2010. My 31st year. My 5th decade.
It’s common at this point, 2 days into a new year, to do some taking stock and to think about the future. Well, what can I say?
I’m about to embark on a second 3-month stint in Chichester. My life there has been… interesting. The work’s ok, the people are nice, but jewellery isn’t really my kind of thing. I’ve been camping, really. Living pretty much out of a suitcase, lodging with a family, in a room I vacate when they have visitors. All of my stuff is still in storage in London, due to the kindness of friends that has been stretched far beyond the 6th months initially envisioned.
It’s been good to be out of London. It’s been good to be working. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of life, and the easy access to beautiful countryside to walk in. But I haven’t really met anyone yet, and the greatest single component of my ‘social’ life has been my driving instructor. Chichester is a beautiful city, and day-to-day life is nice, but it doesn’t feel like home.
Now, with the second three-month contract agreed, I’m trying to work out how much I can really settle in this city. I need to look for somewhere to live, but how do you do that when you don’t know if you’ll be around in 3-months time? How do you make friends in a town you have no connections to?
The wider questions include how much do I want to be here? I mean, I have a choice. I could chose to settle, or chose to camp for another couple of months and then move on. I have no ties right now – I could go anywhere. Most of my friends are still in London, but each time I come back here I think “It’s really nice to see everyone, but I’m glad I no longer live here”. I’m very happy to visit the Smoke, but I’m in no hurry to move back.
Life really is an open horizon, an undiscovered country for me now. Not only do I not know what is ahead, but I don’t even know by what yardstick to measure choices. I have to take each decision on it’s own merits, which has left me drifting somewhat. I am in Chichester because it was the only job I found. I am still there because it is better than any present alternative.
I have very short-term aims. Learn to drive. Buy a car. Save up for a trip to America (there is a wedding to go to). Maybe join a walking club, or take a course in screenwriting. All rather temporary, really, and non of them give any sense of direction.
The future? I really don’t know. I know I prefer the country to the city. I know I prefer the company of friends, and sharing my life with others. I have a dream of community living, a dream that I hope to share and build on with friends. But the chances of it becoming reality are pretty slim. I have people I care dearly for, scattered far across the world, and I have no idea how to incorporate them into my future. And to be close to some means to be far from others…
I don’t know how to end this post, because I don’t know how to resolve these issues. I stand at the beginning of 2010 hopeful but completely ignorant of what it will bring. The road stretches ahead, full of many possible destinations. I don’t know where I will live, or what I will do, or who I will know…