Different things to different people

As this January comes to an end, the word counter hasn’t moved by an inch, and that’s because it’s been a bloody long January this time around.

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I’ve returned to our capital this weekend to leave it for good. I was there to pack up the rest of my stuff, hand over the flat, take care of some final details. We drove there with my best friend – a 10 hour drive across the country (8 hours when he drives) – with an agenda to get through over the long weekend and a clear schedule in my mind to make it happen. We ended up smoking away most of the time, getting next to no sleep and getting everything along the way done just in time to make it over the hurdles. I’d like to teach my kids not to procrastinate – but I would be lying to them, because I do it notoriously and it proves to work out every time. The only thing this weekend has emphasised for me is that if you’re going to procrastinate anyway, there is no sense in worrying about it while you do. Worrying’s just neither here nor there. Do what you do fully, even if its as simple as doing nothing.

I’m going to spare myself and you the whole ‘end of a chapter’ crap because it didn’t feel this way. Leaving the empty flat for the last time, seeing the big city disappear in the rearview mirror, saying goodbyes to people (promising to stay in touch but both of you know that the other belongs in the out of sight out of mind category) – none of that horse. Am I getting old?

Well, there¬†are good reasons they didn’t occur. First of all, the flat wasn’t empty when I left it, it was already being scoured by potential new tenants, no room for nostalgy to be had. Also, the car was packed so full that all the rearview mirror gave us was a good view of one of my suitcases a few centimeters behind me. Importantly, there were no goodbyes to be said because I’m happy to say I’m running out of (or phasing out?) people in the out of sight out of mind category. My best friends need no goodbye, because it doesn’t matter where we are.

The biggest reason, however, was that I’d already gone through the ‘end of a chapter’ crap way ahead of this weekend, around a year ago, when I fled the capital after isolating myself into a dangerous state of mind, a limbo of smoked-away days melding into one another. I could reason that it happened in the middle of a lockdown, but that would cover merely half the truth, because the isolation was just the catalyst. Do you know some idle ex-couples who split up over being forced to spend time with each other in lockdown? It’s much the same on your own: if you’re not happy with where you are, spending time with yourself is agonising.

So, when I left the capital a long time ago to head back to my parents’, that was when I felt the chapter ending. This time, when I returned, the city already felt foreign, like they usually do when you don’t belong to it. It’s odd to consider how much this city that is nothing to me means to other people who will be waking up tomorrow in familiar setting and go about their day. They’ll feel that this place is important to them, that they’ve got ties there, have built something important. I’m not counting me out, I will feel the same thing somewhere else again, until I don’t, and everybody rinses repeats. Let me tell you after what has now been a few years in three different cities (four if we’re being pedantic): they all mean nothing, and if you are putting effort into pretending otherwise, you’re wasting energy. Overboard local patriotism is a sign of unfulfillment. Find people you love and stick with them, where you are is irrelevant.

And where I am right now, thank you very much for asking, is on a train ride home, whatever home means for this leg of my life. It’s late, and I’m about to fall asleep; and the last letter I took out of the box in my old flat came from law firm that’s asking me to pay a hefty sum (for something I didn’t do but won’t be able to prove) or it will sue me; and I’ve felt gloomy since New Year’s where I overdid it on many levels and even more accounts; and I’ve had to face the fact that I’ll be sitting around twiddling thumbs for another year because I can’t enrol; and all this made for a bloody dreary month; and yet tonight, my dear, that month will be ending and when I wake up tomorrow, I will have made it through!

Or, in simpler terms: Keep your head up – it all passes.

All except one: Blogs remain bloody stupid!

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