The Challenges of Living Two Lives

This is the “he” part of this blogging team, resolving to be more diligent about posting in the blog. Today, some thoughts about living two lives.IMG_1107

When I took this 2-year assignment in Japan, I didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was signing up to live two lives.

One life is, of course, made up of the day-to-day tasks of living in a foreign country. Work consumes a lot of the weekdays and offers its own challenges and rewards. Seeing and experiencing the culture is a great experience. And then there are the more routine things…buying groceries…working out at the gym…paying the bills.

For the most part, this life abroad has been good. The people here are remarkably friendly and accepting. The city is safe and clean. And the culture is fascinating. Granted, there are “those days” in this life. Learning the Japanese language, for example, has been a mixture of challenge, frustration, and downright irritation for me. After one particularly difficult Japanese class last week, I felt absolutely disheartened. Fortunately, the feeling passed. For the most part, this life is good.

Then there is the other life. The one back home.

Going into this, it seemed simple enough. Make the proper arrangements, and go away to live for a couple of years. The things back home would be on hold, and would pretty much take care of themselves. Keep in touch with video calls, and the occasional trip back. No fuss, no bother.

Well, not quite.

In a way, it’s great having the reassurance that there is something waiting back in the other life. People we love. Nice house. Nice car. All that we enjoyed before this adventure began.

But there is also the difficulty of having that second life. Loved ones experience major life changes, and we can share them only from thousands of miles away. Damage happens to the house, and to the car that has to be taken care of (fortunately, nothing serious). We feel concern about the direction our native country is going, and what it will be like when we return.

All this to say, having two lives can be complicated. Sometimes, all is good in both lives, and it’s a great day. Other times, there are problems or difficulties in one or both of the lives, and things look gloomy.

Is it worth it, signing on to have an additional life? Yes, I would say so. There are great opportunities in living a new and different life, and they outweigh the challenges.  The key, I think, is to let go of the things you can’t control (which, actually, turns out to be most of it). You plan what you can, and learn to adapt to the rest. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone. I’m still learning. But the rewards for the effort, I believe, are priceless.



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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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