Posted by: seehowfarwevecome | July 3, 2016

This is what it feels like…  

It’s a beautiful Sunday evening in London and I smile at the chance of a quiet evening, at home, in my room, with no bag to pack or place to go. I’ve been in the country for the last two and a half weeks and I realise that it’s probably the longest stint I’ve had without an airport trip for several weeks. For once, it feels quite nice to be slowing down a little. This is what it feels like to be in London again.

Tom moved out this week, back to the Midlands, to embark on a brand new journey and career change. I blink in quiet disbelief at where the time has gone since he arrived in London, in West Hampstead, towards the end of 2014. We spent our last evening together at the flat, watching England take a beating from Iceland, talking about our Icelandic adventures last year, which seems so long ago now.

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This is what it feels like… to reminisce on Icelandic adventures

Not one for goodbyes, we had a hug and a ‘see you later’ moment, as I left for work Thursday morning. When I got home that evening, in typical Tom fashion, he’d left a bottle of prosseco and welcome card for our new flatmate, Selina and I in the kitchen. Just like the fizz and chocolates he’d leave me when I was working like a crazy person last year, not even coming up for air on weekends as I tackled a mammoth global programme and kept myself busy so I never had time to think.

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This is what it feels like… to remember working like a crazy person through 2015

Then in my room sat another card, just to me this time, perfectly titled ‘Seize the Day!’ It was Tom’s echo to the plate I painted a few weeks back and the blog I wrote that same weekend. Some lovely words inside and I was holding back tears through my smile. How apt that Tom would get me a card like this. It was the perfect finish to our time living together. The perfect symbol of how much Tom ‘gets’ how far we’ve come.

I recall the day Tom moved in. I had just arrived off of a night flight from NYC and I stood in an empty room that would become Tom’s, silently disbelieving how quickly my world had been turned upside down in the space of a week or so. Seconds later Tom and his dad arrived, with the usual moving shenanigans – boxes, suitcases etc. We stopped for a drink, and I pretty soon addressed the elephant in the room and thanked them both for being so reasonable in light of last minute changes to plans and the tenancy arrangements we’d previously made. “These things happen” said Tom, and “it’ll be alright, you’ll see. Now help me with these boxes.”

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This is what it feels like, to inspire someone to seize the day

I soon learnt that was Tom’s way to get me to deal with things. Move on. Don’t dwell. Find a way to move the needle. Find a way to shift things forward. Find a way to keep going in the right direction. Yet over the following weeks that was easier said than done, but Tom was adamant it was possible. Every time I felt a bit sorry for myself he told me I was doing just fine. “You’re good and you don’t even know it yet” Tom would say. He was right, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. “You don’t even know how good you are, do you?” he would say.

So as Tom help to build me back up, alongside many other friends and family members, our friendship grew. Then last August, I received a lovely, somewhat rambling message from Tom, telling me to chill out, take a holiday, stop working so damned hard and give myself a break. Which I did, in Dubrovnik for a few days. Thereafter, some of my balance began to come back. My year of burying myself in project work had to come to some kind of end. I needed to make some space in my life again. I needed to heed Tom’s wise words and start taking risks again. I needed to slow. I need to let myself think. To let myself feel. To let myself be ready again.

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This is what it feels like, to say farewell to a fantastic friend

My readiness took some time. In truth, the arrival of 2016 really marked my turning point. Perhaps, not so coincidentally in light of the fact that my project ended and I finally had a bit of time to breathe again. I finally had no more excuses. No more work to put in my way.

So what of 2016? Well, as we reach this mid-year point, I welcome another new flatmate. For the first time ever, I am living in a flat solely of girls. The HR Exec, the Private Banker and the Medical Consultant. It’s harmonious and fun. There are a lot more candles burning and fresh flowers in the room these days. There’s a lot more shopping, and a lot more fashion shows when our asos orders arrive. There’s also a collective sense of fun. Of making our readiness to take on the latter half of 2016 a fun experience. Of enjoying the moment. Of taking chances and never being sorry for a might-have-been.

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This is what it feels like, to inflict the Piano Bar in Kensington on Tom!

Tom rolled his eyes when Selina and I got going. That slightly exaggerated, wry commentary of women being more mental in pairs and encouraging each other. Yet as Tom was leaving, he admitted that I was anything but mental. A bit crazy and impulsive sometimes, perhaps, in a fun way, but largely, pretty sound. I laughed and joked with him. “I wasn’t always like that Tom, I’ve done a lot of work to be this sane.” He smiled, knowing that I will always want to be that person who seizes the day.

So this is what it feels like, to be looking forward to the rest of 2016. To close a chapter in my book and say see you later to Tom. To have no more ties to my old West Hampstead world. To be setting up home with two fab ladies and to be excited for the adventures and stories we can share with each other.

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This is what it feels like, to hang with a little princess in the July sunshine

This is what it feels like to wish Tom well on his way. To smile inside knowing that his new vocation, as a teacher, will serve him well. To know that so long as he supports his students the same way he has supported me, he’ll be amazing. This is what it feels like to be sad to wave adios to him but to know he is seizing his day today.

So this is what it feels like, as well, to close my project at work. To see resources that have been on this journey with me for the last two years roll off the project. This is how it feels like to come up for air again and have some time and space. This is what it feels like to wonder what my next chapter will be? To try to enjoy a more regular pace.

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This is what it feels like, to smile for the promise of tomorrow on Hampstead Heath

“You look really well” Reg said to me today “you’re radiating, really radiating”. I explained that I get more rest these days; that the hurricanes in my life are slowing to a gentle breeze. That I get pleasure from things I used to do. That this is what it feels like to look back on yesterday and know I made it to today.

We both took a walk on Hampstead Heath today, meandering our Sunday afternoon away and reflecting on old times, old stories. I would stop to pat the many dogs out on their runs. We would sit and look at the water, lying on the grass and pondering the ripple effect.

I told Reg that I painted last Sunday afternoon, just because I felt like it. I told her that I have a tendency to slow down and get bored, but that I know I need to enjoy a slower speed for a while.

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This is what it feels like to feel to be home

I told her about today, when a reminder of yesterday swung by my street.  I told her how this is what it feels like then, for that moment to happen.  For that encounter to be okay.  For that reminder to simply draw a smile and an appreciation for a friendship that had to be distanced.

So this is what it feels like then, to be blogging at home, and not at 36,000 feet.  This is what it feels like to do so in what feels like a new home.  In a new month of the year.  In what feels like, a new start.

 

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