It is a hundred days until I fly out to London. A hundred days until whatever this is that I’m doing begins.
I wanted to write a post about it. About my move overseas and about the plethora of emotions that are along for the ride: the excitement, the sadness, the fear. About how all these things are spinning around me and crashing into each other and how strange it all is.
But all I can think about is how a hundred days is really not a long time.
It’s a hundred sunrises and a hundred sunsets. At least as many hot showers in my own shower with the water pressure and temperature set perfectly (is it strange to think you’ll miss a shower?). A hundred nights in my own bed. A hundred nights in my family home. A hundred nights in my home town. A hundred nights laying awake at night wondering if I'm doing the right thing.
A hundred days is nothing. Two thousand four hundred hours. One hundred and forty-four thousand minutes. Eight million, six hundred and forty thousand seconds. Nothing.
Amongst the excitement and the fear is a restlessness that has only reared its head in the last few days. Which I guess makes sense, this is generally a time when people feel restless for something different, something new. A new year, a fresh start. A chance to get right what we’ve been getting wrong.
Except my restlessness feels a little different. It’s almost like these last hundred days are a test. A test of my will to do this, my desire for exploration and change and a life I cannot find here, my strength to do this even when I’m not sure I can. Because as the day draws closer it becomes clearer exactly what I’m leaving by going. Of all the things that form the kaleidoscope of my life, a great many are here in this wide brown land. And in a hundred days I’ll be very very far away from them.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt and I’m sure there is truth in that. But familiarity breeds other things too. And sometimes the familiar is the closest thing you can have to knowing who you are.
Despite the restlessness I find myself trying to savour moments. Trying to capture things and fold them up and put them somewhere where I’m sure I won’t lose them.
Those warm Australian summer nights that are just beginning to appear in my part of the world. Listening to the sounds of the cockies that live in the pine trees that mark the back border of my parents property as they settle in for the evening. The smile that dances across my nieces face, the laughter that spills from my nephew, the smell of home, the noise of my family - smells and sights and sounds I'm trying to burn into my memory. All these pieces of my life that are so familiar will, in a few short months, be replaced with so much that is not.
A friend told me recently that many of these things, and even some of the people in them, will recede once I leave. And that this happens more easily that one could anticipate. I’m just not sure I’m ready for that. Yes, there are parts of my life that I would happily see recede, to a point where they become ornaments in a past not worthy of examination. But there are parts of my life that I feel the urge to hold on to tightly. Things I don’t want to recede.
I wasn’t sure I was ready to write this. The past few hours have been spent writing and deleting and writing and deleting. And thinking about those familiar things receding, even when I don’t want them too. And wondering if maybe the restlessness is a way to ignore the sadness that is increasingly a part of my emotional response to moving. Sadness for the people that mean the most and the way I won’t be a part of the landscape of their everyday existence. The way I will recede from them.
And then I think about spending time in Ireland and seeing family in England and friends in Scotland and being so close to Berlin and Barcelona and Prague. And all the newness and exploration and adventure that awaits. I think about how important this is to me, how so much of the past few years feels like preparation for this. And suddenly a hundred days feels like forever.
Someone asked me the other day what my plan was. I haven’t really figured that out. I have some abstract notions, some ideas about the first few weeks and maybe some possibilities about the months that follow. But it’s really quite fluid. There is every chance I’ll be back in a few months, that I’ll fail miserably at whatever it is I’m trying to do and come home. And there is every chance this is it. I don't know and I think that's a big part of both the excitement and the fear. I just don't know.
What I do know is tomorrow will be ninety-nine days.