It’s April. How did this happen?
Time goes by so fast and so quick at the same time. On the first of April 2012, I lugged 80 kilos of baggage halfway across Europe, taking the train from London to Brussels and from there to Cologne and then a succession of smaller trains to my hometown in southern Germany and finally being stranded in the nearest bigger city with no more trains going that day and my sisters waiting to collect me and my miscellaneous belongings in the car. In short, I moved back home to my parents’ place after trying and failing to find paid employment in London.
Temporarily, of course. No way was I going to stay with my parents for longer than necessary. It’s not something that can be recommended once you’ve grown up and lived by yourself for more than ten years. I sent applications to all the corners of the world. I also applied for unemployment money, because obviously, this, also, was going to be temporary. Something to help me over until I could land one of those elusive things called ‘job’. I remember how resentful I felt about the whole situation and how my mother was so happy to have me back and so worried for me and my future at the same time. We went for a long walk, that first weekend I was back, and everything looked so spring-pretty and fresh and full of flowering trees and buzzing bees and chirping birds, and I felt so unhappy and sullen and depressed and tired.
Now it is a year later, and I find myself contemplating the time that has passed. The last year has seen my 30th birthday being celebrated quietly and unassumingly with a beer in a random pub in the old part of Heidelberg with a good friend. It has witnessed me bashing out the first and (so far) only full draft of a novel. I spent a lot of time photographing things like flowers, stones, leaves of grass and clouds. I started teaching myself Spanish and how to draw, continued practicing my guitar, learned some design principles and set up three websites without any prior knowledge of how it’s done. I bought all manner of art supplies and dabbled with acrylic paints and stamps and pictures and glues and papers, just for the fun of it. I spent a lot of time walking the dog and talking to myself. I started reading a lot of fascinating and beautiful and funny blogs and made some great connections in the blogosphere. I attended the wedding of two dear friends and explored a bit of beautiful English coastline with my youngest sister. I cleaned the house an approximate number of 5 million times, cooked countless meals, spent time with my siblings, my grandmother and my parents. I envied my parents flying off to a trip around the world lasting seven months – the envy is gone, the pride in them and the joy at their happiness remains. I’ve had about 356 sparkling new ideas – for stories, for projects both arty and written, for events and things to do with my life. Recently, this year has seen me being hired as a mentor and actually be paid for actual work that I’m actually really good at.
I think the last year can be likened to a small lake somewhere in the forest. It’s been very quiet, almost hidden and reclusive, very introspective and contemplative. A calm surface. When I zero in on the details and draw closer to watch the single drops of water, though, I can see all the microcosm of life that is pulsing away and multiplying and growing and changing underneath. I can feel the quality of the water slowly changing. It’s starting to move and I think there might soon be a little brook that will connect the lake with a river. I’m not sure where I will be in one year’s time and I’m not making any plans, but I’m hoping for this: expansion, connection, new paths where the water will flow freely.