It’s Friday morning, nearly afternoon. I’ve been awake since 6:30 this morning, which is a miracle considering my average bed time has been 4:00 am.
My morning started like most other mornings: a bit of grumbling, a lot of stumbling around the flat, a cold shower to wake me up, pills and inhalers, and a quest for coffee. Half an hour later and I’m walking out the door, texting a friend to tell them I’m on my way.
We’re moving to our new flat this weekend, and they went ahead of me because we had a delivery scheduled for the morning, apparently as early as 7 am. Neither of us really enjoy mornings.
The day moves on, almost as mechanically as the morning. At the end of it I should be happy. It should have been a good day. Our gas and electric bill is set up. We got a lot of things moved. We managed to get our internet connected. And after several hours of moving things, waiting for deliveries and figuring out how to adult, we ordered pizza and played Cluedo as we sat on the floor of our half-empty living room.
A new flat. I’m nearly done with my postgraduate degree. Soon I’ll be working full time. I’m at the start of that thing I’ve been working toward for so long: a career, a home, building a life with people I care about. All good things, things that I know I should be happy about.
Instead I feel tired. Overwhelmed. Scared and alone. At one point in the day I will find myself feeling stubbornly determined to do well, find a job, and prove that this is where I’m meant to be. At another point I start to wonder if I really do belong here, if I’m really going to be okay, and whether or not I should just book a flight home for Christmas and give up on trying to stay here.
It’s Sunday afternoon. Friday was a bit of a stressful day, but I was hoping that my downcast state was only a result of little sleep, not enough caffeine, and the typical stress that comes with moving. I’m not going to lie, though: I’m still struggling.
This weekend I’ve felt like my mind is anywhere but where it needs to be. My body has been dragged along, moving large suite cases and heavy backpacks down the road to the new flat. My room in the old place is nearly empty. The drawers are empty, the shelves no longer hold books or pictures. Even the walls are empty – the wall of white board sheets with my notes and ideas and questions and graphs and charts, where I’ve worked out so much of my dissertation and my general understanding of my research area. It’s all gone now.
I know that, realistically, it will take me maybe one or two more trips to finish moving into the new flat. But for some reason I’m not ready to leave this place. It isn’t the most glamorous of homes: screaming drunk students outside most nights, the upstairs neighbours who we’re convinced cook while trying to learn how to use a pogo stick, the terrible stove and overly ambitious oven, and the general joys of living with seven people.
But I’ve spent a year of my life in this flat, and with all of its flaws and quirks I’ve come to love it and call it home. It carries with it a sense of familiarity, safety, and certainty. I knew how long I was going to live here. I knew while I was here what I would be doing with my life. But things are different now. I know what my life looks like between now and the start of October. Beyond that, I have no idea.
It’s Sunday evening. I spent a lot of today cleaning the old flat and a lot of time lying on my bed, staring at the now empty walls, trying to process what I’m feeling.
My phone buzzes. I sit up on the bed, reach over to the bedside table and pick up my phone. It’s my friend, who is already living at the new flat. She’s not done moving, but she slept there for the first time last night. This morning I was set on not doing the same until I absolutely had to next weekend.
We’re making cupcakes. You can come join.
I sigh, but move to put my shoes on. I text back to say I’m coming.
I grab my keys, throw on my backpack and move for the door, then stop to look back down at my phone. I take my backpack off and place it on the bed. I pack the posters I took down earlier, my R2D2 pillow, and a few sets of clothes. Maybe I’ll sleep at the new flat tonight.
Life is weird, and growing up isn’t always easy. So much is changing and I’m scared. But I have people around me that I care about. We’re all going through scary changes together. I’m going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.