Tomorrow is a national holiday in my country of origin – a day to think about the makings of the nation and foster patriotism. It is designated as the day the nation was founded, but as the founding of our nation, defined as the day our first monarch ascended the throne, dates so far back that it is said to have taken place in our mythology, no one knows for sure if tomorrow really is the day the nation was founded.
Add to this a few historical reasons of modern times, and it has become a day without big celebratory parties. No parades, no fireworks, no carnivals or fairs, no family reunions. Just another day off from work or school. Quite unusual, is it not?
But I personally like spending this day thinking about the makings of the nation and fostering patriotism. Maybe I like to do so because I grew up abroad and I spent my formative years learning how other nations came about and grew to love them as if I was one of them… and I want to do the same for my country of origin.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my homeland and its culture, and I love my people and their way of living (well, most of the time, anyway!). I am loving it all more and more as I get in touch with my roots. But I always wonder if I love it because I feel I am a part of it and it is a part of me, or because it is so foreign to me that it fascinates me so much and I keep craving it.
Then, maybe it is more like infatuation or lust than love?
And maybe that is not the same as feeling patriotic?
Maybe I am forever unable to foster patriotism for my country of origin?
Until fairly recently, it troubled me that I could not totally identify myself as being part of my homeland and one of my people. And feeling ashamed of feeling this way, I tried to love everything about my country of origin more than any of my people… maybe to a point of obsession. And by that point, I had forgotten about fostering patriotism – all I wanted to do was to prove that I was the most exemplary “one of us” to my people, even if it cost me everything I had learned to be in my formative years.
It got so stressful, I quit trying one day, on the day I finally realized that I had it all wrong.
Maybe I cannot go back in time to regain what I had missed.
Maybe it is too late to foster patriotism the same way my people living their entire lives in my homeland have.
Maybe I already have a foundation established, and building on it something of a completely different nature will only result in instability, no matter how hard I try to solidify it.
But maybe not everything has to be piled up one after another.
Maybe I can expand my capacity and build separate foundations, one for each kind of nature I wish to grow in me.
Maybe I can only be partially “one of us” to my people, but I would not have to stop being “one of us” to all the other countries that fostered me.
Maybe I am still divided within, but someday all my separate foundations will merge and in turn make one big new foundation on which my life will stand on stably. And maybe, just maybe, this will be a new foundation on which my country of origin will make a land loved by all… us and them alike. Now, would that not be a good reason for having a big celebratory party for?