I’m writing from the midst of a chaotic mess of dust, dead moths, items I want to throw away, and half-filled boxes, the detritus of my attempts to get my entire life into a van and thence to storage. But what I really want to write about today is the people who have stood around me in the last few difficult months. Breaking up with someone you’ve loved and seeing your plans for the immediate and distant future turn to dust is not easy to take. Apart from a few shaky moments, I’ve managed to be fairly stoical about it since April. This is partly because I’ve been able to see how it could all be turned into an opportunity, a new beginning. Even that owes a lot to love, support and encouragement from my friends.
It is wonderful to be reminded that, while the last few years have felt as though I’ve become pretty withdrawn from friends (because of my job, my relationship, even the physical distance involved in living in the countryside), those same people have been there all along and haven’t forgotten who I am. They’ve kept me laughing and let me stay at their houses when I couldn’t take being home on my own. They’ve come up with ideas, contacts, offers of help, and encouragement when I’ve questioned what I could be doing next. And perhaps most importantly, talking to them, bouncing ideas off them, has helped me to remember who I was before all of this, what interests and enthusiasms might be reclaimed and revived as I start thinking about life on my own again. On Tuesday evening they helped me celebrate my birthday, which felt somehow like it was marking this new start. I haven’t chosen much of what’s happened to me in the last few months. But it has brought me back closer to my friends again, and for that I am fortunate indeed.