The Ploughing Championships
Festival-goers are already beginning to pour into New Ross, Co Wexford in their thousands. The weather might be damp but spirits certainly are not!
Part of the fun of the annual event is catching up on all the news with neighbours, relatives and friends from other parts of the country.
But with levels of emigration rising all the time, especially amongst young people, there are sure to be some missing faces in the crowd this year.
Lots of questions will be asked about absent daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and friends.
How are they coping with their new lives abroad? Is there any work to be had in London, Sydney, Toronto or wherever the wind has taken them?
Emigrating is a challenging experience for anyone. Managing your independence and leaving friends and family behind can be a struggle.
But what about those who are left behind? Life may look like it’s business as usual, but shrinking social circles can leave us feeling isolated and lonely.
We might still have friends around and people who love and support us, but it can feel like the familiar faces are slowly slipping away.
Friendships are so important. We need people to turn to for advice and comfort, or just a listening ear.
Staying in touch
While everyone around you might seem to be disappearing, staying in Ireland obviously makes sense for you right now.
That’s why you need to focus on staying positive and on keeping in touch with friends, at home and abroad.
Long-distance relationships take work, but luckily, the internet makes communication so much easier. Google Chat, Skype and webcams can help you feel like people on the other side of the planet are just around the corner.
Make the effort
Push yourself to make the effort. You don’t need to send your friend a 1000 – word email, not if you don’t feel like it anyway.
Just drop them a line every now and then to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Or you could try writing them a letter. Sending a hand-written message through the post is a really great way to let someone know you care.
Making new friends
Meeting new people can also help relieve any feelings of isolation. They’re not going to replace your old friends of course, but it’s always great to gain new ones.
So if you’re dropping into the National Ploughing Championships this week, keep our tips in mind.
Make sure to take some photos of all the fun – it’ll help to keep friends and family overseas in the loop about what you’re up to.
Look at it as an opportunity to make some new friends or maybe even strengthen existing bonds with school mates or cousins. You might find you have more friends in Ireland than you thought you did.
And try to stay positive. Who knows? A few years down the line, the Ploughing Championships might be a good excuse for your absent friends to plan a reunion at home.