As of today I am officially a statistic.
I read on a daily basis about 1,000 people a week leaving the Emerald Isle in search of greener pastures for a greener future, but to be personally thrown into this mess is completely overwhelming.
How has it come to this?
I want out.
I am now one of the 1,000 this week.
Lately I had become nauseous at the failure of the Irish government to keep its people employed and prevent them from jumping willy nilly on great big planes to foreign lands.
With further cuts required under the IMF-EU bailout terms, I am at a loss for words. I feel suffocated, and the only means of resuscitation is coming from the Land of the Free.
I never thought I would choose to leave my beloved country because of economic factors. Nor return to education at the age of 30 in a foreign land. Nor look to better myself in the hands of an education system other than the Irish one.
Yet this is becoming the established practice. Emigration, so long the bitter wrath undergone by our ancestors, has come back to bite the younger generation with a vengeance, and we have no option but to all fall into line.
It was late at night when I got the email heralding a new life in America.
I applied on a whim last year, thinking it could be an option if things became bleak and dried up dramatically in Ireland, never really expecting them to for me.
However, I was shaking in anticipation as I clicked into the email from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York, as I now really needed to get a place in this prestigious university.
One night two and a half years ago a small group of Irish politicians gathered in Government Buildings to make the biggest financial decision in Irish history which not only crippled our country, but derailed and damaged the lives of so many of its citizens.
What happened behind those closed doors in the last days of September 2008 is one of the reasons I know Ireland can no longer offer me anything of interest in the short term. I have become restless with it all.
I have given up on the country I love so dear, in search of a new beginning, a fresh start, a different outlook on life.
Why wait in Ireland and pick up this exorbitant tab when I could be bettering myself elsewhere and increasing my chances of job prospects in the long run?
The chilling blow of departure is only softened by the fact that many of my friends are now casually dotted across the sphere, and that I will actually have good friends on arrival in New York.
What has for generations been the land of promise is where I hope I will get my next break, like generations of Irish before me.
When I saw my application for Columbia University accepted, it was not overall joy but mixed feelings that I experienced.
Who would pay my mortgage on my Irish home when I was overseas?
What about the loved ones I leave behind?
Am I doing the right thing returning to study after all these years?
But when those people most important to me urged me to look at this as an opportunity with Ireland still being in a state of limbo as the rest of the world is on the road to recovery, I knew I must take the risk.
I am a part of what they call the next generation. The next coming of Irish people ready to make a new life for themselves anywhere but Ireland.
I am going to New York where the new Irish emigrants are going to, and where the prospects of survival are much higher. Yes, the United States is in better shape than Ireland, but I’m not so stupid as to think it is thriving. There are more opportunities, opportunities I hope will come my way.
With the flow of emigration continuing out of Ireland, it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end.
I once looked at emigration as a curse; I now look at it as an opportunity, a release from the pain endured by so many.
I see Ireland’s prospects as stark whereas the prospects in America are more plentiful and appealing.
I hope by the time I finish in Columbia University that Ireland will be reasonably stable once more and in possession of the type of job that will want to lure me back.
Irish people have often tried to escape tough times by crossing the Atlantic and many have been successful. I just hope some of that luck will rub off on me.
Ireland has sucked up my positivity. I am now desperate for a taste of the American dream.