Saadia's Side: Seeking Bliss in Solitude Can Slim Down the Expat Woes
Think Pieces

Saadia's Side: Seeking Bliss in Solitude Can Slim Down the Expat Woes

Solitude and missing the company of your loved ones is a part and parcel of the expat life.

I thought I would quickly write this piece for you all because I did not want to lose the moment I am in. It is 14 past 8 pm here in Perth, Western Australia with pin drop silence in my apartment. I can hear a car going down the road to St. Mary’s Church but it is still possible for me to hear the imaginary pin which I virtually intend to drop on the wooden floor. This silence might come as a surprise for you at this hour when you live near the busy city centre. But those who live in Perth can hear me.

You love every place when you are on a holiday

I moved here seven months ago. Although I have visited Perth almost three years ago as well, it was just a visit when everything seemed butterflies and unicorns. I had come from Dubai where I did not get to experience Nature as I would have liked to. And here I was in an Australian city with a river flowing down right next to my hotel and the trees that would not let the pedestrians walk in the bare sun, shadowing them for years. While it was scorching hot in Dubai, Perth had wet roads and chilled winds blowing throughout the day. Just one week down the lane I had to go back to Dubai. All fun and games!

Perth is a somewhat calm and serene city in Western Australia

The actual shift happened seven months ago when I moved to Perth on a temporary basis without realizing that one day I would find the silence that I had been seeking in my life for all those years. Since it is not a huge metropolitan city hustling and bustling with lots of humans on the roads and in the trains, Perth is quieter than most parts of the world I have lived in. Having been raised in small towns of Pakistan and moving to big cities only after high school, I think I have a thing for the places and cities where you start recognising most of the people, you see on the streets. There is something about the quiet places where you can meet and be with yourself.

I do miss the company of my loved ones at times but I am at peace with myself too

It is not that I do not miss my loved ones but when I am in the company of lots of people I cannot hear myself. I like to pat my inner self every now and then because it does deserve that love and attention from me.

Although my folks in Pakistan often think that it must be difficult living in a quiet and lonely place far from ‘home’, I personally feel that I have never been more at peace. I was visiting my hometown Lahore a few weeks ago and to be honest (minus meeting the family and friends) there is not much I have to cherish my trip for.

Eating alone comes with its own set of positives

Although I am not too fond of the food in Australia, the pleasure that I derive from eating alone is priceless. You can simply go to the place you like without having to think twice about what to order. It might not come as a pleasurable experience for many people but probably for a loner like me eating alone is a form of meditation when I can focus only on the food and not think about talking to the person sitting next to me.

It is not that I would not want to break bread with a loved one but eating alone makes me happier.

There is an array of questions that hovers above my head

How can we ever become happy in the company of others if we do not enjoy our own company? How else do we humans get the opportunity to discover the wonders within our self without the solace which is required to listen to the inner voice? How can anyone love us if we do not love and cherish ourselves for what we are? How can we find love outside if there is no love within? How can we seek the light in a lamp post at night if we never look the lamp within ourselves which requires the fuel of love?

I know these are too many questions to ask. I also have an idea that this piece of mine might sound like an eccentric monologue to you and you might not even want to finish reading it. I am aware.

Solitude is a by-product of the expat life

Solitude is a package that comes the expat life comes with. When we choose to leave our home countries in the hope of a more secure future, it comes with a package and that package is loneliness. We do not only leave a physical piece of land but also the non-tangible possessions like love, culture, and sometimes even the person that we are. Missing what you have left behind is natural but then expat life also gives you the opportunity of discovering yourself more and becoming a better version of yourself. This is never happening if you do not find peace in your own company every now and then. Expat life comes with its lows.

Seeking pleasure in your own company can resolve some of those. Tried and tested!

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By Saadia Ahmed
Saadia Ahmed is a Bollywood and cheesecake fanatic with no obvious interest in space travel. She tweets @khwamkhwah day in and out