Balancing act: Walking the tig

Balancing act: Walking the tightrope between two lives

How do you strike the balance between your new home and your old?

Balancing act: Walking the tig

Things have been a bit wobbly lately. Just when I seem to be on track, walking tall along my tightrope existence, the weather turns and I’m teetering.

Just below me, on either side, run my two parallel lives. One slightly further away is filled with family and support networks, people I have fallen back on for every one of life’s hiccups. And on the other side, physically closer to me, but much much further away, is a cluster of new faces in a not-so-new city I still haven’t quite gotten used to.

You see, I haven’t mastered my balancing act. If I’m not draining myself trying to put in twice as much effort in maintaining two lives, I’m over-indulging in my current existence and being plagued with guilt for not taking the time to keep in touch with my old one.

What I’m going through is not unique to me. Millions of migrants before me have belonged to two or more societies at the same time. Many more have had no choice but to embed roots in a host country and cut all ties with their first home.

All of us who are fortunate enough to have chosen to leave one country for another can relate to having to adjust to each new world we encounter. The fun part about being an outsider is the opportunity to re-invent yourself. And I don’t mean in the leading a double life sense, but in the way that you can become a better, stronger version of yourself. The tricky part, however, is then striking the balance between being well-adjusted and holding on to home.

It’s not easy when you’re feeling stuck in a place where friendships are shiny and new and everyone back home is carrying on without you. It’s almost as if you’re in a perpetual state of missing something. Throwing yourself into a new life and testing out new friendships is no easy feat. True friendships take longer than a couple of months to nourish.

But once you’re feeling a bit more settled and a lot less friendless, you start to get caught up in your new life and catching up with loved ones back home slips lower and lower down your list of priorities.

It takes missing a Mother’s Day family picnic, a birthday, a wedding, or a casual night in with the girls, to make you feel spectacularly awful. You promise you will make more of an effort to stay in touch. You bombard your family and friends with messages because you’re actually not sure how to show someone you care and that you think about them all the time when you’re just too goddam far away.

I’m getting there, slowly. Most of the time I keep balancing and I’m not even sure how I’m doing it. Maybe I’ll never get to the point where I’m walking backwards along my tightrope and juggling my two lives at the same time. Maybe I haven’t faced the strongest winds yet.

But I don’t see myself giving in just yet.

For as the wonderful Dr Seuss says:

“Be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”