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  • Writer's pictureAya

I thought there was no option

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

When I relocated to the USA in 2014, there were so many “I didn’t know”s:

I didn’t know how to make Mac&Cheese.

I didn’t know American school system.

I didn’t know the word “carpooling”.


I didn’t know how to conduct feedback in English.

I didn’t know American business casual attire.

I didn’t know the word “direct report”.

Before the relocation, I was full of confidence. I felt my life was under control. I was busy with two young children working full-time, but I felt that I was doing something productive and meaningful.

I knew how to make miso soup.

I knew Japanese medical system.

I knew the language my whole life.


I knew how to respond politely in Japanese way.

I knew Japanese business culture.

I knew the word “karoshi” is a Japanese word.

So it was shocking in 2014 because I felt as if I became a child again. I thought I lost my experience, knowledge, and background in the new country. And I had to start all over at the age of 40. I didn’t want to do it again.

So I thought I had to give up.

Giving up my career.

Giving up my lifestyle.

Giving up what I have done.

I thought I was lost.

I thought there were no option.

I thought I couldn’t do anything anymore.

I felt apathetic.

I felt angry.

I felt lonely.

One day, I realized:

It was MY choice to come to the US.

It was MY choice to leave my work.

It was MY choice to leave my family and friends.

I could have said “NO”.

I could have stayed. I could have chosen something else.

But I didn’t do.

Then I understood:

I can choose my future.

I can control how to spend my life.

I can decide what I want.

That was the end of my “I feel sorry to myself” life.

I am still not making as much money as I did when I was in Japan, but I am building my new life in the new country in the way I love. I am very fortunate to be able to live in this way, and I do not deny it. However, it is a fact that “now” became wonderful when I stopped sticking to “my past”.


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