I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but I’ve found it a bit hard to word all my thoughts and write them down here, as there’s so much I want to talk about. I haven’t written an ‘expat life’ post for a while, as there’s just been so much holiday content recently, but today I want to talk about something very important, homesickness.
For me, winter break usually means going back to England and spending time with my family and friends. This year my time in England went by so fast, and before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to Dubai. Usually, I find myself a little teary on days we head back to Dubai because as much as I love my life here, it’s always hard to leave England. I think that anyone who lives away from home, or who has family that lives far away can probably relate to this. Leaving your family behind can sometimes feel like you’re leaving a little part of yourself behind. I sometimes feel like I’m torn between the two places because Dubai is my ‘home’ now, but England seems to natural and safe to me.
When I go back to England it seems weird to head down the roads that used to take me to school every morning, to pass the hall where my brownie camp was, or to see the coffee shop where I used to sip on hot chocolate. It’s almost like looking back at a part of your life without recognizing it. What I mean by this, is that these things that used to be so natural for me, seem so far away now, I can hardly remember doing them anymore.
When we go back to England for the holidays these are the things that I always look forward to, seeing the places I missed and that I have memories in. But it’s always a shock to find that things are never the same as they used to be. One of the hardest things to come to terms is the fact that your ‘old life’ moves on while you’re living your ‘new life’. People move on and keep evolving. It’s easy to let this make you feel upset, I’m guilty of it sometimes as well. But this ideology of going back to the ‘safe place’ that we think will be the same as how we left it is merely a mind game that we have to overcome. What do I mean by a mind game?
Think about it this way; for most of us when we’re having a really bad day or feeling a little down, this is when our homesickness kicks in, and we wish we could be back in that ‘safe place’, that place where you’re surrounded by family, and where times seemed simpler. But it’s a mind game, from experience I know that when I’m upset I crave something natural to me, a place where I have good memories. This usually ends up being where I used to live in England because it’s where I grew up, and where I remember being a carefee10-year-old and not worrying about anything. But the reality is, that if I was in the same place again at this age, I would still be going through the same things that I am right now. The trick to conquering and overcoming homesickness is to re-programme your happy place or safe place.
What I mean by this, is that it’s time to move on. Of course, it’s normal to feel homesick, everyone does from time to time. But it’s how you deal with this homesickness that really matters. Instead of craving a ‘safe-place’ from your past, re-programme your brain to search for a ‘safe place’ in your ‘new life’, or in other words the life you’re living now. When you next feel sad or down, try and think of a happy memory in the place you are now. Slowly this will change your mindset because there’s no point dwelling on the past and keeping yourself tied to a place that’s evolving when you’re missing out on opportunities in the place where you are now.
Feeling homesick is totally okay, and sometimes it’s even good to have a big old cry and get everything out of your system. I know as well as any of you that it hurts, that it’s hard to live between two places and constantly feel like you’re leaving a bit of yourself behind. But it’s the way you deal with this that really matters, and that will eventually help you to get over this. I, myself am still learning more about homesickness, but I’m just trying to share my ideas with you guys. I would really appreciate it if you left a comment letting me know how you deal with homesickness, and any thoughts you have on the subject.
Lots of love and stay strong!
Little Miss Expat
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