Tackling a tricky subject, freelance writer and Qatar resident Kirsty Rice recently came up with some tips to help her peers find the ever-elusive expat happiness.
In her latest post on 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle, Rice highlights some of the most common traps that expats in Qatar and elsewhere fall into, which prevent them from turning their frowns upside down. They include:
Just because “Jane” holds a child’s birthday party at the beach with bouncy castle, doesn’t mean her life is better than yours. Rice writes:
“You’re probably a lot better off than many of those around you. A wise friend of mine recently told me ‘the only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure they have enough.’
Using the wrong yardstick
“A lot of people think happiness means being richer and more important,” Rice states.
But having a driver, a housekeeper and other people to help you through your day doesn’t really make you special.
If expat living has instilled in you misplaced feelings of self-importance, then fight that sentiment by doing something for others. “Get richer in experience and realize just how tiny you are in this enormous world,” Rice urges.
Expats may like to plan, but happiness shouldn’t be some far-off goal that you allow yourself once you save up enough money, or your child is old enough to walk, or go to school. “Happiness is right here amongst the chaos,” Rice writes. Seize it while you can.
Keeping the wrong company
Negative people who constantly complain about Qatar and the lifestyle here have a tendency to contagious with their pessimism.
“We’re all allowed to have a whine, but don’t get caught up in it,” Rice advises.
Taking nostalgia too far
When you miss “home,” are you really remembering it the way it used to be? Or have you forgotten the cold winters, home break-ins and penny pinching you had to do there?
“The expat grass is proverbially greener,” Rice agrees, but adds, “Enjoy each location for what it is now – your adventure, your choice.”
What advice would you add? Thoughts?