A Woman Who Spent Over 4 Years Living Abroad Says She's 'A Shell Of A Human Being' After Moving Back To America

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

sad woman sitting by window Liza Summer / Pexels 

Making a major life decision is bound to feel like an upheaval, even when it’s a change you’ve chosen. Transitions are disorienting; whether you’re graduating from college, switching jobs, or moving to a new place, it takes time to feel settled enough to thrive.

One woman revealed how disheartening her life has become since she moved back to the U.S. after living in Ireland.

The woman, who spent over 4 years living abroad, feels like ‘a shell of a human being’ after moving back to America. 

Kayleigh opened up on TikTok, sharing why her life abroad was happier and healthier than her life here, saying, “Ever since I moved back to America, I feel like I’m just fighting an uphill battle that I’m never gonna win.” 




RELATED: American Woman Shares The 4 Reasons Why Moving Abroad Is 'Worth It'

Kayleigh is a U.S. citizen who lived and worked in Ireland for a little over four years. She said, “While I was there, I met my now fiancé, who is from the Netherlands, so I spent a little bit of time over there as well [and] essentially experienced what it was like to live as a European.”


She and her fiancé moved back to the U.S. to be closer to her family and “to experience living in America as an adult because the last time I had lived in America was when I was in college.”

"Since I’ve moved here, I feel like I’m turning into a shell of a human being," she said, citing the lack of work-life balance as a major stressor.

“I just realized that I don’t feel value as a human being in this country, in this way of living, which is sad and might sound dramatic to some people, but because I’ve experienced the difference in different cultures, lifestyles, the way that they’re treated, the way that they live, I cannot get that experience out of my mind,” she said.

A Woman Who Spent Over 4 Years Living Abroad Says She's A Shell Of A Human Being After Moving Back To America Photo: Valeria Ushakova / Pexels 


She described the extreme differences in work culture between Europe and America, explaining that her life abroad didn’t revolve entirely around work like it does here. In Ireland, Kayleigh was given 29 paid days off per year, not including holidays, which totaled 10 or 11 extra days off from work. 

“I felt appreciated. I felt like I could work hard and I could take a break, and that was respected,” she said. “I wasn’t contacted on my days off. I was never told I couldn’t take a vacation day when I asked.”

“Fast-forward to living in America, I have had seven paid days off in the last year, and that’s even going over the time I was allowed,” she said. “So, if, for instance, I quit my job today, I would owe them money for some of those vacation days.”

She's been denied vacation time when she’s asked for it “like, seven months in advance” and was told to use vacation days when she had Covid because she’d run out of sick time. 


RELATED: Woman's Description Of Her Homeland Puts What It Means To Be A 'Third World Country' Into Perspective

Kayleigh explained why living in America feels so hard: ‘I make enough money to pay my bills and barely have anything left over.’

“I came to America thinking that I would make more money and save more money, and it’s the total opposite,” she said. “As of today, I do have less money in my bank account than I had when I moved here from Ireland, and it’s been a year and a half. That shows how much I’m spending just to buy my food and pay my rent.”

She revealed another significant change in her quality of life, noting that her “health has gone downhill here, no matter how hard I’ve tried or how much money I spend on healthy food.”

“My clothes from Ireland barely fit me,” she said. “I eat super healthy. I’m active … I go to workout classes every day, I do Pilates, I try to get my steps in … Yet for some reason, my waistline is still getting bigger.”


“But within the first six months of moving to Ireland, I lost 50 pounds that just melted off somehow, even when I was going to the pub, living my best life, drinking many, many pints, going out to eat a lot, the weight fell off,” she said. “So, it’s frustrating when I’m here, and I’m trying my hardest to be healthy, yet I’m going the opposite way.”

A Woman Who Spent Over 4 Years Living Abroad Says She's A Shell Of A Human Being After Moving Back To America Photo: MART Production / Pexels 

Kayleigh shared that she’s thankful to be near her family, but she still feels like she’s 'taken steps back' since returning to the U.S.

She acknowledged the gratitude she does have for her life, saying, “I know that I have a roof over my head. I can pay my bills. I can buy healthy food.”


Yet, she declared that she feels the way many people in America feel: “You work so hard, and you’re just stuck in the same place.”



Kayleigh’s time abroad lifted the veil on the various ways that living well in America is designed as a luxury meant for the few rather than a lifestyle to be shared by all. 

Our quality of life deeply depends on our sense of worth and value as people. Americans are told that their jobs should be the main focus of their lives, yet aren’t actually compensated for doing so. 


We live in a wealthy country that doesn’t extend that wealth to help people live healthier, happier lives. It’s no wonder that people who’ve lived in places where there's way more social support find life in the U.S. to be majorly lacking. 

RELATED: The 7 Best Places To Live Rich —​ Without Much Money

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.