Autumn, third one in the list of seasons: spring – summer – autumn – winter; makes us feel like new chapters usually happen in spring when new years start, and summer is when we free us from attachment and “let’s have all the unforgettable memories“;
autumn should be when things are slowly getting quiet before winter comes with its beautiful coldness. But somehow, Autumn always carries within it lots of chaos and changes. In reality, autumn is when schools start again, new classes, new groups, new friends, new parties, new jobs; or turning back to old jobs with few new faces, and turning back to old unfinished things we put off during summer, facing back to problems we cannot run away as we are adults. Adults are stuck. Adults cannot always escape. Adults should know life does not hand out the permanent luxury to hide in comfort.
So this Autumn, as everyone else, I simply had to attempt being an adult again.
I returned to the place I ran away from.
Honestly, it was not a moment of glorious recognition motivating me to decide for returning. I returned because my plan B for staying in Europe worked, despite it being done at very last-minute. As every newly University graduated students, plus under-graduated ones in their last years (okay perhaps not every single ones then), I could not be more unsure of the next step. It was neither because I did not try to think of any plans during my school years, nor because I was really irresponsible for my future. I had plans. Some plans were dreams I nurtured ever since I was a little girl. Some plans I did not even recall how I had them in the first place, but I knew I wanted them. They looked so hopeful and shining in my imagination when they come true.
But plans broke. Life changes every time you plan something, even with little things daily. The first thing appeared in my head almost every time my plans got erased away, is:
“People plan, God laughs”
Seemingly, I am not the only one realising this. I am certain I am not telling you anything you have not yet known. I reckoned I might have ben a little too hopeful to be late in realising how unpredictable one’s life can be. And that’s how, being alive is definitely a bless, but also, one hell of a challenge.
As you can guess at this time, I have stopped planning, at least planning “the big plans“. As ironic as my life can be to me, even the small details I plan daily are as unpredictable as the big ones, and perhaps only little less disappointing. You know, I assume one of the big reasons for me to yet being disappointed at the plans not working out, is due to my planned-out upbringing. I thought my journey to my dream started when I shipped myself off to another continent (with my parents’ help, of course). I didn’t know such milestone might have been only 5 bricks on the very first wall I had to pass, before my journey can be activated. I don’t know how many bricks I have broken through already. I do know the two things so-called “my journey” and “my dream” are evaporating though.
I didn’t get a tiny bit closer to getting a stable job after graduation. That was my original plan when I was on the plane the very first time. During my University years, surprisingly, I was much less sure than that 17 year-old girl who was about to be on her own, for also the very first time. At my last year in University, admittedly, “my journey” and “my dream” were dissolved into liquid form. Then, with the Finnish winter assistance, it must have been frozen because I kept slipping off, and fell on my bottoms (not so metaphorically). Without jobs or any solid plans, my time in Europe can become a ticking bomb. I didn’t, and in fact, still don’t want to return to my home country. I know I am making this option sound more melodramatic than it is. Returning home, perhaps a little bit strange with the changes, but how can it be so bad to be back with your culture and your family? you might think, or some of my friends have said.
I agree. But I myself cannot wrap my head around it, as if I am trying to fit a cube into a circle. It will be closer to my family, which is the only benefit I can actually see from this option. I know I cannot live with them anymore, in the same house. I have lost touch with many friends ever since I left; it was partly my fault but also partly due to the natural way of living, you lose touch when you don’t have anything in common to talk about. Deep down, I know, it would cause me a lot of patience, effort and adaptation to fit back to the society and culture there; which are the things I am unsure they are worth my energy.
So, in my last year in University, I knew two things absolutely for sure: I had to finish this thesis and I had to stay in Europe.
At last panic minutes, with my determination and worries, I applied for Master Degree. I got in.
Long story short (sorry guys…), I returned to start my new study, in a new city, in Finland.
It was bitter to return at first. I guess it was largely because of my cowardice to face with my own personal struggles plus my fright to not being able to handle well the emotions, but I kept telling people the major reason for bitterness was the weather – to leave the beaches to the cold breezy winds. I spent my first week to be right back at the old city I said a long goodbye to four months earlier. I saw my closed friends again, which was great, and also weird. I hid away from my real life a while enough to forget how my old normal self behave. My mind kept switching back and forth, between France and Finland. I walked around the old roads as if I was floating, since I did not see myself having any places now in the world. I was passing through all the spots where I listened to my own sorrow, where I had to stop to catch breaths. In between these nostalgic moments, I then got nostalgic about a “me” in France, and a version of my sorrow there, far away from everyone I know, to fight the battle I cannot express in words with them. It did not come instinctual to me what sort of things I should start telling my friends now, and what sort of things I can slip out so that I didn’t seem like I was drawing all the attention on me. I was so busy wandering in my own mind maze that I eventually upsetted a very closed friend. The fight did not happen in that week though, it was only until I took the bus to my new city for the school orientation to new students.
I did not have a place to live yet, so I stayed with my friend’s mom’s place. It was a lovely apartment, on the top floor of a nice building looking straight at the sea view. This new city I moved to, Vaasa, was a coast city, having two languages spoken: Finnish and Swedish. I had never been to this part of Finland before. It was indeed exciting. Even though mid-August in Finland was not warm enough, the nature still had the summer vibes. The view was spectacular. The magnificent colour of the sky reminded me why I fell in love with this country originally.
The first two weeks in Vaasa was about me exploring the place by walking, as usual. Every walks conveyed a mixture of feelings. And on one of the days where I wondered why it was this hard for me to be back to Finland– the place gave me my freedom– life just had to give me a fight I did not wish for. Apparently, I did not have enough energy to solve it myself, so I let one added thing to run its court. Somehow, it actually became the theme of my autumn.
I got settled down after at least a month. I moved into my new places two weeks later, but it took me time to gather new housing furnitures, my old things to be delivered and brought back from the old city, welcoming a new flatmate, getting school schedules and going to new classes, etc. There were a lot of changes for me to take within more or less than a month. It became exhausting, added onto the confusion. That was not my first time to move to some place new and start a new chapter. Only this time, I was uncertain I could adapt to the new social environment quickly.
I did not know if I could just be as normal as how everyone surrounding me seemed like. Even if I do want to hang out a lot and party (which I did anyway, sometimes), what will that mean to me? Out of desire not to be alone? Out of desire to be an insider? For avoidance? Or for truly joy? And how long can the joys last? How should I handle myself when those short-lived joys evaporate, the same as many things else I have been involved with?
I let things run their courts. I could have told you how my autumn was busy, which was probably why I had not sat down to look at my blogs. However, that would have been a lie. Things with their courts, they have run in a strange zigzag way. I was quite busy at the beginnings, long hours in the library, then medium-long hours at home in front of computers. I met up with some few new people, I had some social drinks. I went to parties with my flatmate. I got to meet up again some other new people, and we had fun enough to continue partying for the next few times. Then, it hit a quiet time. My flatmate left for vacations, I have had the place to myself, disappointing things happened with the new people I knew; and as a result, I closed up. I began to see myself as an outsider in parties. I saw myself trying hard to have fun with any kinds of people I could talk to, but I also saw myself failing. I saw me doing things not good for my hangover version the next mornings; I saw me smiling with drinks, dancing in a club, but feeling extremely empty on the way walking home; and I saw me being addressed as someone I did not want to be, wondered how I ended up giving such image to other people and why I expected to trust or be closed with anyone anyway. I literally and metaphorically, see me crawling back to my own shelter.
I wrote my blogs during in this year quite often, and the most during last summer. I might not even tell people I know as much opened as I might have written here publicly. And every post I wrote, every story I shared, I liked to end them up with positive notes. No no, don’t worry, they were not lies. They were just not purely truth either.
You see, as me writing them down and telling you those things, I was telling myself the same things. I need to be reminded of being alive. As much as I wanted anyone, who might have shared the same feelings as mine, can resonate with my imperfect words; my blog was my tool to make my positive recognitions real.
This autumn, I have not had much those moments. I figured, after time in France, despite me being scared, I still could have returned with adequate energy to boost back into – whatever life I was living – perhaps, of course, fixed it too. I was wrong. I barely even walked straight back. I bumped into all sort of things: past, present, future and all ideas of what I want out from friendship, relationship, my role in family, are all stirred up. My worst fear of returning was acted out slowly in front of me. I had no great moments to sit down, and write-up something meaningful for myself or others. I wanted to run away again, you (also my friends) would not be surprised; except I was unable to because I had to wait for my new visa.
Then, I just had to keep walking. Like an adult should be.
Although I don’t think I am ever qualified to be an adult, I did ask for it. Plus, nobody is qualified to be an adult, you just are an adult at certain ages, and you just have to live your life sometimes as an adult, depending on whatever meaning of that word to you. An adult is not someone knowing the solutions to everything. An adult seems to be the one continuously walking to whatever is ahead, and living.
This year has been one of the toughest years of my life, and up until now, it has been at the very top. I always quoted big words like “journey” or “adventure“. Honestly, I think I have always been the girl loving to jump to the good endings, as in my imaginations. This year more than ever, I have hated to do the work. It got so hard. It felt as if it lasted years and would not end. But this year and this autumn, have trained me to keep walking. I cannot tell you which direction this walk will lead you to. Heck, I cannot even see for myself. But as an adult, I should be patient. I just have to keep walking, let things run their court sometimes, and trust myself that this walking is not leading me backwards.
So yea, after a few silent months, I did manage to pick up one thing for myself and for you at this very last month of 2015. Well, my real life is still very not much lit up, it is not in movies, guys.