About one month ago, I quit my job. In order to finally be free. I have enough money now so I do not need to work for quite a while now. I can even buy my own apartment and still be cool. And I can calmly and relaxedly plan my next steps. I should be one of the happiest people on earth.
But I’m not.
For one, the strain and stress of the job I have left behind will apparently take a long time to leave me. I have worked hard but at the same time against my own will and my own desires for three to four years now, and that pain sits deep. I spent the first couple of weeks after getting out of the job basically just running around, trying to take care of things and trying to chill at the same time. Then I spent a week in Berlin seeing people and trying to have some interesting meetings. I came back, and kept having arguments and fights with Nana. And finally she helped me understand that I need a REAL break. Get away from everything.
And she’s right. I do. I really need a break. So I booked a two week trip to the Canary Islands. And I gave up on a plan that I’d had for May. I wanted to go on this long bike tour, for a whole month. But I realized that I am nowhere near capable of going on such a solitary adventure. I need something more soothing and more relaxing now. So I scrapped that plan. And other plans that I had. I’d had this idea of producing this ten episode podcast, and do it quickly, over the summer, as a pet hobby project. Thanks to luck and some good connections, this may turn into a commercial project, that might make me some money. And I’d do it well, and with Drew and Cay, during the fall. But I’m not going to do it now. (It also may not happen at all because we cannot agree on the budget.)
Now, I’ll work really hard on taking things easy. Well, that’s some irony for you right there.
Then, over Easter, Nana and I went to London for a four day weekend. It was to attend a party on Saturday night, a former colleague of mine was celebrating her birthday, and we were invited. I like her, and I was very happy that she invited me, yet at the same time I am not good at events like this. Actually, that evening was the most fun we had. The rest of the weekend was literally horrific. We were fighting constantly, the entire time, in a really nasty and terrible way. It was really really bad. And finally, on Sunday evening in the London rain, it looked very much like we were breaking up. Or taking a break. Or doing something that happy couples don’t do.
We didn’t really do any of that, there and then. But that notion stuck with me. I have not been happy with my relationship in the past weeks … months. Part of it has to do with the fact that Nana currently suffers from depression. That makes it really hard. That made London really hard. But it also makes me think of all the other things that I think are not good. There are some doubts I’ve had from the start. And they will not go away. And I am torn between very conflicting feelings — between the love I feel for Nana. I really do love her — she is an amazing person. Yet at the same time, there are things between us that convince me that this is not and will not be a relationship that will make us happy. You can love someone but not be well in a relationship with that person. Then there is the fear of being alone. Which should never guide my decisions. Yet it’s there. I am 43 now. In a few months, I’ll be 44. And what I wrote on the “about”-page of this blog in 2011 is still true …
The weekend after the trip to London, I went to Barcelona. I went to see my friend Jorge, who’d also quit our company, exactly when I had. I wanted to talk to him about our experiences. We wanted to bond over our past mysery. He has a new project now, he started a CrossFit place, and he talked a lot about that. I was interested, because I am so not excercising, and CrossFit could potentially be something I could do — to help me get into some exercising regimen. Maybe I should come to Barcelona for longer, and spend some time here at his gym?
It was good to see him, and we did talk quite a bit, but I was also a bit disappointed because he had less time for me than I thought he would. Well, he has a small family, and I guess that’s normal. But I was a little disappointed nonetheless. One evening, he was busy with other stuff. At first, I wanted to go and see a movie. But then I suddenly remembered Linda. She’s actually a friend of Nana’s. She also works at the company. They met when she came to one of the workshop seminars that Nana organizes and that I used to help run. She came back a few months ago, for a couple of weeks, to work at the central office. That time, I spent two evenings with her. She is pretty, she is smart, and she really has a very artist’s head of her own. I really enjoyed hanging out with her. She did keep her distance — of course, she’s Nana’s friend. But she did seem to have a good time, too. So I write to her, and we meet, and she seems really surprisingly happy to see me. We hit it off even better than last time we met. It’s just really delightful. The next day, just before I have to leave to return to the airport and fly home, she manages to come ’round again, and we have another coffee. And she’s really disappointed when I have to leave. And so am I.
But by that time, I’d already made a new plan. As I wrote above, I needed a new idea to replace that long bike tour. So what if that time I spend at Jorge’s CrossFit is in May? And I could also see Linda then … Which I told her. And which she seemed to really love as an idea. And so did I … But what am I doing? Don’t I need to work on my relationship with Nana?
A couple days later, I’d booked an AirBnB in Barcelona for May. So that plan’s a Go.
Then I went to see my parents up north. I stayed with them for five days. The days with them were nice, just at the end I started having a really nasty fight with my father. It’s too long a story to get into, but simply put, he is not very good at self-analyzing and realizing what is going on inside him, and when something upsets him, he turns it into issues with others. Ultimately it has to do with him struggling with the fact that he notices that he is ageing. And with the fact that he wished I was closer to them, and more available to them. It just didn’t come out that way. That fight began on the very last evening we had together, and at first it looked like he had just become mean towards me, in this really nasty way. And for a moment I thought that there would be some kind of real rupture between us. But we kept at it, and even though there was quite some fighting and shouting, we ended up keeping it contained in the end, and I know what is irking him, and how I need to be a bit more mindful with the two of them.
But at the same time, Nana was feeling that something was going on within me, and we had calls about my doubts, and about the fact that I don’t know where we are headed. And my mother knew already that the trip to London had been horrible, and that there are questions about the relationship in the air. And that is really troubling her, and my father too, because they are both just very concerned about me, and about whether I will be alone. And they’d like me to finally find happiness. But on the one hand, I had Nana on the phone more than once, crying, because of her depression, and because she sees our relationship slipping away, and on the other hand I was discussing these things with my parents as well, which I shouldn’t be doing the way I am doing, because I end up over-sharing, and telling the too much. So my parents are too emotionally involved in all of this, and I have no idea how to manage things with Nana now, and the doubts I have about the relationship with her. And if the thoughts I have about Linda are nothing but some pipe-dream that shouldn’t have any bearing on anything anyways. And so I spent a weekend with parents who are struggling with their age, and on the phone with Nana who is depressed and sad, and it’s just a mess. And at the end of the month, we have a trip planned with my parents to meet her parents. And it all doesn’t seem to make sense.
My life is in transition. And that’s exactly what it feels like.