Sam Mednick is a professional Life and Executive Coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals, focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development.
THIS MONTH: OVERCOMING LIVING IN LIMBO
My parents recently called from England asking me to clear out my stuff from their house as they’re downsizing and it’s forced me to really think about where ‘home’ is. It’s been more than five years since I moved here from Brighton, yet I still feel like I’m living one foot in, one foot out. I can’t seem to fully commit to Barcelona. How can I make this city feel more like home?
I had a guest on my radio show a few months back who said that it took her 22 years to feel like she was living here with ‘two feet in’. This is a tough cookie to crack and, for some people, where ‘home’ is never entirely changes.
Barcelona by nature is a ‘non-committal’ city. People show up, much of the time escaping the past, trying to reinvent their futures or simply wanting to go with the flow. What ends up happening is a perma-state of limbo. Before figuring out how to devote yourself to this city, I think the real question for you to answer is: Is Barcelona where you really want to be? It’s hard to fully commit yourself to a place if you’re not sure it’s right for you.
The second question to consider is: What does fully committing look like to you? For some it’s shutting the door entirely on where they’re from, marrying a Catalan and buying property. For others it’s not so black and white. Not only has globalisation made travelling, living and working all over the world that much easier, it’s also forced us to re-evaluate how we live in a city. For some people, even though they call Barcelona home, they only live here part of the year and elsewhere for the rest of the time working remotely, yet they still feel like they’re fully invested.
ACTIONABLE TIPS FOR MAKING IT WORK IN BARCELONA
What it comes down to is the decision to call Barcelona home. No matter how you decide to live in it, you have to remind yourself of what brought you here in the first place and question if those reasons still ring true.
Once you’re certain that this is the place you want to be, then here are a few practical tips to help change your mindset:
Start calling Barcelona home: When I moved here eight years ago, I purposely made a point of referring to this city as my home. What happened is that I had a shift in mentality and from the very beginning I truly believed I lived here.
Deal with your ‘stuff ’: Most of us didn’t bring everything we own plus the kitchen sink over when we landed. Going through your belongings in your country of origin, deciding what to take with you, what to throw out and what to store can be incredibly cathartic and also help to organise your life and the direction you want to take.
Make it homey: Whether it’s stocking up on a supply of English Cheddar Cheese, Vimto, Vegemite or raiding the American Store, you can still enjoy some home comforts and infuse a slice of your ‘past life’ into your daily routine here.
To share your thoughts on this column or ask Sam a question email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Metropolitan at email@example.com