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The Curse (& Hidden Blessing) of Living in a Small Country

Visiting sister in The Golden City (San Francisco) for my niece’s baptism.

This curse happens regardless of whether the country (or city) is prosperous or not, whether it has great nature, parks, fancy places or the best Levantine wine you can find in the world.

The curse is: unstoppable and relentless goodbyes.

I tried to fight this curse, but after 10 years, I’m sad to say that I give up. And I’m thankful that I did. It is a fact of life. No matter what I did, it will never stop.

Each year (or a couple of months), we gather and say goodbye to a dear friend or a family member. I’m now at a point where all of my close friends and some of my family are out of the country.

Globalization forced this fact, everyone wants to live in a big country/city. No one likes “small” and “petite”. Everyone is after the big and enormous. They all want “scalable”.

I have found that scale in our lifetime is much higher than it used to be. Size matters now, apparently,… (no pun intended!)

But do people see the inherit risk of scale?

Of course they don’t.

Scale shows you, at the surface, that bigger is better. But what about connectedness. It gives you a lot, but ends up taking much more than it has given.

You can point to specific people who benefited from the scale of large countries/cities, like for example successful investors in New York or famous actors in Hollywood, but these definitely are the exception; the remaining 99% are still struggling to pay rent.

Yea, connectedness is nice. But not too much.

The disease is acute. It’s annoying and never ending. Always surprising and causes self-doubt, whenever one leaves (which is a lot more frequent than you can imagine) you automatically ask yourself: should I be leaving too?

Now this question is key. A very fundamental question to our problem. Is leaving the solution? Is following the flock the solution?

Well, no.

And here is why. Change is good. Yes. Best friends will remain the best no matter where they live (shoutout to my best friend Apo in Naples, 14 years and counting buddy!) Others, are simply changeable, one day they are your close friends, the other day they are your sworn enemies, only time can tell. Change will make you better friends each time, hence, a better circle and better adaptation to your environment, a constant burst of the bubble, early on and much less damaging than later on.

Economically, this is is also good (to a certain extent though), change causes people in good jobs to open opportunities up for the ones rising from below. New blood is always good. This is the whole idea of capitalism, companies failing so new ones can rise, hence, more equality.

Change is the only constant thing here. We need to learn to become used to change. Change is good. And as Barney Stinson once said “New is always better”.

This is a fact of life that doesn’t change whether you live in Amman or in New York City.

Remember the trade-off here though, scale can be harmful, small is beautiful, and change is constant and beneficial. It’s your call, small or big? (Again, no pun intended!)





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