There’s an important life event happening halfway around the world that you don’t want to miss but you are stuck in indecisiveness. Should I go? Should I stay? Living abroad without regret is one of my core principles and knowing when to make a grand gesture is part of living that. Inspired by my decision to say “yes” to 42 hours of travel to spend nearly the same amount of time celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I share guidelines on what to consider when contemplating whether it’s time to make a grand gesture.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- What counts as a grand gesture.
- How to know whether making one is the right move.
- What we need to remember when we are considering making a grand gesture.
Making a grand gesture is just one of many ways to “love the crap out of your people.” Listen to today’s episode and get tips on how you can live your life abroad without regret.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Blog Article – Far away from loved ones: Five ways to stop regret
- Podcast Love your friends and family while they’re alive episode 64.
- For free support in your change journey join my Facebook group Expats on Purpose.
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean fromwww.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Me to my travel agent: “I want to fly out on Sunday, not Monday.”
His response: “But are you sure? You’ll be in the air for over 42 hours and only be in the country for 48.”
Surely that can’t be right? That is not even ecologically responsible, and really terrible on my body, not to mention obliterating my productivity at work, that I’ll be reeling from jet lag for days. So why why why why would I tell my travel agent “No, in fact I’m going to fly on Sunday making the time I’m in the air almost the same as the time I’m on the ground.”
Why? Because ….. Love.
Sometimes you need to go out of your way and make a grand gesture, and by the time you’ll be listening to this, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. My Mama & Papa both turn 70 this year and they’re celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I mean how many people are lucky enough to say, one that they made it to their 70th and two that they have stuck together all the way through 50 years of marriage. Their only wish was to have the three of us kids there with them, at a Bob Seger concert.
Yep, I’m gonna be hopping on a plane late Wednesday night, landing on Thursday and party to Bob Seger with my nuclear family by Friday night. There’s a side story of why this is happening now and not actually on my father’s 70th because he was too busy at Lady Gaga, which is a whole ‘nother story and probably says way too much about my family than should be public. I’ve got a family that likes to enjoy life and celebrate if you haven’t noticed and what you also might know about me is that you know how important it is to me to live abroad without regrets and this is the perfect example, right? I could have said no, everybody would have understood. I mean really to put everything down and fly so far away for such a short event. I don’t even know if we’re actually sitting with my parents at the concert and I’m inconveniencing my husband, I know that, sorry sweetie. My kids are gonna be like, “Where’s Mom?” and in fact, we’ve had some unsettling things at home with who’s going to be taking care of the kids exactly at what time and my friends are chipping in to make sure that we’re covered. So it’s kind of an inconvenience, yet I have the support of my loved ones on this end because this grand gesture is so worth it.
I can just see it now, I can’t wait and I might show some pictures on social media when it’s happening, so have a look for that when it happens. I’m super pumped that I’m going but it was a tough call.
Today’s episode is super simple, I’m going to offer just a few things for you to think about when you’re making a tough call. What should you ask yourself when you’re making the decision? Is this the time for a grand gesture or not?
So let’s define what a grand gesture is first before we get started. For me a grand gesture is something where you go out of your way, going to a friend’s birthday party is just a gesture of support but taking work off and getting in the airplane and flying a few hours to go to their birthday is a grand gesture. A grand gesture might be something that you’ve been planning for a long time. One of my best friends from college hand Illustrated a book for me for my 40th. I mean, I ugly cried so hard when I saw it, that is a grand gesture. One of my other really really close friends Illustrated an image of me and my family on my birthday, that is a grand gesture, where someone goes out of their way and is so thoughtful and spends time above and beyond the normal. So grand gestures can be for a lot of things, they’re often to celebrate something or someone but a grand gesture could also be an extension of support when someone is struggling. And one of the things I know about expat life is that when you live abroad, when you live far away, one of the things that we all struggle with is not being there face to face. Like that time when my girlfriend got divorced and I wish I was there to move boxes. That sucks. That time when another friend lost her husband and I wasn’t there on the day of the funeral. We think, “How can we not be there on that day?! How can we not?!”
And what can we do instead to show our love? To make a grand gesture.
So I’m going to throw in a few ideas for you to think about the next time you’re faced with a question, should I or shouldn’t I? Is this time for a grand gesture or not? Because the end of the day even a thought of a grand gesture is really just asking the question “How can I love my people?” If you’ve listened to my podcast already, in my work, you know that my thing is to love the crap out of your people. So the grand gesture is, “Is this the right way to do that?”
So here are just a few things for you to think about.
Is it time to say yes to a grand gesture?
Number one: Is it something that you’ll regret if you don’t do it? Okay, then maybe it’s a yes. Can you show up when no one else is? Also an opportunity for grand gesture. I know that I’ve had people who’ve experienced loss and when you’re so far away, it’s so hard to not be there. And what I’ve learned from them in hindsight, how much they appreciated me showing up after everybody got quiet. I didn’t realize it in the moment that that was a grand gesture, but what I heard from them is it felt like it to them. So can you show up when no one else is? Maybe someone had surgery and got all the help in the hospital but once they’re home no one’s there. Maybe they had a baby and the mother-in-law just left and they’re sitting there overwhelmed not knowing how they’re going to do it all. Can you show up when no one else is?
Number one: Is it something that you know you’ll regret if you don’t do it?
Number two: Can you show up when no one else is?
Number three: Will it be something that they’ll remember for a lifetime? Like are you gonna do it and then they’re going to remember it when they’re old and gray in a rocking chair? That is a great time for a grand gesture.
Number three will it be something that they remember for a lifetime.
Number four: Does it make your body feel like you’ve got champagne bubbles inside? Like you get all excited and it just feels right even though it doesn’t seem logical? Does it make your body go all champagne bubbly? That’s a sign that a grand gesture could be in order.
Number five: Is it inconvenient for you but makes the life of someone you love so much easier? Is it inconvenient for you, but makes a life of someone you love so much better?Number six: Is this immediate inconvenience more than worth the energy you’ll get from being there or from the memories you’ll carry for a lifetime?
Number seven: Is saying yes to this grand gesture also living your core values? So maybe one of your values is to be present during the hard stuff. Maybe it would be easier emotionally for you if you weren’t there, but one of your values is to be present during the hard stuff. Then maybe it’s time to say yes to a grand gesture.
So these are just a few ideas, I’ve listed seven here.
Of course this is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a beginning for you to start thinking. In that time where you’re trying to make the tough call should you ask for work off? Should you book the flight? Should you put in the holiday vacation? Should you ask your partner to babysit? Whatever it is, these serve as the beginning guidelines to get you thinking on whether or not you say yes to the grand gesture. Commemorating a special day, planning something special, celebrating or supporting someone in ways that others are not.
Again, this is just a way to love our people, to stay connected, and sometimes a grand gesture is exactly the right thing.
But, a grand gesture isn’t always the right thing. So here are a few things for you to consider, to think twice, when you’re considering yes or no on taking the leap.
Number one: Do you feel like you should go, not like you want to go. There’s no champagne bubbles in your belly, you feel like you should.
Number two: Are you doing it because the pressure from the family feels too big?
Number three: You haven’t yet thought about how else you could support by not being there. And I’ve shared in another episode the time when my 92 year old grandfather passed away during the worst blizzard in Europe and North America. Where airports were closed all over and it was on the weekend, Friday after work when I found out. And I was supposed to make it by Monday, but I was so discombobulated on Saturday I couldn’t even think straight. And one of my best friends in Switzerland she said “Sundae, you don’t always have to hop in an airplane and fly across the world in a snowstorm to support. How else can you support your Mom? How else can you honor your grandfather?” and she was so right.
So maybe a grand gesture isn’t the right thing when you haven’t yet thought about how else you could support. And in that situation I told my mother that it didn’t feel right to get on the airplane because of the blizzard and all of the other things that we’re going on and she said “I’m so relieved, Sundae if you had gone I would have just worried about you.” And what I did instead is I created a ceremony at the same time as the funeral from my home with my son and my loved ones so that I could honor him.
So think through what are other ways that you could support if there’s no champagne bubbles in your belly and your trying to see if it’s the right thing.
Number four: You might think twice if the grand gesture would be personally damaging to you in the long run. Like you’ll lose your job or it’ll ruin you financially. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with wanting to love the crap out of our people that we don’t think clearly. And the ironic part about that is the people on the receiving end love you so much they don’t want the gesture to be at the detriment of you and your life.
Number five: It’s very simple, think twice if something inside of you says “Hmm, don’t do it.” Something wise inside says, “Don’t do it.“ Then those are times where you might want to pause before you pull the trigger on the grand gesture. Remember there are a lot of ways to show people you love them and I believe one of the most important ways is to, as you know my philosophy, to love them while they are alive, love them now. So what can you do to love them in little ways so that when you’re debating about the grand gesture, there’s buckets and buckets full of love already that are already filled. And when we show people that we love them the best ones, the best gestures are the ones that come from your whole heart.
Sometimes you need to go out of your way and make a grand gesture and I’m doing that this week by rocking up to a Bob Seger concert with my siblings and my Mama and Papa halfway around the world. I can’t wait. I have no idea if jet lag will be on my side or not and whether rum and coke will be my friend or my foe, but I can’t wait to celebrate with my family in this grand gesture celebrating an amazing couple a symbol of love for 50 years.
My parents are turning 70 and they’re taking their kids to this rock concert. These are people that I admire so much. I love how they live. My father’s philosophy is life is for the living. I mean the guy who’s 70 and goes to Lady Gaga on his birthday is a good example of that, right? They taught me how to love the crap out of my people and now I’m sharing that with you.
So if you want to think about more ways that you can love the crap out of your people, that you can live abroad without regret, I’ve got more for you. You can check out in the show notes a blog article called far away from loved ones five ways to stop regret. I’ve also done a podcast says love your friends and family while they’re Alive episode 64. Those are just two of many messages I share around how you can live your life abroad without regret, and maybe a grand gesture will help you do just that.
You’ve been listening to the Expat Happy hour with Sundae Bean. Thank you for listening.
I will leave you with the words of Andriana Sawyer, American author and consultant “Self-reflection is a much kinder teacher than regret.”