Moving Back Home. For people who have lived abroad, it’s a death sentence. It’s the end to your misadventures in a foreign land, and end to the identity you carefully crafted and experimented with, an end to the reality you authored, an end to an era of living in the present.
But when you moved abroad, the end had always been the beginning. When you signed that contract, the end shook your hand and allowed you to have your fun while it lasted. It laughed at all your hangovers and discomforts. Because it always knew that sooner or later, life will catch up. And if you’re not prepared, you’ll meet a version of yourself that didn’t fully “apparate” – Harry Potter speak, when you decided to move back home. Part of you will always be left behind the county you once lived in. Part of you in the home you spent many years in, but are not so familiar with anymore.
In short, you enter a crisis of sorts. You’re first met with delusions, where you figure out if those months/years actually happened. If you actually met the people you spent most of your waking hours with. Then, you feel anxious about what to do next – if you want to recreate yourself in another foreign country, or stay put where you are back home. Then you become analytical. You explore the pros and cons of your previous experience and try to justify to yourself why you moved back home and plan what to do next. It becomes your lullaby every night. Eventually, sick of being in your head, your stuffed animals staring at you and your Facebook pictures of living abroad, you take courage to reconnect with the friends you left behind at home, without losing sight of the friends you left behind at your other home across the Pacific Ocean. With the support of both parties, you feel better. Maybe you were never alone at all, even if you’re just around yourself most of the time, as you figure things out through this process.
So you know what I realized? Regardless of what geographical canvass you live your life in, one thing is constant – you will always be with yourself. That means that it’s not just about seeking the next big life-defining adventure in the backdrop of a new country or career path, but how you are ok with just being around you, wherever you are and whoever you are with. In fact, the end goal of moving back home will be bracing the realities in your life that you tried to escape from – whether it is familial, career, relationship, monetary, etc. Are you finally brave enough to face the fears back home that you tried to escape from? Do you want to start a new chapter in your life story? Because now its not about the setting anymore, but the plot that you want to develop.
And maybe at the end of the day, the main villain in your story is fear – it decided whether you’d move abroad, decided whether you’d move back home, and determined if you’d decide at all. Fear is actually a neutral character that can instigate behavior. So next time you feel it, wherever you are in the world, will you run away or face it? When you’ve figured that out, you’re finally home.