Last week, I read the following at one of the immigrant groups I follow:
“Dear Members, I’m a new joiner to this group and have made up my mind to migrate to Canada at the age of 38. I need your valuable advice – is this the right age to be a migrant along with a family? Please enlighten me with your valuable advice.”
To the many people out there that are thinking of migrating, but who are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s, I want to say: “If you think you are too old to migrate… you have added another good reason to do it!”
The idea that at 50 you are old is insane; modern medicine and human evolution, in general, has allowed us to expect, if we are 50, to live an average of another 40 years!
Let me share with you two stories in which you might find insights that could make you understand how powerfully helpful immigrating could be for you, especially because you are 50 and not 25.
I am introducing these two guys who have felt called to immigrate but are stuck about making the decision because they feel they are too old for this step.
We have Guido, a 51-year-old Italian tiler with a high school education, who lives in Naples, Italy; and Anik, a 44-year-old IT specialist from Mumbai, India, with a university education.
Guido started laying tiles when he was 20 years old, working in his uncle’s small business until he was 30, and then moved on to work for a big construction company that would guarantee him steady work and a higher salary, where he stayed until he turned 46 years old. For the last 5 years, he has been working on and off, without steady employment, ever since the big construction company he worked for filed for bankruptcy; the overall economic and political situation in Italy has been very critical and unstable for the last two decades.
Guido has a wife that works at a spa salon, an 18-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter, both still in school. They own a little apartment and are 5 years away from paying off the mortgage.
In the past, he has seen many friends leave Naples to immigrate to other European and North American cities: some returned shortly after, some managed to stay in their new countries.
Guido is aware of being extremely good at his trade; he knows this because when he works, he is happy… and because he receives many compliments from colleagues and clients. The problem is that recently the circumstances haven’t allowed him to work as much as he would like so he can give his family a more comfortable life. Even though he has done a few “cash” jobs on his own, Guido doesn’t think he is cut out to be his own boss.
Lately, there is one thing that it is keeping Guido awake at night: he is not happy with his life. He is not a complainer, but he feels he could do better, he feels that he deserves more, he wishes he had believed more in himself when he was younger. Guido resents himself for falling into the comfortable trap of being an employee, a gifted handyman able to lay tiles with precision, speed and creativity, but who didn´t have the courage and motivation to push his own personal growth. Maybe he should have opened his own business…
Anik works for a big corporation as a software engineer. He loves the technical side of his job, but he is tired of the big corporation’s culture, the deadlines, the drama, the alienation caused by archaic, unproductive rules, etc. His job pays well, allowing him to have a good lifestyle in Mumbai: his income is not what concerns him. Anik and his wife have two daughters, 13 and 10 years old. These two young girls are the main reason he is thinking about moving to a new country: he believes that Indian culture will be an obstacle for his girls´ development as human beings. He wants them to grow up independent and strong, and to make the decision on their own, independently, of whether they want to raise a family, have a career or do both. He is aware that moving away from his country will facilitate his transformation into the type of father that he wants to become for them. He knows that staying in India will most likely push him to remain within existing traditions and so unconsciously put an unfair pressure on the girls. He wants to see them happy.
Anik feels the pressure on him to make the decision: he understands that the older the girls get, the harder it will be for them to adapt to a new culture, but unfortunately his age is holding him back!
Let’s get to the point…
Guido and Anik not only come from different countries, and so different cultures; they have different levels of education and social position.
What do they have in common at this point?
- They both feel this desire to immigrate to another country because they hope to improve the quality of their lives, even though they are motivated by different reasons “why”.
- They both fear that they are too old for a step like this.
Let’s help them out…
I would ask them both:
- If you decide to stay in your native country, and so nothing important really changes in your life, would you be any younger after 5 years than if you had decided to immigrate to a new country?
Of course not! The same amount of time will pass by, independent of where you are. I know this seems obvious, but because it is so obvious, it becomes invisible to someone who’s stuck in this state of mind!
- If you decide to stay, would you feel any younger after 5 years than if you had decided to move?
Of course not! If we are blocked in our routine we will most likely feel older. We are amazing creatures with infinite power, but taking comfort in what is familiar is the biggest obstacle to our growth. Instead, breaking out of our comfort zone and facing the unknown is the most powerful facilitator for our personal development, and the best way to feel younger.
Anik, Guido and all our 30, 40, 50 and even 60-year-old friends reading this post, male or female – your “advanced” age in comparison with a 20-year-old immigrant can only be seen as a huge advantage.
Up to this point in your life, you have already learned how to suffer, how to be patient and you know what is important for you and what is meaningless. Basically, you know what to look for in life, you already have many years of experience at being you!
The 20-year-old immigrant has to go through a double battle: he needs to find out who he is while at the same time adapting to a new culture! Yes, it is true that they have been exposed less to the conditioning of their native culture, and so it is easier for them to adapt to the new one. But most of them have no “survival muscles” yet, no “immune system” against failure, so they will most likely fold at the first defeat, and so go back home or stay down forever!
This is what I would write in a letter to Guido:
“Dear Guido, You know how good you are at what you do. Don’t ignore that voice that is telling you to give it a shot and start a new life in a new country… Do you know who that voice is? It is the wise You, the one that doesn’t care about your past, about other people´s opinions, about how short you are or how many times you´ve failed. You rarely listen to that voice because the noise of your conditioned mind in your head is too loud, too persistent, your culture and family have engraved their opinions of who you are supposed to be into your subconscious mind. The wise You wants you to go to a new country, where your conditioned mind will not be supported by reinforcing sources from outside, making the voice of the wise You, your true consciousness, much easier to be heard.
Dear Guido, You will be surprised at how empowered you will feel to start a business! You will share your skills and create abundance for you and your family, and leave a legacy.”
This is what I would write in a letter to Anik:
“Dear Anik, Your wise Youis telling you to immigrate to a new country and the “why” is noble! Please be sure that giving your girls the chance to become integrated in a new culture without forgetting the positive values of their native country will empower them to become as authentic as they could possibly be if they stayed in the culture that has filled their subconscious minds since birth. As a bonus, the way it will affect your attitude toward your career will come as a pleasant surprise to you… Who knows, maybe you will start your own consulting business and finally get away from the corporate world forever!”
To all of us, I would say:
“No matter whether our situation is closer to Anik´s or Guido’s, let’s embrace the fact that our age is an advantage, no matter what the number is. If we are in our 20s, we carry less conditioning, less baggage to be sorting out; and if we are in our 50s, we have more life experience that we can leverage to build a new life in a new country”.
If the inner voice wants you to leave, listen to it… that voice is wise, and in the new country, it will become louder and louder, helping you become the person you were meant to be.