Im quite sure there’s a point in every TCK’s mind where they consider moving back. The consideration that maybe it wasn’t a smart idea to move here, and life would have been so much better if you had just stayed. You start coming up with all these reasons why you should have stayed and convince yourself that’s what needs to be done, move back. Personally I have struggled with this issue a lot too in the past 2 months. What I have realised is that when it comes to memories, your mind starts playing tricks on you. It fades the bad things and highlights the good things, you start idealising past experiences as much better than they really were. Yes you can move back, but there are several things to keep in mind when considering doing so: you are not going back to what you left, It’s not as good as you remember it to be, the risk of getting trapped in your old cycle and not moving forward.
What I mean when I say you are not going back to what you left, is that people have moved on and moved away, you have changed as a person and it won’t be the same as when you left it. The pain in this is you experiencing Hiraeth. Hiraeth is an unofficial word that means: A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past. You can never go back to who you were at that time, re-experience the memories and enjoy the same fun. Once you move away everything changes, your friends, your relationships, and most importantly you. I’ve experienced Hiraeth a lot, and it sets a deep pain when the realization hits you can never go back to that. Currently there is no place to go and be at home but that leads to all the more determination to make your current situation home. I cannot return to Singapore and feel at home like I did when I lived there, I would have to build up a completely new life and despite there being familiar things I would still go through the exact same process as moving to a whole different country. Now is that stopping me? I don’t know yet. That’s a decision I’m still attempting to work through
Secondly, it’s not as good as you remember it to be. Whenever I think back on my previous relationship my heart hurts, because I see only good. Every relationship has its ups and downs and during the relationship you learn to recodnize these both. However after the fact when the anger and pain has settled, you remember only the good and it hurts to think you lost something that made you so happy. It’s the same thing when it comes to moving, when I was discussing moving with my mum I told her about all the great experiences I had there and how happy I was. She reminded me that although I had amazing experiences, there were many times I was unhappy too and stressed beyond measure. At the age of 16 I attempted to leave Singapore permanently because I disliked it that much at that point, my senior year second semester I cried at least 3 times a week from stress with the work load. Those were all things I had forgotten because those things don’t matter. It’s the good memories that make you fall in love with a place or situation. With that being said, yes you can move back but remember that not everything was perfect. Don’t idealise the place and set yourself up for disappointment. Recodnize that there was both good and bad, as there always has been, is, and always will be.
Lastly I want to say be careful not to get trapped in your old cycle. Moving away at the age of 18 is difficult and painful, but it is also healthy for children to move out around that time give or take a few years. It all depends on the situation but my point is that it is easy to get caught up in everything that was, try and relive it, and ten years down the road you realise you’re still doing the same things you did in high school and didn’t ever move forward with your life. Change is hard and painful, but like I mentioned in my last post, “If you want to experience something you never have, you’re going to have to do something you never have”. It’s an amazing quote by Zig Ziglar, he gives some really good life advice. It’s all about taking that leap of faith, doing the thing that scares you. The best memories and accomplishments are made outside your comfort zone.
This isn’t to put a damper on moving back, it’s what I needed to hear while thinking about moving back. I figured if I am struggling with this there’s bound to be more TCK’s going through this same thought process. In my social circle alone I know my friends are homesick and one is considering moving back too. It seems logical to want to go back to the place you could be yourself and feel at home, which is why I’m strongly considering it now, but these points helped put my the situation in perspective and I hope it does the same for you.