29 Feb, 2020 @ 17:30
2 mins read

BREXIT: It’s time for British expats in Spain to adopt David Bowie’s mantra – ‘turn and face the strange’, writes Mijas Councillor Bill Anderson

David Bowie

Words by Bill Anderson

ON the morning of February 1, guess what – the sun still rose. Everything was in exactly the same place we left it while we were still Europeans. 

After all the stress, arguments, falling outs, insults precipitated by Brexit, the aftermath seems to be the calm after the storm. There was a last minute flurry of activity from people who suddenly realised that after 10 years living here, they didn’t have their paperwork in order. So, nothing new here, then.

Nevertheless, change is coming. Mark Twain allegedly said that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. We don’t like the uncertainty that change brings. Even good changes produce stress: new job, new house, new country, new baby!

Anatole France, French poet and novelist, wrote: ‘All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

I do sense that we are leaving part of ourselves behind in leaving the EU, for good or bad, as it has been part of our lives for the greater part thereof, for most of us. 

Perversely, change is also the only constant we have.

Bill David Bowie 1
STRANGE: David Bowie’s mantra could prove useful to British expats in Spain post-Brexit

As JFK said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Whether we were for or against leaving the EU, we now need to look to the future. Our comfort zones are not so expansive, we need to make sure that we are all sorted for today and prepared for tomorrow.

British writer and philosopher Alan Watts adds to this idea.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance,” he wrote.

The time for accusations, recriminations and arguing about who was right is past. Now our only option is to stop whingeing and  ‘join the dance’.

Let’s get on with it. Asking why we need to register, or why we need to change our driving licence, or why we may need to get a visa to travel, or why we need to get our fingerprints taken and get a foreigners’ ID card is a waste of energy. We need to go with the flow.

Gone are the days of the British Empire when a British Citizen could travel anywhere with a sense of entitlement. We are no more than citizens of a small island with self-induced isolation on the edge of continental Europe.

If we don’t get used to that idea, it will affect our happiness and our ability to feel at home in our chosen country.

We are no longer in Spain by right, we are here by the courtesy of the Spanish government – which, I have to add, has been far more respectful of our rights than the British government – and step positively into the future. 

We are not second class citizens but we are guests. Let’s bear that in mind.

Staff Reporter

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  1. He ALSO said: “Turn and face the strange.
    Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it.
    Where’s your shame?
    You left us up to our necks in it.
    Time may change me
    But you can’t trace time”……

    Location : malaga
  2. Totally agree Vulcanben, ups & downs & bumps in the road for all of Eurozone & UK to come, but countries got through World Wars eventually & now the most immediate threat has to be the spread of Coronavirus especially for countries like Spain whose economies are very dependent on Tourism!

    Location : Alhaurin

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