“You’ll know within 2 – 12 weeks, but it could be longer!” – OK, seems simple enough… wait… 2 to 12 weeks? So, I could find out in a fortnight, or not for 3 months – and anything in-between? Wow, okay.
This is the understanding that I was given when I submitted my visa application. So let’s place this into context;
- I’ve sold pretty much everything I own
- I’ve spent the past 6 months in London getting used to the place
- I’ve left my job of 8 years in pursuit of a new life overseas
- and, now I’m placed into a holding pattern which, to me, seems indefinite
The initial shock and acceptance
When I received the news initially, the wait seemed quite easy. Maybe it’s in the way that it was presented – quite succinctly, or maybe our brains aren’t really able to process the impacts of such a range of time quickly enough to be shocked. Nevertheless, when I returned home and started processing, I had a mini breakdown, but then quickly picked myself up;
- It’s OK, at least I’ll be with my partner
- It’s OK, I can pick up some temp work to keep me occupied
- The time will fly and before I know it, I’ll be back in London
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Okay, I can do this – even if I am a control freak who loves to plan and know what’s going to happen when. I can do this!
Moments of reality
It’s great to be optimistic. Ironically, I’m naturally pessimistic (well maybe realistic), so I force myself to see the opportunity and positivity wherever possible. I worked really hard to convince myself that things will be easy and everything will work out. Of course, everything does work out the way it should, but when you taste that bitter taste of reality for the first time, it hurts.
The good – I was with my partner and I was able to focus on plenty of things I hadn’t had the time to do before. Time also flew and before I knew it, days and weeks were flying by.
The bitter reality – Temp work seemed to be non-existent in Melbourne. Agencies were interested only in candidates that they could place for at least 6 months (ironically, when I was in the market previously, agencies would only be able to place for 3 months!!). So, I found myself without job and with plenty of time on my hands (but of course, limited funds).
Okay, so, no job, time to kill and an indefinite period of waiting didn’t bode well for my ‘control everything’ persona. I am fortunate enough to have reflected many times previously on the ‘big’ moments in my life where I had been thrown into something and seemed to have no control. Amazingly, they were the moments that I grew the most (and I mean in strength and courage – but my waistline has certainly grown since waiting!!).
The secret that I’m finding, is to take the frustration of wanting to control the big things you can’t control and directing them to things that you can control and that will reap positive benefits.
Regaining some control
Options are my friend. If I’m in a situation where I feel like I’m not in control and there only seems to be one option – I’m not looking hard enough. An impossible situation is always possible and there are infinite ways that you can tweak the aspects of a situation that you can control and turn them into something in your favour.
What have I done? I’ve;
- Spoken to the immigration lawyer to determine alternate options – If I wanted to, I could alter our timeline to stay here for longer and apply for a change to our visa entry date for relatively little cost – This let’s me back in control and take some of those 6 month contract opportunities if I wanted to.
- Jumped into building my social media presence and looking at ways to build a business around it (If you’re reading this, thank you! Your support is amazing and keeps me going).
- Started learning again – I’ve discovered some online courses and certifications which will benefit not only my working career but also my life – Learning keeps me busy and I also get my sense of accomplishment.
I believe it’s the options you create and then the choices you make which build you up.
Choosing not to be a victim
Complaining is addictive – Oh, it lets your release your frustration and if people are listening and you get sympathy – oh wow. What a buzz! Better complain more!
Does that sound familiar? Well, I spent a few months in this cycle – with just reason. Things were frustrating and everyone I spoke to couldn’t imagine going through it and provided sympathy at no end – but eventually, I got sick of hearing myself complaining.
Sure, things were bad – but seriously – they’re not that bad. I can still look at the bigger picture and know that I’m working towards something wonderful and life-changing. Better stop complaining and make the most of a bad situation.
I don’t think I’m doing too badly either. I’m accumulating some professional certifications, I’m learning about social media, I’m building this blog and I”m really enjoying the opportunity to take some amazing photos – all while not working!
So for now…
I’ll focus on the things I can control. My outlook, my work, my interests and how I spend my time. Focusing on those around me and hopefully adding some value back. I’ll keep going until the waiting becomes ridiculous, but hopefully the visa comes in before that happens.
Have you been in a situation where it seemed like the waiting would go on forever?
Let me know – I’d love to hear if I’m the only one of if this is a pretty common scenario. Leave a comment in the reply section below.