It’s strange to be back in Brussels. In a lot of ways it was a really happy year here – like being a student again, full of new things and new people, a new language to speak, new coins to get used to, and lots of drinking, fun and activity. But it was also a rather unhappy year in other ways – recovering from a break-up, acclimatising to a new career, a work environment that was difficult at times, and the fallout from my life having disintegrated. I was moving forwards, but I had gone backwards. And I felt like I was treading the same path for a second time.
At times I was reminded of that Bob Dylan chorus: I was much older then/but I’m much younger now’.
People chase the feeling of youth, and sometimes it’s nice to remember how carefree it was to be young, to have a fluid personality. But there were also times when it felt very inauthentic; even though the relationship and the career I was in before were the wrong ones, there was a certain comfort in knowing who I was, what I did, who I spent my time with, where I lived, how I lived. What I don’t think I had realised was how long that stability took to develop, how hard-won it was. So much has changed over the last couple of years that I hardly recognise the person I was before. So I don’t want to be younger. I want the strength of stability, of maturity, of knowing where I stand. I want to put down some roots. But hopefully to do so in better soil than I did before.