The dynamics discussed above – the first between place of origin and place of residence, the second between work and life – are in many ways most compellingly encapsulated in the sphere of relationships. The notion of family exerts a constant pressure on anyone, but for migrants it’s particularly powerful.
This is because family ties pose a permanent challenge to the decision to relocate. And when the wisdom of that decision is seemingly undermined – as many people believe is the case with Brexit – the doubts and the regrets begin to pile up at a potentially overwhelming rate.
I’ve come to know these doubts and regrets only too well just lately. I can’t answer with quite the same certainty when people ask me why I came to the UK. My mother recently passed away back in the States, so for me all the brittle boundaries – between old home and new home, between work and life – have been shattered.
It doesn’t take long to see that others, to whatever extent, are in the same boat. If our sense of belonging is to be found at the confluence of citizenship, work-life balance and relationships – as I suspect it is – then that confluence is marked by a whirlpool around which many of us are now circling.