Ola. Como estás? Estou bem, obrigado.
Planning to move to Portugal isn’t a race. Not for me at least. However, there are times when I just want to do it tomorrow. Accelerate the process and speed up time.
Accelerate is a word I use frequently at work. It’s a mantra of the organisation I work for. For some people, especially those living with a chronic illness, tomorrow is too late.
Looking back, most of my working life has been working to deadlines. In retail, the focus was on new product launches or key sales dates. It’s the need to turn sales and sell stock. Yes, some products can sit on a shelf for a year. But that’s actually a waste of shelf space. It’s about pace. It’s about results. It’s about doing the best I can.
So at work, I get frustrated with the pace. It’s just not fast enough. I wear my frustrations on my sleeve. I express them. Not always in the most appropriate way. But I’m not going to apologise. It’s all or nothing. There are no half measures.
That stance isn’t always the best approach either. There needs to be a bit of grey between the black and white. Not much grey. But a little.
Often I question whether my approach is right or wrong. Ok. I hear you. There is no right or wrong. But I am biased to seeing things through my lens and through my thoughts. Maybe I should compromise more. Maybe I should be more accepting.
Maybe? Não. It’s not being honest with myself. And I deserve to be me. And if people don’t like it. Tough.
Over the last week, its become more evident to me that I do have two personas. My work and non-work persona.
As I’ve expressed above, my work persona means I am driven by results. Hard work. Getting things done. Exceeding expectations. Doing more. Proving myself. An over-functioner.
However, my non-work persona is much more measured. Less pressured. More calm, balanced and content. I have patience and definitely don’t get as frustrated as I do at work.
As I reflect on these two personas, I begin to justify the difference. But I pause. Then I stop. I think it’s quite simple. Contentment and honesty.
Outside work, I am content.
It’s taken a long time to get to this point. Years in fact. Lots of hiccups. I’ve found excuses. I’ve had my share of problems to overcome. I’ve learnt a lot of good and bad. I’ve upset people. At times I’ve been in dark places. I’ve taken punches, rarely with retaliation. I’ve been walked over. I’ve given everything and not wanted much in return.
But though all this, I’m content. And I am being more honest with myself. I believe this is because I now have greater focus. A purpose for me personally rather than just for others. Perhaps I’m being a little more selfish. Whatever it is, I’m content. And that’s a good place to be in.
As I move towards my new adventure in Portugal, the divide between my two personas grows by the day. Every tick on a Portugal to-do list is a step forward. An action closer towards an end goal. I have clarity and that brings contentment.
However, I do find it difficult at work though because my job is all about other people. People who, despite the small role I play, will still die from a chronic illness. I can’t change that. I try to influence as much as I can, but that’s limited.
I am honest with my frustrations at work. Possibly too outspoken. Maybe I don’t always toe the corporate line nor am I diplomatic enough. Some see me as a pain in the neck. I believe I’m a troublemaker so I’m sure others will have a similar opinion of me.
Mentally I’ve drawn the line. I’ve instigated my exit plan. Despite some reservations, I put myself in a vulnerable position. But I needed to be honest with myself. Maybe it wasn’t seamless but in my mind, I need the clarity.
I’ve less than a year left at work. It’s going to be a tough year. And, I believe I’ve set myself up to fail. But if I can drive a handful of things forward, that will be an achievement. I have to keep reminding myself not to beat myself up because I’m only one cog in the machine. Note to self: don’t take responsibility for everything and everyone so give yourself a break.
With clarity of the magic of new beginnings for me coming through small steps, not every step is about a to-do list item being ticked off.
Much of the last week has been about getting more clarity on some of the practical things I need to be doing to maximise my D7 visa application and understanding more about the process.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve applied to open a bank account in Portugal. Followed all the guidance and instructions on the website (through a combination of English and translating Portuguese) only to find out that ‘opening an account from the UK’ isn’t straightforward.
So, the application has been withdrawn and an appointment has been provisionally arranged for when I visit Portugal in September. I’ve begun to prepare for the appointment by beginning to get all the paperwork together that will be needed to open the account.
There are hybrid bank accounts that could be used in Portugal but with my all or nothing mentality, it’s either a Portuguese bank or no bank account. No bank account means no move to Portugal so it’s non-negotiable.
A small setback, but it has been a great learning process. An education which has cost nothing apart from time. Overall, I feel much more qualified in Portuguese banks and, once again, have clarity on the next step.
The “learn to speak Portuguese” course I have joined also started properly this week. I’m pleased I had done some ‘homework’ before. Not sure it helped me much, but every step is a step forward.
I’m energised to learn Portuguese, but it is going to take time. And a lot of work. But I’m ready for it. I took a couple of online courses in other areas of interest earlier this year and that helped me get a little disciplined in setting aside time to learn.
I’m trying to ensure I learn Portuguese as I go about my daily activities. Portuguese podcasts have become common in the car and there is an increasing number of sticky notes around the house.
Small and consistent steps. I can only do my best.
On that note, it’s probably time to go and practice counting from um to vinte.
Footprints picture by kind permission of Khadeeja Yasser
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