I have been doing more research about Third Culture Kids and the psychological effects it has in the adult years. Many of the items in this lighthearted 31 Sings You’re A Third Culture Kid article are relatable. Although the article is meant to be playful and upbeat, there are obvious downsides to constantly moving. It’s difficult to form an identity. It’s also hard to maintain meaningful connections to people when you are always leaving. It’s hard on a little kid, leaving a life, friends, pets you loved every 3 years. There are most definitely lingering psychological effects from this kind of life.
Living in China has given me the chance to meet others who have similar backgrounds to me, the global citizens. The ones that can sympathize with my issues and concerns. I sometimes fear that people will peg me as snobbish if I list the countries I’ve lived, so I will typically answer the “where did you grow up?” question with a simple: “I grew up in different places, but I was born in Vancouver, Canada“. Only some curious ones will pry further, I will tell them I’ve grown up in Egypt, Pakistan, Ukraine, Jamaica, and Ghana. All these countries hold a piece of me. They imprinted me. Some more than others. I get cold very easily and the reaction from others is always the same, “but you’re Canadian!” but you see, I don’t feel like I am. I react to cold the same way a Jamaican would react to cold, with misery. Its a beautiful thing to meet someone who has been raised in a similar way to me. It’s a feeling of full-fledged understanding, “relieving understanding.”
I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be happy living in the same place for years at a time. I feel anxiety or fear that I will be the type of person who feels the need to move every few years. Thus never really having any relationships, and becoming the equivalent of the old bat of a cat lady with 37 felines, except with not even a cats love. I do hope that one day I am able to live in the same city and feel truly content. I feel envy for certain people, friends and family who have lived the same place their whole life, seemingly satisfied with it, with the same girlfriend or boyfriend, same job, for years and not worried that they are “missing out”. I can’t fathom it. I do often wonder if I ever really will be happy living in Vancouver for the rest of my life. I find myself incapable of committing to anything.
Time will tell I suppose…