Following BBC Radio 4’s ‘Midlife Relaunch’ programme earlier this month, today’s Woman’s Hour explored relaunching abroad – and the striking aspect of both broadcasts was that despite the hardships the programmes highlighted, none of the featured case studies regretted their decisions to start their lives all over again.
The nature of popular media nowadays is to focus on the sensationalist aspects of any story, therefore it made good radio to mention that some of the ‘relaunchers’ had faced tough times when starting their new lives – whether they were relocating to the Highlands of Scotland, or more further afield like the couple who began new careers in Cyprus for example. However, when faced with the question about whether they wished they’d never embarked upon the relaunch, none of those interviewed would have their new lives any other way.
Therefore, no matter what age you’re at and no matter what stage you’re at in life, it just goes to prove that it is a) never too late to change your life or your career and b) that you can move abroad, start again and have the life you’ve always wanted. In this report we’re going to explain the planning and thinking that needs to go into a successful relaunch, and we’re going to examine why, despite the fact that a relaunch in a major challenge, it will be one you are highly unlikely to regret.
Defining a Midlife Relaunch
If you’ve completed your education, settled down and perhaps married and/or had a family, you’ve got a job/embarked upon a career and perhaps even bought a house and then woken up one day and decided that actually, you’d like to change certain key aspects of your life, you are considering a relaunch!
Midlife relaunchers are those who, as described above, have grown up and established their lives but who feel strongly that their quality of life could be significantly different and better.
Most relaunchers change their job/career in order to change their lives. However, an increasingly large number, (according to our own survey of those who contact us who want to move abroad), are planning on changing their job/career and their country of residence in order to achieve a far better quality of life.
Are You Ready to Relaunch?
As we descend rapidly into the depths of winter in the UK, and as the days get shorter and the nights get colder, many of us will dream of the summer holiday we enjoyed abroad earlier in the year, of the long, lazy days enjoyed in the sunshine and of the laid back atmosphere of our chosen vacation destination.
For some, these dreams turn into a longing to enjoy such relaxation and enjoyment on a daily basis – and this is sufficient fuel to create a fire of desire to move abroad and start again in a place where at least the weather is better!
For others, winter in the UK signifies year-end and marks the fact that aspirations held have once again yet to be fulfilled, and so January can be a very powerful time for many people to begin reconsidering their life’s path.
If you have itchy feet, you want to change your job, you believe you’re in the wrong profession, you want to change the course of your life and live in a nation where the weather is better, the economy is not so damaged, where there is hope and where the people are happy for example – then you’re probably ready to think about relaunching!
How to Plan a Successful Relaunch
A midlife relaunch is not the same as a midlife crisis. A midlife crisis results in all sorts of knee jerk reactions in an individual - from buying a motorbike to getting a divorce for example. A midlife relaunch on the other hand is all about planning and preparing for a better life – and it usually (and advisably) involves both parties in a marriage, and any children too!
If you and your spouse feel that you could be enjoying a better life abroad, you’re probably right and you could indeed be enjoying a better life abroad!
However, you need to get the practical aspects of your relocation and relaunch right in order to truly reap the benefits available.
Starting again from scratch is a tough challenge and it means you have to give up a lot of comfort and familiarity. However, didn’t someone once say something along the lines of ‘the true nature of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time?’ Well, when it comes to relaunching successfully, it’s a fact that if you want to change your life, you do actually need to change your life!!
You need to be prepared to give up what’s familiar to you in order to change your life. You will be giving up your community and your home, your network of friends and family, you will be quitting your job, potentially even turning your back on your career. Perhaps you will be giving up financial stability for a while until you get established too…
These aspects of your relaunch need to be accepted and understood before you make your move. You need to be at least practically prepared for the changes you’re about to go through.
Next, you need to know what it is you’re seeking and where you’re likely to find fulfilment. If you have an idea of what you want to do and/or where you want to live, so much the better. If you don’t, you need to begin by thinking about where you would like to live in order that you can enjoy the quality of life you want. Then you need to think about how you will maintain and support yourself and your family when you move to that location.
Others will tell you that I have got that the wrong way round – that first you must think about what you want to do to bring in money, and then you must find somewhere where your idea is sustainable and realistic. However, then you are not relaunching, you’re compromising.
The whole point of the relaunch is that you don’t make the same choices all over again and expect the outcome of your life to be different!
You want to relaunch abroad – therefore find the place that will offer you the life you want, and then find the ‘thing’ that you will have to do for a living to give you the lifestyle you aspire to. Ideally you will be able to marry your country choice, your lifestyle ambitions and your ideas about what you can do for work to pay your way.
Realistic Considerations for a Midlife Relaunch Abroad
It is not easy to start again for many reasons. Firstly you have to give up on all of your comfort zones – from the financial stability you currently have, to the home you have already made. Secondly, you have to find a real way to make a living in your chosen nation abroad…and this is where relaunchers can come unstuck.
Your dream may be to live in a given location overseas – and that may be driving your decision to change your life. Yes, you may well enjoy life more in a place where the sun shines a lot and where the emphasis locally is on enjoying family life and just working enough to live. However…you HAVE to find a sustainable and realistic way to make money.
A great deal of thought, research, effort and ongoing persistence will have to be dedicated to whichever idea you come up with for making a living…and you HAVE TO HAVE a back up plan. If you plan on moving to Peru and making baskets for a living and selling them to the local farmers to put their produce in when they go to market, you may discover that actually, there is no demand for your baskets! Therefore, if living in Peru is necessary for you to have the life you always dreamed of, what else can you do to bring in the money each month?
Can you teach, can you work as a labourer, can your spouse work and you stay home, can you export your baskets, can you diversify and weave more desired and required goods…
This example is pretty poor – but it is just here to show you that you can have a very firm idea of what you want to do, but that it pays (sometimes literally) to have thought through what else you can do if life doesn’t work out quite how you have planned it.
The Secret – Why You Won’t Regret Your Relaunch
Those who choose to start a new life abroad are driven by one fundamental and universal desire…they want to change their lives…and by moving abroad you do literally change your life!
Even if you end up doing the same job, you will be in a new location, you will have new friends, the weather will be different, your physical home environment will be different and you will see that you really do have the power to change and significantly alter the path and pattern of your life. You will no longer feel hemmed in and restricted by the job you do, the town you live in, the taxes the government demands of you.
Those who realise this truth are never the same again! They discover that they have real power over their lives and their destinies and as a result, those who expatriate, relaunch and move to live and work abroad seldom ever regret their decisions - even when they face challenges and tough times. This is because they have made the changes they wanted, and they are no longer restricted in life because they know that wishes can become dreams, and dreams can be fulfilled through personal choice and practical action.
Relaunch Rather Than Regret
Life deals us all a short straw every now and again, but if we focus on the bad times we have faced and the obstacles and burdens we have been left with we will only regret every aspect of our lives.
Looking back and regretting harbours bitterness and prevents opportunities from being recognised. So stop regretting your life, relaunch it! Start again, start afresh and build the life you now want.
When we’re young we often fall into a job or follow the path of a career – then, by the time we’re old enough to know that the path we’re on is not the path we want to follow, many people feel it’s too late to change direction. That is utter rubbish! As stated in the title of this report, it is NEVER too late to start afresh. If you want to change your life, make the changes happen…stop holding yourself back.