So here I am, Gatwick Airport, it’s the 26th of November 2018 and 7 years 10 days to the day since I last changed my life forever and as I sit here listening to Jingle Bell Rock, while watching the departure boards flick over and simultaneously fascinating over how busy the Harry Potter shop is, my thoughts fall back to when I was doing this as a bright eyed 23 year old.
Maybe I’m just getting contemplative in my ‘Old’ age or maybe I’ve turned into a walking cliche but either way I came through security and just had an inexplicable urge to write. So now I’m writing in my journal, because apparently I’m journal-ling now? Like I said, walking cliche but hey it’s happening so here we are.
Now when I say journal of course what I really mean is free notebook from work and by free notebook, I mean stolen notebook that I pilfered following a prosecco fuelled goodbye speech which involved me sobbing uncontrollably while my lovely 20 year old colleagues, who were also prosecco fuelled might I add, watched on unsure as to what to make of this whaling state of a person who had only been working with them for 6 months. Well I mean if you’re going you should go out in style right? Of course most of these lovely 20 somethings had no idea why I was crying, I didn’t really know, all I knew is it was happening and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I guess in order to explain, I should go back in time a while to explain how I got here if for nothing else but to extinguish thoughts that you’re reading a blog written by a depressive lush who gives impromptu and unprompted leaving speeches and who may burst into tears at any moment because that’s merely only 50% true.
So where was I, oh yes! Gatwick airport 7 years 10 days to the day blahlahlah, you get the premise. Here I am about to get on a flight to Calgary and change my life forever AGAIN! FUN RIGHT? Right! But also fuck-ing scary and after a big tough old 2018, my general feeling is… ‘Can I not just stay in bed?’ Because as much as I’m very excited about this next chapter, there are some other feelings being felt (WARNING REAL TALK INCOMING).
So what am I really feeling about all of this? To be totally honest I really cannot be arsed. I can’t be arsed to do the brave thing, I can’t be arsed leaving my family and currently my general urge is to run back through security, call my ex, tell him I love him/we’ll work everything out, get married and have kids in a lovely home in the burbs, BOOM SAFETY MODE ON. I want to go and make sure my Ma is OK and help her look after my beautiful Grammy whose once amazing brain is failing her, I want to go hang out with Charlie Brown, our 10 year old Choc lab who is pretty much the best animal to have ever walked the planet and I want to go and wrap my brother in bubble wrap/cotton wool/some sort of zorb like protection device to ensure he never gets any horrid tumours in his lovely noggin ever again.
But I’m not doing any of those things, instead i’m trudging against the grain and through what feels like industrial tar in the other direction. At this point I really have no idea how my legs are moving but I know they are and it feels as though I’m watching my body go through the motions while it moves itself to Canada.
Now to be clear, this trip is not as outlandish as it might first appear, I teach skiing and snowboarding for a living and the whole leaving thing is par for the course. So much so that you would think I’d be used to it by this point and just a casual ‘See ya later’ would suffice but oh no, there’s always very extended hugs, lots of leaving meals/drinks and usually a full on fan fair on my exit, all at my request of course.
So as I sit here lolling at memories of the last few years while simultaneously crying as people look on confused and bemused at this crack pot furiously writing in her ‘free’ notebook I’m thinking about the last time I moved to Canada. My main thought when thinking back to that time 7 years ago is “Ho-ly shit I had no idea what was about to happen to me” I wasn’t a ski or snowboard instructor then, I was fresh out of uni, in a large amount of debt and on my way to live in one of the most expensive places in the world, peroxide doused hair and sporting some Amy Winehouse esq eye liner moment. At that point I’d never had a relationship and if asked I would scoff and make some loutish remark which would suggest I couldn’t imagine anything worse…
I had no idea that 7 years, 10 days, countless friends, several inhabited countries and 2 wonderful relationships later, I would be making my way back to Canada again solo and this time to train people like my former 23 year old self to become ski instructors. This is what I’m keeping in mind as I have minor freak outs about leaving again, to just keep going, keep living your own life and keep gaining experiences and just see what might happen! Because although ridiculously scary, look at the things you can gain, from moving in a way that you need to and that is authentic to you.
It is nice to think about that now actually, after a year and a half of trying to squeeze my square peg of a self into the very round hole of London life and what constitutes success as a 30 year old woman living in the UK. We’ve all known about it for a while but never has it ever been so apparent as when I’ve been living in London, the city of success! Especially after turning 30 earlier this year and from what I can gather becoming elderly. It’s the strangest thing that you can be 29 and 364 days and you are in one bracket and people view you in a certain way and then that clock ticks over to mid night and the world expects you to have aged immensely, announced your upcoming marriage and/or your first child along with your imminent move to your ‘forever’ home.
So you can imagine my confusion to suddenly be feeling like I should jack in my ‘Outlandish’ hopes and dreams of travel and work so I can reproduce and be seen as a successful 30 year old woman. Because this is what I’ve learned from living in London, ‘Good’ job + long term relationship + subsequent family plans = successful woman.
So I guess with that barometer I am currently laughing in the face of success and walking the other way and the main thing I’ve found myself thinking after coming to this realisation of what success means for most is ‘Are some people getting married and making plans based on the huge pressures of what is expected of them by society?’ Or maybe because they are terrified of the alternative? Because don’t get me wrong over the last year that was 100% the reality of my thoughts. The thought of having to go through a break up after nearly 6 years together? Couldn’t be arsed, the thought of having to move out of our lovely flat? Couldn’t be arsed, the thought of dating other people COULD NOT BE ARSED and oh bloody hell the thought of potentially getting someone else to love me?! You get the picture.
Needless to say all those things minus the last did happen and it was as guessed a massive heart wrenching, life changing, fucking inconvenience. I am still having days where I can’t see past the rose tinted moments of my former relationship, but all I know for certain is that I’m still getting on that flight and I must keep going.
So here’s where I’m at, I’m sad and contrary to what people have told me a lot over the last few months I am very scared to be on my own in an airport with no idea of the place I’m going to or anyone I’m going to meet.
My main reason for writing originally was for myself and to get these thoughts out of my head and onto paper to try to gain some clarity, however I’d like to think this may be of some support to anyone who might be struggling and feeling like they don’t fit into the expected picture of life as a young person today.
I personally feel like the things I enjoy reading the most are the honest pieces and I hope I can look back on this in a few months/years time and feel happy that I told the truth rather than simply posting a picture on Instagram at the airport/in front of a mountain smiling with some inane caption covering up what I’m really feeling, because FFS we’re all trying our bloody hardest but it’s not always as easy as plastering on a filter and BOOM immediate happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of how great this adventure is/will be and I feel very proud to have got to this moment and to have created this life for myself, but please rest assured that we all have our struggles and I hope you’ll join me on this trip into this next chapter and unknown world while laughing/intermittently crying in the face of ‘Success’ and trying to live as true and as happy a life as we can, to find our own happiness within ourselves.
So I’ll leave this here for now with a giant ‘To be continued’ on my new life in Canada. Oh I’m going to be in Fernie BC by the way, which I’m pretty sure is going to be like stepping into an episode of Fargo, except with less body log churny death ending (I hope) So on that cheery note, I’m off on my flight.
But before I go, just a quick note for all those struggling with daily internal battles, anxiety, pressure and major life changing decisions that feel impossible to make, just know that you’re not alone and we’re all in this together, just trying to work it out. I for one think we should help one another to see what’s real and what’s not and lean away from the constant competition, so that’s what i’m trying to do by sharing. Stay safe lovely people, keep talking and thanks for reading.