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Answering the 'Who am I?' Question Right After You Move To The New Country

Who am I?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Amidst the daily tasks and meetings with friends, it's easy to let this profound question slip into the background. It often sneaks into your consciousness during quiet moments—while gazing out of a bus window at a new city or when you wake up early on a Sunday morning, uncertain of how to fill the day.

This existential question is just one of the many that may arise when you embark on the journey of immigration, and it's perfectly natural.

Moving to a new place means losing your social network, favorite spots, and routine—those very elements that shape your identity and give meaning to your daily life. Without the comforting presence of these anchors, you may find yourself feeling lost, with the only question on your mind being "Who am I now?"

That happened to me when I moved to Gdansk for a new job. I thought it would be nice to take a break from everything that kept me busy in the previous city and focus on my career. However, it was 2021, and the whole country went on lockdown. My people were far away. For the first time in years, I had no plans in the evening and for the weekend. I felt empty.

Yet, isn't it somewhat superficial to believe that our identities are solely shaped by the places we visit and the people we meet?

Could it be that our true selves are defined not by the surroundings but by the choices we make and the values we hold dear? Perhaps you now speak a different language than you did in your home country, but it doesn't mean your fundamental beliefs have shifted. Or maybe you've discovered a new coffee shop, yet your coffee preferences remain unchanged.

While it's true that you may pick up a few new things in the new country, you don't have to build yourself from scratch.

You are complete, just as you are.

If this question keeps popping up in your head, don’t think of it as a challenge to your identity. When you move to a new place, use this very question as your motivation to reconnect with yourself.

We often go about our days on autopilot, and that's okay – it helps our brains handle things more easily. Imagine if we completely changed our routines every two weeks; that would just stress us out.

But when you find yourself in a new place, that's the golden opportunity to switch up the default settings you've been stuck on for a while. Especially now, when you might not know many people in the city yet.

Take this time to reflect on your life. It's not about answering those deep "Who am I?" questions but more about figuring out what you want to bring with you into this new country and what's better left behind—like that pair of jeans that hasn't fit you since 2006.

Remember, your new living space doesn't decide who you are, but it can help shape the person you want to be. Sure, it's totally normal to miss your old places, but let's focus on the opportunities that come with this big change.