I’ve never really belonged anywhere. I’ve lived in so many different cities and houses; even today I don’t have anywhere special to go “home” to when I’m mentally exhausted. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but unfortunately have never found. Because of this lack of connection with physical place, I didn’t think I’d feel the effects of being stuck in limbo. You know, that feeling that expats get when they are neither here nor there, and unsure of whether to settle down in a foreign country, or move back “home”.
Recently I’ve been feeling this more than ever before. Even up until a few months ago, I wasn’t quite ready to leave the life I built for myself here in Dublin. But now, when I think about handing in my resignation letter and booking a one-way flight back to Toronto, I feel a huge sense of relief.
It isn’t that I hate my job. In fact, my job is exactly what’s preventing me from going back to Canada. But coming to Ireland wasn’t supposed to be permanent. Two and a half years ago, I desperately needed to leave Toronto, and I came here with unfinished business. Now, I’ve come to peace with the answers I’ve been given and I don’t really see myself living here forever. I won’t get into the details of why, but there are just some cultural differences I don’t think I can accept. It’s not that they are bad necessarily, they are just too different from what I am used to, to a point where life can be unenjoyable.
At the same time though, I’m afraid that I’m not prepared for the reality of what it means to move back. What if my resume doesn’t hold up against others when finding a new job? After all, I am a financial analyst without a business/finance degree. What if I won’t be able to afford the increased living expenses, and end up having to work three jobs like I did in college? What if I’ve simply romanticised the idea of returning to my old life in the city? Friends will have gotten married and have children, paid off mortgages, and I’ll need to be starting from the ground up again. Will I have any support system? What if I regret it and can’t come back?
My heart is telling me it’s time to go, but my brain is telling me it’s not. What do I do?
Edit: I just want to clarify some misunderstanding that might have been taken away from this post. I don’t think Dublin is a bad place. It’s got the upper hand in many ways, which is why I have continued to stay here for so long. The people are friendly and I treasure those I’ve met here very dearly. But unless you have experienced living in a different country, you can’t truly understand the feelings associated with being outside your comfort zone. There are times you just want to go back to what you’re used to, because it’s a part of what made you, you. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been away, you’ll always end up comparing your current life to your old life. Please try not to take offense, and be more understanding of immigrants around you. We came to your country because we love it here, but there are times we can also feel homesick and unwelcome, just as migrants from your country might feel when they go abroad. Let’s just all try to support each other.