For the best part of the last two years, I have been sailing down a beautifully calm river in a warm environment with my soulmate and lover by my side. Our home was our haven. It was beautiful, bright, clean, safe, homey and with a great energy. Whenever we ventured out onto land, we always breathed a sigh of relief and smiled as we jumped back into our rocking base. On anchor, we would be happy not leaving the boat for a day or two. After all, we could hear the outside world and preferred our little bubble. Suddenly, we started sailing down some rapids, but it was ok because we were together and we had our fun little games which made us giggle. We had our frequent cuddles and kisses that always produced smiles and warm feelings.
Then there was a fork in our beautiful river. Unfortunately I didn’t like the fork that Captain Cool wanted to take, so I jumped off feet first with hardly anything on my back. I could see the rapids from our safe haven, so I knew it would be a bit of a rough ride, but everything else was unknown. The first time I saw the rocks, I started to panic hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful when I crashed into them. I closed my eyes and waited for the worse. Then somehow, I found myself being lifted up onto a soft raft that could go over the rocks while I only felt slight bumps beneath me. I opened my eyes, saw some blue sky and relaxed for a bit. Just as I was ready to sit up, there were some stronger rapids and I fell off the raft, plunging back into the whirling rapids seeing rocks on both sides of me. I was scared, but I knew someone would come back with that soft raft where I could feel safe again for a moment while the rapids rushed noisily beneath me. This pattern of falling off and coming back up again is what it’s like being back in the city.
I am of course talking metaphorically. This is how it feels leaving CC and being back in London. The soft raft is my friends who are an extension of my family. I have been very touched by the welcome I have received. I have way more friends than I realised and they are so understanding. They want to see me, but understand when I get a bit overwhelmed by the whole planning process. Even if I say not right now, they continue to send texts to see how I am settling in, if I need anything, if they can help in anyway. I know the world is going a bit crazy with Trump, but there are so many beautiful people in the world and I wish there was more social media about them.
Entering the life of planning is hard. Do you know how I’ve planned for the last two years? I’ve stepped into the marina and if a friend is around, I tell them what we’re up to or they tell us and ask if they/we want to come along. There is no, “How about next week?” Sure, sometimes it’s planned two days in advance, but anything more than that is just crazy. A whole bunch of life can happen in that time!! I mean, the main confusion amongst sailors is what day it is and since most sailors are unconcerned with their phone, we don’t even have a phone to tell us who is guessing right. Now I have to wake up and think what day it is and if I have something going on, how to get there, who I need to call/email/text. I’m sure it sounds so normal and simple to most readers, but it’s not my life anymore. I liked it not being my life. I don’t want it to be a part of my life because it made my life complicated. I know this means I will probably hardly get to see my friends because everyone in London is booked up for weeks or months sometimes. It will get lonely, but I’m a firm believer in being true to myself. I found something that works for me, why change it?
And lonely I feel right now. I’m fine when I’m frantically searching for jobs (I don’t want!!), walking somewhere or visiting friends. Actually, just the one friend who is on maternity leave with no hectic schedule and has been my saviour. It’s waking up in the morning and not having my soulmate to greet and bury my head into. It’s when I’m cooking by myself and eating by myself. We always cooked and ate together. Always. We would spend the time chatting (ok, mostly me!) and not watching TV or glued to our phones. Not to mention he normally cooked so not only do I have to do something I don’t enjoy very much, but I have to do it alone! It’s bedtime with a racing mind about re-building my life and a body who is still in a different time zone. I am up until 12.30 or 1 in the morning thinking, thinking. I try to imagine being back on the gently rocking boat and using my hot water bottle as a CC substitute, but then it just makes me miss that life which is so suited to me.
Another lifestyle change is this work business. Oh my god they make it impossible!! Do you know what? If I didn’t have my student loans to pay, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be in Cartagena either, but I would be sailing, probably for food and accommodation, but I learned that the only things I really need in life are that. Food, accommodation, a sail boat and love. I’m signing up for temp agencies who need to see utility statements, national insurance documents, bank statements, blah, blah. You can guess how many of those I have right now! The last 2 years and 4 months of my life if I needed work, I went up to someone, smiled and said, “Hi, I’m a yoga teacher. Do you need one or know someone who does?” “I do Thai massage. Want one?” One guy I worked for never even met me or knew me! How I got the sailing gig was by saying, “I love this. Will you teach me how to sail?” No references required, no paperwork, just my smile and positive energy! Oh how complicated us Westerners can make our lives. Before you get defensive, I know there are certain rules for a reason.
I don’t need the advice that suggests to go out dating, shagging or whatever meaningless activity that will only make the loneliness worse. I don’t need those “words of comfort” that suggest everything is fine, “but you lived a life most people only dream of. It’s time to get a real job now,” or whatever other well intentioned, but completely unhelpful statement I’ve heard. Don’t feel bad saying them. God knows I’ve said my share of unhelpful things! What I need is patience, time and understanding. Exactly what I’m giving myself. I will be fine. I know that. For now I appreciate this time is difficult. It’s a HUGE change, I’ve lost my right arm (not literally, I’m talking about CC!) and I’ve been thrown into swirling rapids after a long time of a lazy river. It doesn’t mean I’m weak, depressed or negative. It means I’m adjusting and that’s ok. Nothing is permanent.
Since I believe there is not nearly enough time in life to experience everything it has to offer, I’m still going to find bright moments. Nothing will stop me! I cherish the times I have with one of my closest friends and her beautiful baby. They brighten my day and comfort me by not saying anything. I love reading all the kind messages I receive. I’m really enjoying walking again. Something the sailing life doesn’t offer a lot of! I love walking up and down the streets of London feeling the energy. It’s a beautiful and unique energy. Yesterday as I was walking along the narrow tree lined streets listening to the birds singing proudly while the cars whizzed by, I was trying to figure out why the energy is so unique. What a beautiful thing to ponder. It made me forget everything else. I came to the conclusion that it has to deal with the rich history London has. I’m currently reading a book about the cholera outbreak in 1854, which offers a lot of insight into London in that time. So much pain, suffering, humanity, laughter, tears, hope, hopelessness, courage, death and life amongst millions of people in a small space. They may have left long ago, but their energy is still around and I love feeling it. Londoners have always been survivors and enthusiastic to live, even if they over do it a bit!
Then there are the sounds of London. Sure there are the sirens, the sound of water rushing under tires on a wet road and the loud buses. But listen closer. If you pay attention, you hear birds singing in almost all parts of London. There are so many green spaces for them to hang out! They sing beautiful songs all year round. The narrow streets and perfectly matched houses in terms of height along with the constant cloud cover, mute noises. Sometimes there’s a muffled silence if that makes any sense at all! The click clack of shoes pounding the pavement as people rush to where they are no doubt late for.
I mustn’t leave out the smells. Sometimes you don’t want to take a deep breath, or any breath at all, but I was fortunate to be temporarily housed in a posh part of London where there are trees, front gardens and parks. Yesterday as I was walking home and listening to the birds, I smelled freesia. I just stopped, closed my eyes and breathed in it’s warming fragrance. I smiled and thought how life is so beautiful when we keep it simple.
A friend told me yesterday that I seemed so much calmer within myself. I had to agree with her, even if I still have everything to sort out! You know why? Because I’m not searching for anything. I’m not searching for a man, the best job, the best place to live, the best wardrobe, etc. I found what I needed. Peace. Much to contrary belief, peace does not mean you walk around happy all of the time with nothing affecting you. It means that despite the water rapidly rising above your head, you can close your eyes and trust that it will all be ok and simply enjoy the good and bad parts of the journey. This is exactly what I’m doing despite the heartache, loneliness and uncertainty and yes, it is all going to be ok. I remember that nothing is permanent and one day it will feel normal to be alone again.