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My sister’s son turned 16 yesterday.
We got around to the age-old chat about time going so quickly. When we returned to Ireland seven years ago, her son was the same age as my nine-year-old ‘baby’ is now.

Time flies is a cliche. But cliches can only become so if they are true and repeated.

Sliding Doors

The windows of time we have to enjoy with loved ones are continuous – and relentlessly – opening and sliding shut. Predictable but unpredictable.

Mark Manson calls it the Uncomfortable Truth.

This problem is exacerbated when we emigrate.

For some, windows shut unexpectedly and far too early. For others, they remain open for a decent length of time, and we do not feel robbed. We always want more, but we will not always get it.

For Annemarie, this happened unexpectedly while we were overseas. When we returned, another door slammed shut within weeks.

We know it will happen.
We try not to think about it.
We cannot avoid it.

What we can avoid is pretending that it doesn’t happen.

When you have children, another aspect comes into play. The time your children have with your parents is limited. The overlapping of two lives is a thin sliver through which the sun shines in our lives.

We all know how important family is in our formative years. Some are lucky enough to bask in that sunshine whenever they choose, some not.

Do you remember your father ranting about leaving both front and back doors open? Living overseas reminds me of this.

The windows of time are a tough one to reconcile for emigrants. It is a delicate balancing act between your wants, needs and opportunities. Creating a happy family life while remaining aware of your close relationships – parents, siblings and children. The unavoidable risk of keeping one window open in the front and another at the back.

At any moment, a door can slam.

And you are left picking up the broken glass.

James Parnell is the founder of A New Dawn in Ireland community and provides online coaching for anyone inspired to change their life.

This article is an excerpt from the book A New Dawn in Ireland. If you would like to be notified when the book is published simply register here.