Over the last few weeks we’ve seen stories from people who have moved to new cities and the struggles they’ve faced in finding their feet. This week we figured we’d flip the script and address the problems that you can face when you return home. In recent years recession and austerity have hit in full force. This has motivated people to leave their homelands in search of jobs and new opportunities. When moving away people expect to have to make new connections, for many this is part of the attraction, but what happens when the sun sets and you return home. Home evokes connotations of warmth, relaxation, stability, and security. You are looking forward to seeing familiar faces and getting back into a groove that you’ve known your whole life. But while you’ve been away things have changed at home, and what you may have relied upon in the past might no longer be around. Friends may have also left, and suddenly your local feels entirely new. Upon returning to more familiar shores it can be startling to realise that it just doesn’t fit like it used to.
Almost a year ago I returned to Ireland having lived away for 8 years. I returned for all the things I missed, family, friends, the Irish banter, our highly educated and irreverent sense of humour and attitude to things; and our ability to take the piss out of ourselves.
Being back had its challenges though and while I was busy acclimatising and settling in more ways than one, I had returned to a city I didn’t know (Cork) and was getting to grips with lots more than I anticipated. Fortunately I had friends to stay with but I still needed to get out there and meet new people and find humour and support in the middle of this upheaval.
At a Meetup group one of the girls recommended the GirlCrew. I joined shortly after and I’ve been really impressed with the ethics, activities, offers of support and information I’ve found there. As we’ve changed and developed as a culture and country I think we’ve realised that we’ve all moved or been displaced at some point; we’ve all needed help, direction or just to be with like-minded spirits to have a laugh and blow off some steam. It’s a generous spirited group with ideas, diversity and something for everyone.
Anne Marie Callaghan, GirlCrew Cork
We often take home granted, we expect to leave and come back to find everything just so but this isn’t the case. This realisation can be weird and unnerving but it doesn’t have to be. Remember that coming back can be just like leaving. At first you might have to be your own best friend. Take yourself out, whether it’s just for a stroll, or to a local cafe, it’s important to get out and enjoy being back. We all know how easy it is to get disheartened when things don’t turn out as we expect, but you’ve already proven that you can stand on your own two feet. Reminding yourself of that can give you a little pep if needed. Don’t forget you also have the advantage of having ties to that place and on some level there may be many things that have stayed the same. It’s important not to rely too heavily on these though, remember that you are not the same person that left and those around you will have changed too. It’s also time to get over those hangovers from the past, yes, that person may have thrown mud at you in primary school but think of it as a funny story as opposed to something to bear a grudge against. In all likelihood they want to move on too and letting things go is all part of growing up.
We’ve all had the moment where people we’ve met in life also know each other, the internet has shown this over and over again. It’s not uncommon to have mutual friends pop up all over the place or to see childhood friends tagged in the photos of new acquaintances. Why not utilise these as a starting point and get in on the action. Joining a local sports team, hobby club, or GirlCrew group can make the move so much easier. It might take a little grit but you’ve already made the move so now is the time to meet new people and get resettled into the community. The old gang might be gone but there are new friendships to be made and these will be just as rewarding. It may feel a little deflating to be faced with new concerns when moving home but these are common issues, and don’t forget that you are moving somewhere “new” even if the place is marked home on your map. Give yourself time to breath, time to find yourself, and most importantly – welcome home!