When I booked tickets to head home for the long Easter weekend, I was looking forward to taking a ‘breather’ – I hadn’t left the big city in over 3 months and missed the countryside. So besides baking, drinking ridiculous amounts of tea and hanging out with my family, I took a long bike ride, went for two woodland walks and did cartwheels on a deserted beach at sunset in front of a stormy North sea.
I was almost surprised to find that the countryside still exists when I’m in London – it’s so easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day triviality. It’s easy, having spent several years living away or at university, to create an idyll around the family home.
For many, the place you grew up has become a safe haven, a place of fun and fewer responsibilities, but it’s also a bit haunted. I fell back in love with the familiar surroundings, but in doing so I risked falling back in love with lifestyle, the boyfriend, the crappy job… It’s a slippery slope and I needed to get my shit together.
Admittedly, I’d begun feeling a little lost. I had reached a point at which I had stopped feeling like I was progressing along the road of life. It’s not hard to lose momentum, to lose the feeling of achievement in day-to-day life.
I do have a long-term plan, but the long-term trajectory is almost too big to see and this is easy to put aside in comparison to the immediate, all-consuming daily grind. You put it off, again and again, and then suddenly your ambitions have evaporated.
I really needed to get my shit together.
Back to my ‘breather’. I trust no-one so much as I do my family, when it comes to helping me make progress. I knew there were things I needed their help with. But, as ever, there was a lot of talking (over cup after cup of tea, no less) and thinking, but I wasn’t geared up and raring to make a change…
Then, I had some gut-wrenching news. Having gone for a quiet pint with an old school friend (the only person I still make the effort to see when I go home), I ran into some friends of my ex. I was quite surprised at how friendly they were, but thankful that he wasn’t there. One of the guys did the whole ‘but, how are you?’ thing… I was brutally honest and I think that’s the reason I got a brutally honest response:
‘He’s very happy with her now’.
WOW. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know my stomach could actually feel like it had dropped through the floor. But it did. I hadn’t a clue what to do except carry on talking and resolve never to return to that particular pub.
When I got home I cried.
The next day, all I really wanted was to get back to London as soon as I could. But that desperation soon transferred to something bigger and better, something that will take a lot more work but benefit me much more in the long-run. With the wondrous advice of my Mother, I soon saw my family home for what it was: my starting point.
Sometimes, however hard it is, you need to remind yourself where you started in order to regain perspective and remember how far you’ve come on your desired path.
I left home (and the boyfriend with it) in order to follow my dream – a dream that is not realised yet and will still be a few more years in the making (at least). I know, and always knew, in my heart of hearts:
If your dream doesn’t reside there, then neither should you.
Since that evening about 3 weeks ago, I’ve turned things around. It was horrible at the time, but exactly what I needed to spur me on, to prevent me giving up and just slipping back into old habits. Now I really feel like I’m getting my shit together.
(Originally posted on Aliljoy.com on 12 May 2014)