Long Time No Feel

Berlin, November 2022

It’s been a while since I felt the urge to write, both on here and in my little notebook, which contains many of my unfiltered thoughts and musings. And, despite not having put pen to paper in a while, I’ve been feeling okay. Well, except when I *finally* caught Covid a couple of weeks ago, which was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
But mentally, I’ve been doing alright, which suddenly made me feel uneasy. I’m not used to being mostly okay over a prolonged period of time and I’m also not used to not feeling the urge to write. Nothing like a good freak-out over not freaking out, am I right?

In addition to that, I’ve been watching and rewatching old TV series almost religiously (mostly Friends and Gilmore Girls) over the past few weeks (or was it months?). I usually put them on in the background when I have stuff to do at home, like laundry or cleaning, to keep my mind busy. That way, I focus on the audio without it taking up all of my attention. It calms me down. I also know exactly what’s going to happen, which is reassuring. I don’t have to overly focus – which I’m hardly ever able to do after work anyway – and it doesn’t matter if I miss little bits, I can leave the room without fear of missing out on any important scenes. There’s comfort in knowing exactly what to expect, even when it comes to television. Fun fact: In the past couple of months, I’ve only been able to take a nap while Friends was on in the background, to emphasize the soothing effect it has on me. It’s unfortunate that Netflix doesn’t have the sleep function yet, as I’m sure I could make good use of it!

Fearing that this too – on top of the lack of my need to write – is a sign that I’ve been suppressing some deep feelings about something, I decided to grab my notebook and to jot down what’s on my mind. I ended up writing down a lot more than I thought I was going to, but all of it was further proof that I am indeed doing quite alright at the moment. And this – again! – freaked me out a little. Is this the calm before the storm? It has been such an unprecedented state of being that I’ve found myself waiting for the other shoe to drop.
While I was meticulously writing out my thoughts onto the pages of my notebook, with very melancholic music playing in the background, I also realised that none of the signs point to me going down a spiral anytime soon. And this is a very bold thing to put down in writing at this time, since it’s my birthday month and I usually get in a very funky mood around my birthday and the holidays in general.

The past year has been an interesting one. A lot of things have happened, a lot has changed, and I’ve also been dealing with much of the same – much of the same but also very different each time around. Could it be that I finally reached a decent level of resilience? Or am I just hiding out in what’s familiar and therefore somewhat comfortable? Or maybe a bit of both?
While doing much of the same, I’ve been actively challenging many of the beliefs I’ve been holding for a very long time. Because even what’s familiar doesn’t come without challenges. In fact, the past year has required a lot of adapting, questioning my reactions to triggers and – worst of all – patience.
In doing so, I’ve learned that not everything is either black or white. In fact, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the grey area.

In a similar fashion, I’ve learned that not everything needs to be pathologized. With the truckload of resources that we all have at the tip of our fingertips these days, we’re quick to put people in a box, ourselves included. While I’m all for “diagnosing”/labelling if it helps the person who’s struggling, I think it’s important to not overly fixate on these labels. Some things, even if they’re considered weird by others, are just preferences. And that’s perfectly okay.

In my typical end-of-the-year recap (although probably not as fun to read as my year-in-dating recap 😎), here are some other things that were important to me this year, in no particular order:

I need to accept people for who they are instead of for who I would like them to be or who I think they could be if they gave it some effort. The level of difficulty of this varies of course, depending on who they are to me and what role they play in my life.

Not everything that people do is about me. Life can be overwhelming, and everyone gets wrapped up in their own sh*t, just like it happens to me all the time.

Endings are sad but a necessary part of life. Sometimes connections fizzle out because people change, life changes or nothing is the same as it used to be. And while I do miss people, it’s okay that they’re no longer in my life.

Different people connect in different ways. Sometimes, this means that people aren’t compatible with me. It is, however, important that I recognise and honour people’s bids for connection, even if they differ from my own.

I try to relate to people from a place of gratitude instead of from a place of lack. This means that I try to appreciate what they have to offer without overly fixating on what they’re unable to provide (for whatever reason this might be). I also realised that the phrase if they wanted to, they would is far from accurate. In fact, I know from personal experience that there are many things I desperately wanted but was unable to do regardless.

I love that I get to live at a time that makes it possible to feel connected to people without them being physically present (and without having to call them – for my fellow phone call haters – on a mobile phone or, for those that grew up in the 90s, like me, on a landline with the risk of their parents picking up!). It allows me to be alone, which I regularly need for recharging, without feeling lonely.

I recently watched the movie Before Sunrise, and it contains the following line: “But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”

I felt this with every fibre of my being.
Here‘s the scene, if you’d like to watch it.

And while trying to be loved a little more and to be lovable has certainly taken up a lot of my time and energy, it isn’t always rewarding. I think I’d like to be in love again – preferably with someone who feels the same way about me, of course. However, I’m currently not in a place where I’m ready to meet new people and I’m not actively seeking to get to know someone new, not because I’m not interested in that but because it feels like too big a task for me to take on right now. I’m not up for the challenge and that’s okay.

That’s it from me for this year! I hope you still enjoy reading what I post on here and I hope you’re also doing okay – and if not, remember that it will get better. Nothing is permanent. 🧡

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