It’s 00:34 and I can’t sleep. Maybe I owe it to the two coffees I’ve had since 6pm, or maybe it’s the fact my mind is whizzing around within itself and no matter how many Netflix episodes I watch, it won’t stop.
361 days. That’s how long I’ve been in New Zealand. It’s now November, and that is terrifying to me, ’cause I swear I just blinked and this entire last year disappeared. I had a list of goals, or resolutions for my return home, and in actual fact all I’ve done over the last 12 months is chase my own tail in hopes of finding my space. Finding where I belong in this little country, and figuring out how I actually want to live my life here.
In London, I was a reader; I was a writer; I was an adventurer. Even after three and half years of living in the Big Smoke, I made a point of making most of my days off. I would adventure into a new museum, seek out a cafe to read a book in, go for wanders and explore. Over the last 361 days, I have not finished a single book, I’ve barely written a blog worth reading, and I have not adventured out of my town as many times as I would have expected or liked to. And, to be quite frank, it’s uninspiring. I feel like I am either:
a) Finding it difficult to find my true self now I have the openness of New Zealand.
b) I’m losing who I really am because I am no longer in London.
A rock and a hard place type situation if you ask me, sounds dramatic but it’s a hard thing to process. And this last year has been a process. I’ve been trying to figure out why it’s been so hard, I thought coming home would solve everything; back to the comforts, back to the people who have known me the longest – oh how I was wrong. In reality, London was my comfort zone because I had space. I’m a thinker, I “deal with”( or try to) in an emotional way, and in London – where I was one in eight million odd – I had that space to expel my thoughts outwards. Into the busyness, and the faces that walked past. Yes, this busyness fell somewhere into my reasons for leaving, but the ability to disappear into a crowd I took for granted.
Now that I am home, I am one in 40,000. I am back to being in a family. I am back to having fewer friends, and back to feeling like my life is under a microscope. People are more interested in my life here, in London the people in my life had their own ventures and desires to consume their days with. And that interest, that love and curiosity, is so new to me. I’m used to being on my own, and having to protect and serve myself. It seems silly when I write it aloud, but I struggle with the constant interest in my life almost as much as I did the feeling of lack of support which lead me to move here in the first place. I feel like the opinions and thoughts of others are louder than my own thoughts, and I feel confused by the lack of direction in my own mind.
So, really, what has happened over the last year?
I suppose I have grown. And I’ve learnt new things. I’ve played trial and error on my employment and living situations, and I suppose both are better than they were November last year. I’ve met new people, and rekindled old friendships. My life here may not be the fantasy and dream I imagined it would be, but when is anything what’s advertised. I need to trust in the fact my life is happening as it should be. It may not be fast-paced, excitable nor productive, but it’s a start. It’s been a year of settling-in. And, maybe, this next year will be even more settling-in. I need to keep reminding myself that that’s okay.
One year. I guess I live in New Zealand now.