A sleepless rant

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Awesome rant. I could have written a similar one when I lived in Germany, but I suppose I didn't have the balls at that juncture.

 

Sorry, where exactly is "back"? :)

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Until I realise that I am homesick for a time, rather than a place; I want to go back to a time where I spent night after night in the pub with a large bunch of friends and pals, worrying about little, without many responsibilities.

 

I totally agree with Gwaptiva - there were times and situations "back home" which were damned-near perfect - lots of friends, lots of fun, and lots of freedom!

Unfortunately, the reality of being a grown-up also brings with it some aspects which may make life less fun - responsibilty for everything we do, the constant "struggle" to earn enough money to support ourselves and those dear to us, and the lack of time for simply "having fun", being amongst them.

There are most definitely both good and bad parts to the lives we are currently living, but I think a little part of most of us still longs for a more carefree time.

I am not sure that "going home" will change your feelings very much - you might simply feel out of place, and unable to do anything to ease the poverty around you.

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Hi - you need to be very careful here. The past always looks nicer than the present especially since we forget the bad bits. I once lived in Italy for 13 years and had similar felings to yours. So- I went back home. Trouble was that home was not what I had imagined it to be. Nobody told me about reverse culture shock - that people had moved on - that policemen were not necessarily friendly and nor were there nice old lasies to help across the road while Elgar's music played in the background and English hills lay understated on the horizon. It was tough. Nobody woould employ me! "Ah, yes! Italy - sunshine, sports cars and beautiful women. Why did you come back?" asked one person at an interview. It took me a couple of years to settle down again back "home". Even now, England is not what it was. I see it all through different eyes. It has stayed the same but I have changed forever. In some ways, it is better to be in Germany and imagine my "heimat" in the way I want to. I know the reality is different.

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I find it interesting that you experienced the same as me, novelwriter, when I returned to the UK in 1999. No-one would employ me despite my good skills. "Oh, you've been abroad. Maybe you'll go abroad again." (And I thought "I may well have to if my money runs out because no-one will give me a job.")

 

Punkinside - the problem is that happiness is not and can never be a constant state of mind.

 

I have come to realise that a lot of the younger generation (in their 20s) (at least the young people that I know) seem to think that life should be just one long round of fun. And then they complain they are bored and depressed.

 

I have come to realise that you can only really enjoy things with a good conscience and satisfaction if you've fulfilled your duties, obligations and responsibilities first. THEN you can go off and have fun.

 

My life seems to me like a struggle. I work freelance and had two or three very bad months this year. The bloody health insurance gets more and more expensive and hangs over my head like the sword of Damocles, but what I enjoy is the fight.

 

I once had a job in London that was very cushy (easy). Good pay, enough to save a large amount, regular hous, free evenings and weekends, no responsibilities. And yet I was miserable. Now... although I do go through some sleepless nights at time, things are better.

 

As I often like to say to anyone who will listen: Life is not always easy, but it's always interesting.

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We can all probably relate to this at one time or another.

It is tough as so often in the lonely or bad times of our lives, the grass looks so much greener on the other side. Problem is you still have to mow it wherever you are.

 

Maybe some lists with real reality and not wistful thinking with true pros and cons of where you are and where you think would be better can help process. Then try and think if the cons can be resolved, or if you are trading a negative for a positive or a positive for a negative.

 

It's always interesting when I go back as someone mentioned, things don't always remain the same.

:

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It is tough as so often in the lonely or bad times of our lives, the grass looks so much greener on the other side.

 

The trouble is, when you have lived at just about any place for a few years and you go elsewhere - or even "back" - you find that things there have also moved on. I get those signals when I visit the UK nowadays (& visiting is different from living) but I'd be pretty certain that this is not a UK-only feature & would equally apply to just about any location.

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You can never go back because back no longer exists, but only the surroundings of where back used to be.

 

It took me a long time to learn this.

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Beware of nostalgia

 

 

The term nostalgia describes a sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.[1] The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache".

I'm glad I'm done with it. At 65 I have learned contentment.

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Profile says Caracas.

 

You'd have to be crackers if you wanted to go back to Caracas.

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Thank you so much for your replies.

 

I know "back home" isn't where I grew up. It's changed more, for the worse, than anyone can imagine. Caracas is now one of the top five most dangerous cities in the world, and getting worse. There are a myriad of political, economic and social problems, problems I successfully ran away from. I struggle with this fact a lot. I am lucky enough to afford going back home every year, and even though I now visit as a "rich" foreigner during the holidays where everything quiets down a bit, I always stay long enough to get a glimpse of the damage the previous year has done, and am consequently reminded of all those reasons why I chose to leave. I'm not deluding myself into thinking that I'll move back and everything will be like when I'm on holiday, that much is perfectly clear. Yet I cannot escape this feeling. Yes, I've got to be crackers to want to go back.

 

It's not about being happy all the time, no. It's about contentedness, about feeling at ease in my surroundings, about having something to look forward to. For some reason, I just don't. I speak fluent german, have a good, secure, high paying job with equal parts boring and interesting (which I guess is par for the course), good friends, some of them german, even a girlfriend (of course, not german). I shouldn't be complaining, on paper, I'm golden. Yet I do. I hate myself for it, yet shaming myself into not feeling the way I do hasn't worked.

 

Venezuela, for all its faults, still feels like home. Every year when I go back I get that 'aaaaaaah', put your feet up, get a beer, you're finally home after a long, long trip feeling. Then the parade of friends and family telling me horror stories commences. I get angry. Yet, I think I envy them.

 

I was very involved in the last election. That's the part about helping the country to change. Maybe I just need a challenge, a fixer upper. I don't know.

 

I know I'm not the only one thinking like this every once in a while, thank you for reconfirming it. I hope it's just a phase, but right now I'll be slowly looking into what can be done. I won't be making any rash decisions, that's for sure.

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This is really weird - just before 3:00 this morning I was searching for topics about sleeplessness as I was suffering another 'bad' night. Then, hey presto, the next morning one appears!!! Am I really sure that life is not all in my imagination??

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I used to have those same feelings and spent at least 4 weeks back home every year, coming back was always hard, my friends telling me their horror stories and I somehow envied them. I had a big crisis after 4 or 5 years here, I was really depressed, hated everything but did not have the balls to throw everything away and go back. Then slowly all those feelings went away, I miss my friends and family but I do not really want to move back there anymore. I go back now every two years because my wife is not-German as well and now we have to alternate the holidays, it is not the same, I am happy when I am there but after the first week I start missing Germany and my home, I do not enjoy anymore the chaos, I am now scared of everything and feel really unsafe, I like rules and people following them. I am a different person now, but I don't fully feel I belong here either. I have now a family and I do not want my kids to grow in the same environment I grew up.

 

So, if you really want to go back, I can only suggest you do it now.

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Uh... two things here, punkinside.

 

The first is homesickness and I'm sorry to say I see myself as a bit of an expert in that. I had a very sad childhood in a very wonderful place and grew up scared of the world. I remember at 18, my Dad telling me "You'll be glad to shake the dust of this place from your feet, after all that's happened." He was trying to tell me that there was a better world out there. I looked around at the beautiful countryside, listened to the sheep baa-ing and the birds singing, wondered through my home, my fortress, and thought he was mad: for what would I desert this? At the same time I knew that life could not be lived at home, and go I must. I felt as though I would cry my soul out in grieving, but I went. Ten years on I had firm roots in a new place, and through the finding of love and of friendship, through learning how to live and be happy, through the experience of joy that I had not known before, I believed I had found my soul's home. When I now visit that place, it still feels the same: and unconquerable, heart-rending, yet glorious sense that I belong. But my situation there was also impermanent, and so I moved to Berlin. That, for only two year, then, on, again!

 

The second thing is about contentment, and being able to be content in your chosen life. What I have learnt from the above is that contentment and happiness is a choice. Naturally, there are things that ca destroy that, like bereavement or depression or a myriad others... I am not saying I hae no sympathy for the unhappy (and I have much for you, too) but I trully believe that, at the baseline, there is a choice in how you view your life.

 

And what about home? Where now is that? I can never go back. The place I grew up has changed, and so have I. The place I grew to love is changing before my eyes, and I am still changing, too. My husband and I will indeed return to the UK next (my parents are getting old, our nieces and nephews are growing up without our input, etc) but it is likely that we will end up in a town neither of us has even visited. But that will be home, because I will make it so. Or, part of home. Because I now believe that home is wherever you have love. My home is where my husband is, but also where my family are, and where my friends are. Right now my homke is thus fragmented around Europe, and that is ok. In fact it is a great thing.

 

Open your eyes to what you have and who, and what, you love. Build a home, here, or elsewhere, through links of the heart. That's my advice, and I think it applies if you stay in Germany, go "back" or move on again.

 

I will now cease to wax lyrical and do some bloomin' work!

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I used to have those same feelings and spent at least 4 weeks back home every year, coming back was always hard, my friends telling me their horror stories and I somehow envied them.

 

Exactly my M.O. and my sentiment. Can I ask where are you from?

 

 

I had a big crisis after 4 or 5 years here, I was really depressed, hated everything

 

Ditto. Four and a half years in, I wouldn't say I'm depressed. Just not content, incomplete. I find I'm just not in sync with this place and these people, and that creates a big hole. Maybe it's got to do with the fact that I never really intended to be here long term. I always hoped my countrymen and women would get a grip, allowing me to return. Extremely selfish and lazy of me really. I never really wanted to leave, but leaving was the right choice. It still is and many of my friends have already left or are thinking of leaving. I had the good fortune of choosing a pretty much internationally recognised career, no need for tests or amts to allow me to do what I do, and having the language skills that allowed me to land this gig.

 

 

but did not have the balls to throw everything away and go back.

 

I don't know that I do either. I want to have a plan, not jump in the deep end, ideally with a lifeline back. I'm not one to throw caution to the wind, at least while sober anyway, that might be my malnourished german half.

 

 

Then slowly all those feelings went away, I miss my friends and family but I do not really want to move back there anymore. I go back now every two years because my wife is not-German as well and now we have to alternate the holidays, it is not the same, I am happy when I am there but after the first week I start missing Germany and my home, I do not enjoy anymore the chaos, I am now scared of everything and feel really unsafe, I like rules and people following them. I am a different person now, but I don't fully feel I belong here either. I have now a family and I do not want my kids to grow in the same environment I grew up.

 

So, if you really want to go back, I can only suggest you do it now.

 

I can only hope that happens to me, the problem is, should I have kids, I would like them to grow in the same environment I grew up. That environment has disappeared. Venezuela was never the safest or richest place, we weren't rich or well off, although admittedly not extremely poor either, but I wouldn't change a single thing from my time there, from childhood to university. I would like to give them that upbringing, with all its limitations and faults.

 

I have started thinking about ways to go back. Maybe I'll get to where you are now before they crystallise. Thank you for sharing!

 

I realise I sound like a whinging little brat. Fuck... I hate that.

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The second thing is about contentment, and being able to be content in your chosen life. What I have learnt from the above is that contentment and happiness is a choice. Naturally, there are things that ca destroy that, like bereavement or depression or a myriad others... I am not saying I hae no sympathy for the unhappy (and I have much for you, too) but I trully believe that, at the baseline, there is a choice in how you view your life.

 

(...)

 

Open your eyes to what you have and who, and what, you love. Build a home, here, or elsewhere, through links of the heart. That's my advice, and I think it applies if you stay in Germany, go "back" or move on again.

 

I will now cease to wax lyrical and do some bloomin' work!

 

I wish I knew how to make that choice. I want to make it, believe me. Flip the switch and be content with what I have, which is plenty by any definition. Thinking of that usually only makes me feel worse, there's definitely something wrong with me. I hope I can learn that with time.

 

Once again, I knew I was not alone, but it's really nice to hear from others. Thank you!

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There is nothing wrong with you and it's not always a choice. We all need certain minimum requirements to be happy, and those requirements are different for different people. Once you have that minimum then you can tolerate the other bad stuff. Apparently something is missing for you personally. Other people can judge but they didn't live your life so they don't know if they would themselves feel happy in your circumstances. I spent a long time blaming myself and feeling guilty that I couldn't fix everything with positive thinking. Sometimes you just need a bit of luck to come your way, or to work out what you can change to make it better.

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You can never go back because back no longer exists, but only the surroundings of where back used to be.

I like that line. Can I steal it?

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