Métro - Boulot - Dodo
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Life, ‘real’ life, has a way of catching up with you.
I have been aware of a significant contradiction in myself, and as years go by, it has become more and more apparent. On the one hand, I cannot stand still. I always crave change, particularly in my environment. I get restless, bored even of a place fairly quickly. As a kid, it translated in me asking my mum to move the furniture around my bedroom every few years. Growing older though opened up possibilities that were unavailable before. I was finally able to move around as much as I wanted. Whenever boredom struck, I could decide to pack my bags and go...
... and that’s exactly what I did. Since I turned eighteen, I have not lived in one place for longer than a year. I have lived in seven different apartments, and that’s not even counting the intermittent times spent at my parents’. Writing it down makes it sinks even more. I’m never here nor there.
On the other hand, I also constantly miss home, wherever that home might be. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like going on holidays for too long, that wants to believe there’s nothing better than home. I get jealous of people that stay put, that have had a home for years, that can enjoy the company of friends and family everyday if they want to. I crave familiarity, comfort and a stable environment. I have a certain fascination for people that have lived in the same place all their life, that have never even moved to another city. I envy their certainty that there’s truly no place like home.
I fear routine as much as I crave it. There’s something wrong here.
Those thoughts have been with me for a couple of weeks now. I look back at the last couple of years and it makes me think. Moving back to Belgium two years ago was a blessing. I needed to come home, to settle down. I however always knew it wouldn’t satisfy me for long. It didn’t feel like the right place for me, a place where I could grow into whatever I wanted to be. The restlessness came back. Thus my move to a whole new continent seemed meant to be.
This move has been the craziest I have gone through so far. There were many things to consider, many administrative tasks to tackle and a lot of unknown parts that had to be figured out along the way. Life was unpredictable, free from responsibilities. It was hard. It wasn’t glamorous. Not having a home sucks. It drains you, constantly looms over your head.
We went through it. Over two months later and my boyfriend and I have made progress. We have moved to a new place, bought a few pieces of furniture. We emptied our suitcases. We started investing into more permanent goods. When I walk around our apartment, I can now be satisfied of the fact that all of it is ours. I have a job, I pay my bills.
And just like that, ‘real’ life has caught up with me. I now get up every morning at the same time. I commute to work, religiously listening to a couple of podcasts on the way. I go to my classroom, puts my bag down and take my computer out. I teach everyday, to students I now recognize. Faces have become familiar, names are known. I talk and listen, I teach and correct, then the day is done. I commute back and I’m home.
The routine I was craving only a few weeks ago now scares me. Because routine also brings out in the open a side of me I despise: laziness, which in turn brings boredom. And when boredom hits me, when I have time to do whatever I want but I don’t do anything, I start to wonder what it was I was so desperately looking for? That’s when I get scared my life has no meaning. That’s when I get restless, that’s when I start to think the grass might be greener somewhere else, maybe just a little bit further.
These contradicting feelings make life exciting in a way, but also frustrating. It makes me wonder whether this restlessness is going to come to an end once I find my ‘calling’, or if I will forever look for something that doesn’t exist. I have started to think that what I’m looking for is not to be found anywhere else than within myself. What is required isn’t a new country, it isn’t a new home or even a new job: it’s discipline. What I need is to make time for things that stimulate me, or that make me move forward.
It’s a difficult task. It is much easier to sit on the couch and turn on Netflix than it is to try and figure out the meaning of life. It is easier to think about the next thing you’d want to buy than it is to remind yourself that material goods will not bring you the satisfaction you’re craving. It is even more difficult to try and build something meaningful when that something is not valued by society, when it doesn’t provide you with the money you need to pay your bills.
That’s what I need to figure out for myself now. That’s what this blog post is for. It’s a wake up call for me to start doing sh*t. I’m never going to feel at home as long as I don’t decide that I’m home, that this is it and that’s all I need. That’s all I need because a home isn’t going to be what defines me, nor what I do. The rest is up to me.