When this image appeared on a facebook timeline today, I realized that what is said is not the case for me anymore. Even though I am an Adult Third Culture Kid and I felt the same way several times during my life. If I would have read these lines a few years ago, I would have agreed. – Today I can say that this is not the case. Not in this moment. Why? It probably has partly to do with age, but it surely has to do with a more mindful living. Instead of thinking constantly about what my life was 10, 15, 20 years ago, about the many opportunities I’ve had to have another life or another career, the many friendships I had and that faded over the years due to the geographical (but not only…) distance, today I acknowledge every single day, every single opportunity I have to feel connected to my kids, my family, my friends here and now. I don’t think anymore things like “if I only had done/said etc….”, “if only I would have the chance to…”, “why doesn’t this happen to me?” or “why does this happen to me”… It is thanks to several friends who had traumatic experiences, who went through very difficult times, and who allowed me to assist and support them, that I can say that thinking or feeling that “our heart will always be elsewhere” like stated in this image, is not a healthy way to consider life. Our heart needs to be with us, i.e. our feelings need to be genuine and whenever possible, expressed in an open and caring way. Feeling that our heart is “elsewhere” sounds to me like living detached from our inner core. And that can’t be healthy… If we feel that our heart is always elsewhere we need to try to change something in our situation. Either move back or accept and adapt to the situation we are right now. If we need to be physically close to people, we need to try to make this possible. If it is not, there is a reason for it and we have to cope with it. It takes time, energy, support from others and it can hurt, but change is part of everyone’s life. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we will be able to live a balanced and satisfied life. – This all is way more complicated for people who are forced to live far away from their loved ones (because they are fugitives for example) and know that they will never see them again: that is an extreme and traumatic situation one needs professional help with. But TCKs, internationals, expats, global nomads, immigrants… or however you want to call people who live abroad because they chose to, can learn – or need to learn? – to cope with change and not being always physically or geographically close to all those they love and cherish. I’m convinced that everyone can have a “home feeling” by being at peace about loving and knowing people in more than one place. It is so very normal for me now and I truly enjoy every moment with my friends and family when we meet. But I also know that my life, the life that is “my world and my home” is here, now with my little family and all those friends that are active part of my daily life on- and off-line. Many internationals long for a “home”: either the one they left or the one they think they’ll have once they stop travelling. But meanwhile they forget to feel connected from the bottom of their heart with their life here and now. – My very personal advice is always to concentrate on what they have now and consider themselves a bit like a snail: take your home with you wherever you go.
Categories: Being expat