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Taking Up Space: Advice on the timing of moving back to a home country

Welcome to Taking Up Space, a series using the power of tarot and oracle cards to offer real-life advice for real-life people. Why the name? Because I view tarot as a home, a structure, in which there are 78 rooms (aka, the cards). We all live in this house, visiting different rooms at different points in our lives, sometimes camping out and sometimes peeking in to turn off a light or grab something we forgot in a dresser drawer. No matter what, we all deserve to take up as much space in these rooms, stay as long or as little as we need, and know we’re always safe and supported. THAT, to me, is the power of these cards.


But wait, there’s more! Tarot, in conjunction with the advice and guidance of an expert or person who has been through something similar is even more powerful, which is why I’ve asked for their help with this column.


For previous columns, click here.


DISCLAIMER: The advice in this column is not meant to replace the personalized advice and guidance of a professional. For entertainment purposes only.


About today’s expert:

Meredith Borders
Meredith Borders

Meredith Borders is the Senior Contributing Editor at Fangoria and editor of the 2022 book Shudder's Creepshow: From Script to Scream. Her essays have been published in film study books like Science Fiction Theatre and My Favorite Horror Movie, and she has contributed as a programmer, jury member, and panelist at genre film festivals across the world. A Texas native, she's currently living in Germany and working on her first novel. Support Meredith by following her on Instagram or Twitter @mereborders, and by subscribing to FANGORIA magazine at shop.fangoria.com.


Today’s question:
"I know I want to move back to my home country, but I'd like to know more about the timing."
Rider Waite Smith tarot deck: Top row, from left to right: Seven of Pentacles, Queen of Swords, The Magician, The Hierophant. Bottom row: Ace of Cups
Top row, from left to right: Seven of Pentacles, Queen of Swords, The Magician, The Hierophant. Bottom row: Ace of Cups

What the cards say:

Seven of Pentacles is about waiting and watching, watching and waiting and might be a reflection of how you’re feeling about a big move like this. If there’s no solid anchor or deadline pulling you back with certainty, yet you’ve made up your mind, it could feel very liminal or stagnant right now. Queen of Swords asks you to commit, to make a decision, set a goal, establish a threshold and stick to it. Sometimes, we need to make our own deadlines to help move us out of our comfort zones and into the future. Give yourself enough time to feel good about the transition, but then, start a plan of action.


The Magician is a great teacher and motivator. He often comes to me when I’m in a place of doubt after I’ve made a big, scary decision. If he had one catchphrase, it would be, “You have everything you need.” Sometimes we try to push things back, push dates into the future indeterminately, wait until we feel more ready or have all of our ducks in a row. The Magician says, you must take the first step, for there is no perfect moment, action on your part is needed to get things moving in the direction of your decision, and you are the one who needs to act. It can start with something tiny, like setting up a Google alert for job openings in your future desired location or researching housing or rental markets to make the transition seem more real.


Perhaps once you do take a few steps toward this move, the keys to your path may be fairly traditional, according to The Heirophant. This could point to something in higher education or dealings with government, healthcare or something else institutional acting as a pathway to your new (but not really new) home country.


And finally, a bonus card, the Ace of Cups jumped out of the deck as I was shuffling with a message of love overflowing. This desire to move back to your home country is of the heart, and it wants to thank you for taking the time to acknowledge it, plan it and move forward in whatever way it manifests. By choosing this desire, you are choosing love.


What Meredith says:

My husband Matt and I have spent a lot of time thinking about this exact question. After spending our first forty years in Texas, his job brought us to Cologne, Germany, in November 2021. We’re contracted to be here for two years, but as with many overseas moves, the details are nebulous. There have been plenty of chances for us to go home sooner than we planned; there’s certainly a chance we’ll stay longer.


I calculate a lot of different factors when considering my own options. I love it here, and it’s unlikely any other opportunities will bring me back to Germany once we leave. This feels like the time we’ve got to be here, however long it lasts, and though life could surprise us, once we move back home, that will feel like a very final goodbye to an adventure I have treasured.


Of course, on the flip side, I miss my loved ones. I spent four decades building up a community in Texas, and there’s something particularly alienating about not even being on a similar time zone, making remote friendship more difficult. And as you well know, ex-pat life is extremely uphill. Everything is complicated in a language and culture in which I’m far from fluent (though I’m working on that every day). There’s a double-sided argument to that, too: the longer I stay, the easier it gets. Do I really want to leave before I get “good” at Germany? Do I want to go home right as everything starts to feel less uphill?


Of course, there aren’t any easy answers here, for me or for you. All I know is that right now, my time here doesn’t feel finished. When the opportunity to move to Germany arose, I had a strong yearning to get out of Texas, to try something new. The timing felt ordained (though we then had to go through months of logistics before the move actually happened, and I don’t relish the idea of reversing all of those logistics once it’s time to go home. I’m sure you can relate!). Perhaps this is passivity masked as faith, but I don’t think so: I believe I’ll know when my time here is up, when the homesickness overtakes the adventure, when I spend more time missing life back home than I do embracing my new life here. There will be hard choices ahead, but I’m trusting my gut to tell me when it’s time to go – and for life to facilitate that instinct, as it did when my gut was telling me it was time to leave Texas.


All of that said, I willingly admit there may come a time in the future when I look back at these words and laugh at my naivety, when I’m mired in a truly impossible decision and have an exactly equal number of pros and cons canceling each other out. If that’s where you are now, well, I’ve been there before. The times in my life where I’ve been stuck in the middle of two options that are balanced on all sides, options that are equivalently appealing or unappealing from every angle, and it feels unthinkable to choose between them? Then I just choose. I make a choice, maybe even at random, and utterly commit to it. I don’t let myself second guess, and I do everything in my power to make the best out of whatever path develops from that decision. When there’s no objectively right choice, the only right choice is the one that you make and stick to with absolute conviction.

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