Then 2018 hit, like a ton of bricks.
Sometimes you see life coming. Sometimes you create a perfect storm of inspiration and experiences. And sometimes life sneaks up, hikes your shirt over your head, and shoves you into open air, leaving you flailing for purchase.
2018 seemed determined to be all of those things. It’s very difficult to put my thoughts on the past year in to words. In some ways, it was a fantastic year, full of beginnings, positive changes, discoveries, and amazing people. Yet, it was also the most shattering year I’ve yet experienced. How does one even begin to tackle coming to terms with such a year?
I won’t take things down a personal path for too many paragraphs, but I feel that I need to get a few things out before I can continue writing about much else.
Moving to the UK was supposed to be a limited engagement. I thought I’d live in a quirky old flat, pick up a bit of an accent, and enjoy the perks of weekends across continental Europe. There would be mornings in the Alps, afternoons next to azure seas, and evenings spent with my feet borne along cobbled streets amidst centuries of history. At the end of it all, oh the stories I could tell!
“Say, son, what’s that one you have about the taxi? You know, the one with the horse and that tourist with the flammable trousers?”
“No, do it with an Irish accent! Yeah, it’s a shitty accent, but do it anyway!”
Mind suitably expanded and wanderlust tempered, the 2-year tour would draw to a close and the embrace of home would call.
That was the plan.
It’s been 4 years now and … I suppose you could say some things have changed. I’m starting to think I didn’t sign up for a tour, afterall.
After the first couple of years, the signs were already there that I’d ticked a slightly more permanent box on my immigration form.
Things were already looking good before I chanced across someone entirely incredible. The one thing they don’t tell you when you start dating is that you may actually be successful. I mean, that’s inherent in all the marketing, but there’s a part of you that never really believes it.
I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to find her. It’s pretty amazing to meet someone who not only fits in with your life, but whose life is mutually supportive of yours. For a while there, I thought that was something that happened to other people, for the purposes of Instagram and social bragging. Turns out it’s a real thing! Who knew. I honestly feel like she makes me a better person, and I hope she finds something similar in me.
2017 absolutely flew by in a haze. Scotland made another appearance. As did a couple of new jobs. The East was traded for the South West, which was quickly usurped for the North. It’s been an experience.
Yet, for all the good the past year brought …
Sadly, 2018 saw the loss of someone very near and dear to me. It was far too soon, far too sudden, and I was nowhere near prepared to say goodbye. I’m sure he wasn’t prepared, either. There’s a lot more processing to do, and I have no idea when I’ll fully come to terms with the loss. I’m not sure I ever actually want to. Not entirely. There will always be an empty space in my life where he used to be.
However, the things he taught me, the person he was, and the values he personified, they’ll always be with me. Someday, I hope to pass on the things I learned from him. I’d love to keep his spirit alive as much as possible. While I don’t want to glorify him – I’m very aware of his strengths as well as his weaknesses – he was a good person. I think that’s something worth aspiring to. I also think he was an incredible guide for those aspirations.
It’s been a tough year, to say the least.
All said, putting these words down in type has helped. I certainly wish I could change certain aspects of 2018 … but I’m also immeasurably thankful for the positive changes it brought.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. I’m looking forward to getting back in to regular posts. Travel has happened, and the internet must know about it!
Until the next adventure, readers…