Support on Feeling Lost in Between Homes
“I am 32 years and had anxiety after leaving a job due to redundancy. I then went on to a total of 4 jobs, only 1 actually stayed longer than a week. With the last one, i decided I cannot apply for jobs anymore in London as I felt anxious about Brexit, but I love the UK. I then relocated due to brexit after i stopped working for that company in October and am now seeing a person to talk about my anxiety at work.
I am unemployed since 3 months in Austria(which is my native country, but I havent lived here permanently since 12 years). I am living in Graz atm with my parents and I thought I did the right move as Austria provides better health care, a pension, great working hours etc. but I am simply not sure it was the right step for me to do and I really struggle to fit in as well. My parents have been understanding as long as I would want a job in Austria, but I struggle as I really want to go back to London, but I do not want to as there is brexit. What can I do to a take a decision and feel then better about the decision? What should I write on my CV to cover this period? I just am confused of what I want right now and what I should do.”
It sounds like you are going through some tough times at the moment. And while not everyone has to go through a heartbreaking scenario of leaving the country they set up their roots in and love, know that anyone would be struggling with a situation like that. It's simply a painful thing to do.
Almost ten years ago I had moved to New Zealand, the country of my dreams, to work on a project that was right out of a fairytale movie. I had only planned to stay for a year, but I fell so in love with my life there that I decided to stay longer. Until, one day, I had to realize that I can no longer stay - the cost of living was too high, my health had suffered tremendously from both their healthcare system as well as a very intense work life, and so many other things. I decided to come back home to Germany. And it seemed like the right decision.
I moved into my parent's place for the time being, I was unemployed, and I was in a bad place physically as well. But more than all of that, I fell into a dark hole because I missed the life that I had built, I missed the friends that I had made and I missed having that amazing job. I often asked myself, “Why on earth did I leave? I have nothing here!” and “How can I go back?”.
Leaving behind a life that we love, no matter how good the reasons, is always painful. And what makes it so much harder is that it’s juxtaposed by a life that is in ruins. But it’s not in ruins - it’s just new. It needs to be built from scratch, just as that other life in that other country had been many years ago. Maybe your first weeks in the UK where just as much of a struggle as your first weeks back in Austria? I don’t know.
And I also don’t know how you can make a good decision - stay here? Go back? It’s impossible to make “the right” decision here with so many variables (including Brexit) in play. I can’t answer that question for you.
But I do know a few things that are a given, and I want to at least share those with you:
One: If you manage to build a life in the UK that you loved, then you have that experience and those skills in you. You will be able to do the same wherever you decide to build a new life. It’s not going to happen overnight - but you did it once, and you will do it again.
Two: Right now, you’re as rootless as you’ll ever be. And while that comes with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, it can also come with a lot of freedom - you get a chance to do what many dream of and few ever do: to re-invent yourself. You have a great support system here in Austria, and you can go wherever you want, chose a career you want, study what you want… if you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a language teacher for penguins with a learning disability in Antarctica, now’s the time to go for it (I don’t know what you’d have to study for that though - zoological pedagogy, maybe?).
Three: It sounds like you enjoy the support of your parents, and that’s going to be a great help. Just realize that it’s your job to create a life that fulfills you and makes you happy, it’s not your job to live a life that makes them happy. That’s their own job.
I realize this advice is not nearly as specific as you may have hoped for. Starting a new life is a messy process, and you shouldn’t follow anyone's advice except your own. If anything, right now is the time to try things, go and chase dreams and move things around - who knows, this might be the last time that you are THIS free.
The best of luck to you!
About the Author
Michael Herold is a life coach based in Austria and Germany and works at The Art of Charm, a L.A. based company where he is using evidence-based psychotherapy to help clients overcome their social anxiety through playful exercises. If you’re strolling through the shopping streets of Vienna and you hear someone howl like a wolf in a shopping mall, or have someone ask you for a high-five or tell you a really, really bad joke - it’s probably one of his clients!
Michael is also a public speaker and speaker coach. He has spoken at TEDx, in front of members of parliament, universities and in once in a cinema full of 500 kids high on sugary popcorn. Clients he has coached for presentations have been featured on NBC, Fast Company, Forbes and the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In a previous life, he has been a character animator working on awardwinning movies and TV shows like “The Penguins of Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda”. That was before he realized that helping people to live a meaningful life is much more rewarding than creating Saturday morning cartoons (even though the long nights in the studio allowed him to brew his own beer in the office closet).