I was reading Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace a couple of weeks ago, and close to the end of the book, I came across this passage:
And boy, did it resonate.
Last weekend, it was my birthday. My twenty seventh year has probably been the biggest period of change I’ve experienced since I left home at 18, and certainly the biggest amount of change I have had such little control over.
Right now, I have purple hair, two relatively new piercings, a fair amount of credit debt and three housemates I met via the internet (although they are very lovely). I have friends who are married, friends who are engaged, friends who have children, friends who own their houses. There’s a gap here that’s only widening.
I would never have chosen to be in this position. Twelve months ago I thought I was moving away from impulsively dying my hair, spending recklessly and living with more than one other person. I thought I was becoming more of a grown up.
But then, I would never have guessed the trips I’ve taken, the job I now have, the odd but awesome little corner of East London I now live in.
I would have laughed at the prospect of running a marathon and getting my LiRF. Even the idea of cycling to work would have seemed crazy, something I would be too scared to do.
And I certainly wouldn’t have spent my birthday in the company of so many lovely, generous, brilliant friends (most of whom I’ve met through our shared love of running), without having the year I’d never have chosen.
In my drafts folder, I have a post I’d been working on that speaks about how much can change in a year. It really can. I’d written how in the last year and a bit, I’ve been in four different jobs and lived in four different places. I had felt a bit lost, but I was writing about how now, at the end of 2013, I am finally in a proper, grown-up, progressive job that I am (or at least will be) good at and how I am living in the city I love with the man I adore, after 18 months of long distance. (It was all a bit smug really.)
Then, just over a week before Christmas, the man I adore decided he is no longer happy in our home, and left. And now, comparing my life to 12 months ago seems frankly ridiculous, as the biggest change has happened almost immediately. A lot can change in a year, but then even more can in just one moment. There’s a lot I don’t know now, including where I’ll end up living.
I thought I had 2014 all sorted and settled. As if life is that simple. Last year, I tried to set new goals at the start of every month, and review them as I went along, as I thought this ‘bite size’ approach was better than leaving the same unattainable targets hanging for a whole year. Well that didn’t work either. If these last few weeks have taught me anything it’s that as much as I want to be an organised, super planned control freak, a lot of the time you just have to roll with the punches. So that’s what I’m trying, and will continue to try, to do. Change can happen at anytime, someone just needs to inflict it.
So, here’s to a year full of uncertainty. A year of being strong no matter what happens.