Living abroad in a big, scary, new place can sometimes be overwhelming. I’ve nearly lived in Berlin for five months now, and I have begun to see a change in my attitude to this mad city that I currently call home.
When I first arrived in Berlin, I did so many things in that one week, more than I had perhaps achieved in the year prior. I had boundless energy, I was excited, I was terrified, I was seizing everyday and squeezing it out, giving every minute a purpose, even if it was sometimes just writing in my diary or calling home. I had no friends, no where to live, no job and I was electrified with determination.
Now, things are slightly different. I have a permanent roof over my head, regular fixtures in my social calendar and some income. I am safe. I am settled. While there is still so much of the city left for to explore, I am just as likely to be found curled up at home watching Netflix as I am drinking at a bar, or visiting an art installation. It’s a fact of life that growing roots into an area often comes with a layer of comfortability that stops us from discovering the ‘new’.
But today I realised that actually, I am here in Berlin for just a short time, not a long time. Groundbreaking stuff, I know. With that, my thoughts extended to a scientific look at the way I live my life. I have always been queen of procrastination, of avoiding confrontation, of not asking for what I really want. There has always been tomorrow, and the past has taught me there always will be. And with that realisation, I immediately decided I wanted things to be different.
When I arrived in Berlin, the world was my blank canvas and I was excited to start throwing paint. I then looked at the picture I had created, declared it good enough, and hung it on my wall to live under for the rest of my days.
That’s not to say the picture isn’t any good. I have a life here that doesn’t even feel crazy to me anymore, I’ve met people I feel like I’ve known my whole life and I’m starting to know the area like the back of my hand. I am grateful to be out of the first week madness, I am happy, I am secure. But I do not want to return to the UK with a suitcase full of what-ifs. I am at worst, complacent.
It’s time to take the metaphoric painting off the goddamn metaphoric wall.