I’m not going to lie. It’s been a shit year.
So I ended the previous year on a much different note than the one before. It should have been hopeful; it was not. It should have been glorious and I should have spent it in a haze of unworry; I didn’t. It should have been a lot of things. It wasn’t. Instead–crossing over to the new year was filled with familiar faces and unfamiliar sentiments, my thoughts swirling through familiar things but in unfamiliar directions. It was noisy and fun and through it all my mind went on journeys of its own, often more than once.
That’s it, though. I’m here and I’m not really here. In one place and not another, and in both places at once. At the end of 2015 I went to bed before the year turned and the fireworks went off, simply because I was far from home and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Uncharacteristic. A first. It wasn’t because I matured and I found something better to do with my life. Priorities. In truth I was just lonely. It seemed a better idea to wake up to a new beginning and restart my life on a less complicated day.
The past year has taught me a lot of lessons. I learnt that Hong Kong is fine. That the work is the least of my problems; and when the time came I dived right into it as a means of escape. It’s shitty and the hours are crap, but I chose this life. I hated the city for the most part of the year and gave a million excuses for why I would rather be elsewhere. There were too many people. The apartments were not big enough. The buildings are soulless and the connections are transient and all communication in general is pointless because nothing lasts forever and we all know hearts can change. Then I realised eventually that the reason I hated the city was because it was keeping me away from where I wanted to be. My heart kept wanting to fly across the ocean and never come back. And I resented it because I placed myself in this exact situation of my own accord, and I could do nothing about it without hurting myself in the process. Through the first half of the year I let myself drift through the city, never really being here and never really settling; my body was here and my heart was elsewhere. I learnt that distance really has no way of making love understandable. It’s been a while since we all had to deal with this; we’re older now–you’d think we’d get better at it. But no.
I fell in love, I think. I’m not sure I should have, and I’m still not sure that was what it was. We take chances on so many things nowadays and it seems absurd that your heart, fragile and important and useless as it is, should be one of them. It’s been a long while since I could say this to myself and even longer since I could say it out loud. But nowadays what’s the point in subterfuge? It is what it is, and for better or worse, it makes us who we are. Would I rather not have gone through the entire thing? Yes; maybe; I don’t know. A younger me would give you a different answer and tell you the experience was worth it in the end. Hindsight is usually 20/20 but in this case it’s a bitch. There were wonderful moments but for the most part being in love was more emotionally draining and more trouble than it was worth. I’m rarely this unenthusiastic when it comes to describing human relationships but this one in particular I feel like packing into a box and leaving untouched forever. I suppose I’ll reopen the wound some years later and scrape at it till I feel better; but now is not the time. I suppose all this shows you is only that age is not an indicator of wisdom and if anything we do the stupidest things only because we think that time is running out.
As the months went by I found more purpose. We save ourselves or we remain unsaved, and cycling through the endless launch calls and pricing calls and closing calls meant that we found our escape at the end of the night with a drink or two and a friend or three, without whom the days would have been unpassable. And so it has been. Slowly re-emerging, slowly finding ways to remember who you are. Forgetting. Travelling. London, Scotland, driving endlessly, laughing in the sunshine. Bangkok, with new friends and old friends and much needed hilarity. Macau, with the limitless lasers and snaking queues and drunken escapades through the casinos. Going back home, and home and home and home, all the time, each time with changing emotions. Who knows where else we will go? How do we know where we will end up?
The year, for some reason, brought more downs than ups. It’s sad because in all my years of chronicling the previous year, I’ve never felt as unenthusiastic about recounting my experiences as this one. I suppose it should be good enough that I remember where I was supposed to go at the start of the year. I still don’t know where the hell I’m heading right now. Let’s try, at least, if not to make things right, to make some things happen. The road is still the only way you move forward.