I recently up and left the family home for Manchester on five minutes’ notice.
It was a good three weeks or so before I found somewhere to live, and before then I spent time between a truly lovely Airbnb and the Gardens Hotel which I’ve not yet heard the end of. Moment to moment, every day felt on the good side of normal. No sleep deprivation, no sporadic crying from feeling overwhelmed, staying organised. In retrospect I can see it wasn’t the plain sailing I felt it was at the time. I enjoy a good stay in temporary accommodation as much as the next nomad does, but I quickly learnt that I have a limit. The month wasn’t made any easier for the fact that it was bookended with two holidays; a disaster in Amsterdam and joy in Barcelona. Sandwiched between flights I spent a lot of time binging Netflix, learning to snowboard and eating M&S’s end of the day double reductions. I was manic in overcompensating for the stress a spontaneous move like that puts on you.
My first week in the flat was littered with mistakes that made it impossible to settle properly. Not turning the fridge and the heating on were the pathetic highlights of these errors. To paraphrase Eat. Pray. Love., there’s a very different energy that comes with traveling to somewhere and living there. It took a while before I really got shit together and did so many of those basic things that define routine and belonging: putting a wash on, taking the bins out, learning how to use a fan oven. There was a moment when I realised that not cleaning up the confetti from my housewarming was a warning sign of impending misery, not cute and manic-pixie-dream-girl like. Just as when Ben from Parks & Rec loses his job, makes weird dolls with his free time and says “could a depressed person make this?!”. Yeah, that’s exactly what a depressed person would make. The cute confetti was my weird dolls.
A few weeks ago I headed to Paris, and before our first night we left our Airbnb for a beautiful hotel just round the corner. In having to deal with an Actual Issue (with the help of the darling that is Vicky) I realised what I did and did not need in my life. Didn’t need unnecessary confetti, did need New Girl and good books and to drink two litres of water a day. Bouncing around the country is cool and fun but it’s not everyone’s long term solution, especially if you’re neglecting the basics of looking after yourself for the sake of it (speak to your friends! Wash the mug you drink tea from every so often! Get enough sleep!). Working on my art and music are both huge things that affect my happiness, and not being able to do this during my Manchester transition period was a real bummer.
I’ve still not got my internet properly sorted. A lot of evenings I find to struggle find motivation and I don’t feel settled enough to go back to Derby yet – not sure when I will, to be honest [by the time this is published I’ll have gone back]. There’s still some confetti laying about. But I’m learning to cook new meals and I don’t really have bad days. I’ve already made memories here that I think will last me a long time.