We are all migrants of somewhere

This insight arrived this morning in my inbox 📨. An insightful opinion piece from Sarah Haider, entitled “poor by choice is not poor” {here}.

We are living their legacy

Sarah focus’ on the freedom of choice presented to third generation immigrants derived from the graft of their forebears. And the mistake made in thinking their plight equates to that of those who came before. A mistaken comparison, she argues, because this latter generation get to choose a meaningful life over a well-paid trajectory. Migrant forebears just made much of what met them from their leap.

We all came from somewhere

I think many can relate to this. I certainly can. And I think many others should, but do not. Living off of the effort of our forebears – there hides a duty to make that count. A gratitude missed.

Analogously, I am that same third generation immigrant. Not that my grandparents or theirs travelled far. Nor anyone I have traced in lineage dating as far back as 1750. The era of George II and the last Jacobite chapter with Bonnie Prince Charlie. My lineage sits squarely around Hucknall, Nottinghamshire; and Church Gresley, Derbyshire. We did not move far.

Economic migrants from past ages

Yet, this era of 1750 onwards was a period of European wide mass-migration. Labourers driven towards urbanisation, farmland upheaval, power struggles of state, Parliament and faith. Plenty of reasons to escape. Many found different paths to today. My forebears migrations were from presumed serfdom towards pottery and coal. Plenty of muck, but little brass. Plenty of blisters, but few miles in-between.

Class migration

The common theme is that all survived the hardship of those times, and made do. My father joined the Royal Navy to escape that option poor cycle. He worked hard too. Sacrificing much so that I had more. And working himself slowly upward to an officer from the ranks. Living by his wits, his intelligence, and steely determination – determination like few others I know. From Junior Seaman to Commander. From missed 11+ to earning an MA in Military Strategy. Emerging from a sea of God fearing labourers, my father was the migrant of class who took to the sea, to provide for my brother and me.

So I too am that third generation immigrant. My father migrated class whilst maintaining all the class of working hard. Enabling me to get a degree. Enabling me to find meaningful well paid work in the City. Enabling me to eventually be free, as I near age 50 to be born anew and begin a life less bound to tomorrow’s debt. My third generation immigrant status, as a migrant from the harder working class, to that of working more leisurely toward what most interests me.

So I am mindful of all that, as I prepare for life 2.0. That’s my relationship to my past, and my preparations to begin my PhD. That’s my third generation migration journey. My PhD aspirations, founded upon my migrant forebears, my ever present enabling father, and me.


Follow the below link to comment:

This post began on LinkedIn {here}. A few have shared their related story on that thread. I have enjoyed reading them too.

Coming up

My next blog will give a little insight into the happenstance that accompanied my successful PhD application. A first peak into what that new chapter may be, but mostly a story of being at that academic border crossing, and being let through.

To be continued…