Living Overseas, Losing Your Identity

As described in the previous article, we live overseas. Now we have lived in the same overseas country for more than a decade and this eventually changes who you are.

After a decade the countries of origin that we knew have changed while we were away. How could it not change, given that everything is dependent arising? Dependent arising means that all things and events that we experience rely on manifold causes and conditions, including our own karma. Because all things and events arise due to this complex tide, they must dissolve and be folded in to something else.

Of the three types of suffering, the ‘Suffering of Change’ is the second type. We are familiar with dependent arising. Despite this familiarity we still find some changes difficult when we visit our country of origin. These difficulties are from seeing relatives age, seeing a government with a negative agenda take power, seeing more cars on the roads, and other changes that seem to be for the worse.

After a decade of change, we are no longer familiar with our countries of origin

  • Our knowledge of news and events is no longer relevant and our views are dated.
  • We have the view of an outsider looking into current news and events without the narrative from the past decade
  • We have missed out on much of the lives of our friends and families.

Despite having lived in the same overseas country for more than a decade, we do not fit in with the locals.

  • We have none of the childhood, school, and university connections in our overseas country.
  • Our accents are still the same, and give us away as impostors as soon as we open our mouths. This can sometimes be difficult for others to understand and other times people can find it engaging.

By living overseas it gives us the opportunity to recreate our identity and be whoever we want to be. For example, if we say we are Buddhist then it is accepted at face value. If we want to be compassionate and kind then that is accepted as who we are, even if we were not those things in the past.

Love, @happy_ops