I came back to Dublin in 1999 after five years away. I didn’t do the whole bar tending trick in exotic places; I just moved away and followed work around Europe, teaching in France for a year, then four years of administration and multilingual secretarial support. In 1999, I had a choice between job in Finland or coming back to Ireland. I gambled on Ireland, for family reasons. After 17 and a half years in Dublin, I am moving on again.
There are a bunch of reasons for this, some deeply personal, and some extremely practical. Someone asked me about 5 years ago if I were going through a midlife crisis when I was considering major league changes to my life and I said no; I was making the kind of decisions again that were second nature to me when I was 25 years old. I left a long term job in 2013 and linked to that decision, did a lot of thinking. I wasn’t really planning, in 1999, to be in Dublin even five years later.
The last 17 years were not wasted. I’ve been lucky enough to make a lot of friends, I’ve learned things, done things, achieved things. Two more university diplomas including a masters in computer science. Pictures of me in newspapers linked to the early days of blogging, pictures taken by me in newspapers linked to the early days of kitesurfing taking off in this country. Me on television for taking kitesurfing photographs. Learning (sort of) to surf, windsurf and kitesurf. Going to Portugal to photograph world champion kitesurfers. Going to Sheffield to watch world champion figure skaters. Going to Brazil, Australia, Western Sahara and Spain to kitesurf. In many respects, the last 15 plus years have been great for me, and there are lots of little stand out stories and quite a few bucket list items. It’s just I don’t and have never felt settled in Dublin and Dublin has not really facilitated me in feeling settled here. It’s hard to settle in a place where putting down roots is so incredibly expensive. This goes for rental and property purchase.
Sometimes you create the scope in your life for opportunities to arise and when I left work in 2013, I set in motion a series of events which now mean I am moving to Luxembourg. For a lot of people, that three year journey might seem awfully long; for me, quite a lot of stuff got concertinad into that period so it was very short in many other respects.
Moving house at this stage of my life, after 17 years in Dublin is daunting. I have accumulated such a lot of stuff, that I glance around and thinking, you know, I must be stark raving mad to be even considering this. But against that is a feeling deep down that sometimes, being loyal to yourself is accepting the challenges that you set yourself. Moving house is a small price to pay for not regretting never taking that opportunity. It doesn’t last forever. At least when I was moving house every 2-3 years I kept a check on my possessions and of course, there was a time when I didn’t have computery stuff to lug around. Being honest with myself, I would regret not making this choice within about 6 months and I owe it to myself to do it. Plus, 15 years ago, it would have been a no brainer of a decision.
In a way, though, it was completely predictable that this would happen. I had conversations with boys I cared for where they revealed they would never leave Ireland, and a small part of me hurt to know that if I hitched my stars to them, I, too, would spend the rest of my life in Ireland bar the odd holiday. It seemed awfully limiting. And I have always known that in a way, it didn’t matter where I lived, there would always be a yarning for somewhere else. A need for something I missed from before. Of course, Lidl and Aldi have dealt with quite a few of those somethings, and couscous is now really easy to get in Tesco. It was not so in 1999. But there will always be gaps, always things I can’t get everywhere.
One of the things I have most yarned for though, is a basic lifestyle thing. The ability to walk to work. The ability to depend on public transport. Rent to have some relationship with my salary.
There are people I will miss in Dublin, in just the same way as there are people I miss in Brussels. There will be new friends in Luxembourg. There will be time developing new habits, finding somewhere to live. There will be trains to other exciting places, new things to try. I intend to learn to skate properly this winter – another bucket list item. And life will turn and change as it always does.