What do you think of when you hear the word “re-entry”? What does it signal to you? The end of an adventure? A new beginning? Something you don’t really want to do? A relief? Your attitude towards re-entry has an impact on how you experience it. So I want to suggest that sometimes you need reframe your re-entry.
Why a negative view of re-entry?
Many people have a very negative view of re-entry because of the way they look at it. Which of these thoughts do you associate with?
- others I know have really struggled with re-entry
- it’s the end of my adventure
- going “home” is not really home at all
- no more travelling for me
- life won’t be so exciting anymore
- I’ll just be “normal”
- my family have sooo many expectations of me
- no one will want to hear my stories
- nothing will have changed…
Doesn’t it sound dull? It’s no wonder you end up dreading re-entry if those are some of the thoughts running rampage in your head! But hang on a minute – some of those ARE realities, and there’s no escaping the fact that it’s the end of this particular chapter and your family are who they are. Having a different mindset isn’t going to change them altogether. True.
The other side of the story
BUT what if that isn’t the end of the story? What is you have more control than you think you do?
What if … (I’m mirroring the statements I wrote above)
- struggling through re-entry also adds richness, growth and experience to your life?
- there are new adventures waiting to be found around the corner?
- you can find a new place called home in a country that used to be home in a different way?
- it was still possible to travel and explore?
- there was excitement and contentment in the every day and in new places?
- you don’t have to be “normal”? You can still be as weird as you like?! Who determines that anyway?
- you can build new relationships with your family to make it work for all of you?
- there were ways to tell your story which didn’t threaten others? Or you could find others who did want to listen to your stories?
- subtle changes have taken place and you can investigate and uncover them?
So much is about mindset. In the survey I did a couple of years back (with Cate Brubaker and Doreen Cumberford) on re-entry, only 26% of the respondents said they treated re-entry as a new adventure. That’s a pretty small percentage. Perhaps you could increase that score! You were an adventurous person when you left your home country, continued to be so while overseas – so why not now, in re-entry? Continue to be that adventurous, curious, weird person!! You don’t have to change those things just because you have come home.
All it takes is a mindset shift, a reframing of your re-entry. But sometimes you need someone to help you make that shift. Someone to walk alongside you to help you stay positive and curious as well as acknowledging the ups and downs. If you don’t have someone in your life who can walk alongside you, consider finding a re-entry coach or specialist who can support you. Do get in contact if you need help finding the right person for you.
14th November 2018