment to a new environment does not mean you lose your identity or your values as a person. Once we make a choice or a decision in life to take a new direction, then new doors will open up for you, in order for you to take and live the new experiences in your present moment with your new circumstances. Life is short, so enjoy it in the present moment and not by the way it was back in your country. Otherwise, going back is your only alternative and I am sure you won’t be happy there either.

Children from a foreign background, living in places other than their home countries, are adapting easier to their new society much easier than their parents. When a child goes through the school system of a country, there is a normal mechanism to adjust and adapt to a new environment. It does not mean it is always easy. The older you get when you enter a new country the harder it becomes to adapt. But it is not always true at all times; it all depends on the individual.

With the choices we make in life, we sacrifice one thing in order to bring other things to the surface. We move forward in life and never backwards unless that’s what you want. The choice is yours but for first generation immigrant stop complaining about your new environment. It was your choice to change and take a better alternative for you and your children. You immigrate for a better future for you and your children. Allow your children to experiment with different experiences in their life. They have enough on their plate to handle in a new environment, and need to not have to deal with more complications being inflicted by their parents. Otherwise this contradicts the reason why you immigrated to a new country to begin with. Believe me going back to your home country won’t be the same because you may have also outgrown it yourself. If the problems you are having present hard times, in either place, then the problem is occurring for a reason. It may be meant for you to deal with something that you have been neglecting for a long time and it is time to start dealing with it soon, before any damage is done to you or your kids. Regardless of which family we are born into we still have our karmic experiences, which are separate from our parents. We might not like it but it is a fact of life.

As everything in our life works similarly to this, if you want to move forward in life you cannot drag around your past with you. There might be no place for it where you are going.

Just be happy! You are worth it today!

The Free Spirit Centre

Author's Bio: 

At the age of eight Joseph discovered his clairvoyance. Joseph is natural medium presently teaching meditation, numerology and healing.

Joseph started the ‘Free Spirit Centre’ website at http://www.freespiritcentre.info. A community web based centre dedicated to personal growth, soul growth, eating disorders, relationships, healing and human issues.