Welcome to the strangest week of the year!
You ever had an event, or a date to go to, and the other person, or group of people, are making you wait while they get their shit together? You’re in a sort of limbo, twiddling you thumbs, scrolling on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, trying to be patient, because you! You, have been ready for hours! You and your well organised self are eager to get going!
Yet, through no fault of your own, you are made to wait. You feel like you’re wasting your time, make up is getting worse by the second and your once neatly ironed outfit has now a large crease on the bottom from being forced to slump on the sofa.
You start to think “why am I even waiting?” This, is exactly how I feel, in the last week of every, single, year…
Come on December! You’ve been crap. Again. Just like all your mates. Now take your final bow and bugger off, so I can once again, set unrealistic goals, with no constructive plan in place to achieve them. Tell myself that next year will be better, that things will be different. Things will be good.
Yet come February, I’ve eaten all the leftover Valentine’s chocolate, lonely on the back of the shelf. Accepting the fate that I, like this chocolate, have been left behind while everyone cracks on with their goal achieving lives.
Well, not anymore! Not this week. Welcome, to the strangest week of the year. Better known as my own personal limbo.
Get sat down, there’s tea in the pot.
A little background. I turned 28 in November, my life isn’t exactly what I thought it would be at this age. I’m not at the top of my career, I don’t have that wonderful caring husband, nor do I have a toddler (mostly because I still feel like I am one) and another bun in the oven! That’s okay though! A lot of people feel they’ve underachieved at the end of their twenties. (Or so I’ve read from the occasional meme and life altering Instagram quote)
I left the beautiful countryside suburbia of my hometown Lincoln, England for the desert snow globe glass city of Dubai when I was just 21. I had landed a job, – which I’m still fortunate enough to hold – as an air hostess (flight attendant, cabin crew or trolly dolly if you will) for a rather successful, middle eastern airline. It’s the dream isn’t it? Travel, ‘glamour’, seeing the world, all prepaid! And it is.
No, really, it is – I’ve danced in Rio, hiked in Cape Town, skipped along the Great Wall of China, received the worse sunburn imaginable in Sydney (even though it was their winter #gingerproblems).
I’ve water skied in Mauritius, eaten mussels in Aukland, made coffee in Ethiopia, cooked BBQs in South Korea, drunk wine in Argentina and built a snowman in Toronto. I could go on.
All in all job wise, I do travel, get paid well, and I suppose, I feel safe.
Having said that, I live with a complete lack of routine, with few too many sleepless nights (make that weeks). Timezones, jet-lag, insomnia, sleep comas….it can all take its toll.
You see, I missed christmas. You know the type you have with a tree….Oh! And a family, watching terribly cringe-y movies with jokes worse than what you pull out of a cheap cracker from Poundland. Matching pyjamas and paper hats, roast turkey and brussel sprouts.
Yeah, I missed that.
Now, I’m not trying to get your sympathy! I’ve missed many a Christmas, as a lot of people have.
Yet you never know how in need of it you are until you reach this unforeseeable limbo week.
I landed back in Dubai from Bali late on Christmas eve after a solo, ‘Me, Myself and I’ holiday to the Gili Islands. It was an impulsive getaway that I don’t at all regret. Although it was the final light to shine bright enough to make me see that I needed to do something.
This route I’m currently on is darker than that of the rabbit hole with floating pianos and “Eat Me” cakes.
At the bottom, I fear there won’t be a wonderful adventure to entail, yet more of a of long line mistakes, missed opportunities, and regret.
I met some wonderfully talented, interesting people in Gili, all with stories to tell of how and why they were there. What they’re learning. What they believe in, and why. Every night I was expecting some enlightening conversations – deep, meaningful, life changing experiences and lessons from other peoples’ stories. Actually, I was craving it.
Yet I could never get to that point, I had some great nights of course. I just never felt comfortable enough to really open up.
To embrace it all, because – well, I believe I came across as boring, and, well, mundane. They’d ask me ‘What do you do?’ and I’d get stumped! What does that even mean? My job isn’t who I am, is it? Yet, what else am I left with? I have stories maybe…but…
I no longer know.
You see I use to have this passion, this drive. Things I loved, things I hated, and now…Its like, nothing is here. I can barely stay focused enough to watch a movie without getting distracted or bored. Even if I could, I’d spend the first half hour wondering what i’d even enjoy to watch. I use to dance, draw, run, walk. Get lost for hours in my own imagination, going through the maze in my brain of subjects I adored. Now, like Jon Snow, I know nothing about who I am, were or will be. I don’t know if it’s a quarter life crisis, or a need of self-love. Either way, something needs to happen.
Being around these brilliantly free fellow backpackers in Gili made me wish I went home for Christmas instead. I was craving those Christmas days I had as child, curled up on the sofa with my mother, sifting through the bounties in the left over Celebration boxes (the Galaxy’s always are the first to go!) The bad movies, the paper hats…
Here, I have arrived. Six and half years after moving away from my own country, away from all those Christmas memories and I fear I’ve lost myself at 40,000ft, somewhere over the Indian Ocean.
Now I’m running uphill, against the crosswind, trying to regain something. Anything.
Who am I? That’s it right there, the caterpillar asked Alice, and now the mirror is asking me. When the Shisha smoke disperses, I’m hoping to find an answer. Right now, it’s a dense fog, a potent smell, and an incessant light headedness.
For anyone is reading this – even though I’ve accepted that this is more of a ‘self help project’ sort of thing – I may seem rather upbeat for someone who is at a complete loss. You see, I’m looking at the bright side of things. Or trying to.
I’m curious to roam the dark hidden corridors and broom cupboards in the depths of my heart, which are in desperate need of some Dettol. I’m looking forward to putting on my rubber gloves, dusting off all the lives lessons I missed the first time.
I see this as a chance to become someone I want to be. Someone I actually like. Someone with that passion and drive.
And so, I will box up the year. Put it on the neatly lined, dust free shelf, along with the others. Close the door with a whiff of bleach stinging my nostrils. Breathe. Carry on cleaning.
It’s time to change.
And now, let’s be be pretentious and quote Alan Watts:
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Now, if you’ll care take my hand and accompany me to the floor. I think I know this song.