17 September 2010


Moving to the UK was a difficult thing to do. Perhaps this is an understatement. At the time I marked everything in terms of losses: losses of bank accounts, mobile phones, jobs, etc. It was hard, very, very hard.

But one thing that it wasn't: boring. Sitting on the ferry as we left Niigata, I was full of potential energy. All the mistakes I made in bringing things over, in the knives in the carry-on luggage, in not planning on how to get our luggage to our house from the airport. All of it was terrible at the time, an awful set of experiences. It was hard. The whole time, however, we were  supported with the hope embedded in potentiality. That what was coming was going to better than what we had. Even in the moments when it wasn't working, this was clear to me. It would work out. It would be better.

If I, September 2010 Stephen, were meeting September 2008 StephenSeptember 2008 Stephen would be ecstatic. It worked, he would probably say, you got it, you got what you wanted. You teach where? You're going on vacation where? You live where? My god man, we did it.

That's what I imagine he would say. And he would be right, more-or-less. From his perspective, it has been incredibly successful. From my perspective, I feel less enthusiastic about it. I shouldn't. All the problems I've had this week (this year) are minor, small things. The decisions I have to make are small in the grand scheme. My life has been full of improvements for the last two years.

But oddly, that sense of potential has been replaced with a sadness for what I gave up in Japan. I, believe it or not, was reminiscing about grocery shopping this morning. Grocery shopping? Seriously? It was so much better in Niigata. The food was so much better. Driving was easier. The shopping centres were nicer. The people were nicer. The money was better. Things were cheaper... It goes on and on.

So it is impossible. If I was still in Japan, I would probably be miserable. I would be coming back from my summer of studying at Birmingham to a job that I would be content with, but probably dislike. I would have no money as I would be paying PhD fees and be discontent, worried that I had made the wrong choice.

Why can't I be content. I think that is the question I would like to answer before I am 30. Because this isn't going to change. September 2012 Stephen, you probably got a kick ass job, right? You are probably doing exactly what I, September 2010 Stephen imagine will make me/you the happiest. And I imagine that you see me as naive, not in a bad, condescending way, but the same way we all look at younger versions of ourselves as somehow unable to see the obvious. Well. That's okay, I suppose. I am very happy with my life and the choices I have made. Without recognising other possibilities, we can't enjoy what we have now. So I'm going to keep plugging along and slowly become September 2012 Stephen: older, wiser, and hopefully, more content.