I recently visited the ex-pupils Facebook page from my old boarding school. I hope some old chums will post me, however I only resided at the Franciscan secondary school for three years and not the normal full five years so perhaps any imprinted memory may be somewhat vague. I ponder that I've kept moving on for most of my life. I guess I was born an ex-pat, whenever I return to Ireland to visit my parents I get the feeling that I've been here, I've done this. Am I a stone that gathers no moss? I suspect not. It's just that the moss has many coloured hues.
At the age of 16 I realized that remaining in boarding school would stunt my preparation for adult life. By 17 my girlfriend would sleep over, by 18 I knew my future would be founded in work and travel and not taking notes in a lecture hall. At 19 I had grown disillusioned with advertising and commerce and joined the Army. By 20 I was in London. By 24 I had bought my first house and was a junior partner in business. At 29 I became a Buddhist and at 32 moved to Amsterdam to live with my wife.
I suppose since then the rolling of the stone has slowed somewhat. I did return to Ireland in 2002 at the age of 36 for a career change only to find it a step backwards in time. I still see that boy from Dublin in the mirror, he's not altered beyond all recognition. As I would walk the streets of south Dublin as a young man, shuffling from one friend's house to another, from pub to party, I always felt I was just biding time. That I was not meant always to be with the people of that city, I felt the outsider. I probably felt more at home in international London of all the three cities I have lived, but towards the later years friends were few and many relocated elsewhere in England.
One of the things I have learned over the years is that it is many things to be Irish, it's a bag that you can't let go of even if you wished. It's acquired in the formative years growing up there, but that originates from a collective Karma, it doesn't come from a place but from a people who come from a people who have lived in particular places. I think many ex-patriots reading this will be able to relate to my tale and perhaps you like me have always been an ex-pat.