Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Restless Days

Every so often, a feeling of utter restlessness kicks me repeatedly for a few weeks.

When it does, concentrating on anything other than The Big Picture becomes a huge effort. Time at work is spent staring blankly at the now irrelevant tasks on my screen, and work e-mails no longer seem to be important. I lose interest and spend the time daydreaming, wondering and pondering instead - is this it? Is this all there is? What else do I really want?

While most of the time, this niggling feeling can be allayed by material things such as a nice cup of loose leaf tea, a chinwag with a friend or a Wispa Gold, during these restless days, the only thing that seems to lift the veil is the forming of a plan.

In the past, the second it's dawned on me what the answer is, the weight lifts and I can start to enjoy the menial day-to-day stuff again. It might be deciding to say "Sod it" and book a round the world trip (a decision I made one day a couple of years back), quitting your job for something more fulfilling, or just doing something you haven't done before.

With my 28th birthday approaching in a couple of months, a self-imposed benchmark that'll put me firmly in the late twenties camp, this restless feeling tells me now is a good time to Do Something.

I'm single. I have no big responsibilities. I know that if I stay doing what I'm doing (e.g. get up, go to work, repeat until age 65), I'll look back on this little chunk of life and wish I'd done more. The question is, as ever, what?

While the small matter of a flat lease and generally being head over heels with London at the moment prevent me from straying too far for too long, I have made the small but no less significant step of booking a week off work in August.

There are no other solid plans at the moment, just a few self imposed rules: the week can't be spent in England (I owe my Vitamin D levels that much), and it's got to be something that puts me a little bit out of my comfort zone.

All that remains is to decide on a destination, book some flights, and learn the following phrase in whichever language applies,

"Table for one, please. And make mine a G&T."


Anonymous said...

I get this feeling ALL THE TIME at the moment.

It's really weird to think how rooted I was in Jan... steady boyfriend, living together, thinking about getting married... it feels like another life... and then I thought, that's it, not happy, not been happy in a long time, time to move on. And that was it. I felt really excited. Then I did something incredibly foolish and hooked up with someone else and now a couple of months down the line I feel as lost and confused as I did then.

That feeling of 'is this it' is particularly peculiar to modern life. And itchy feet, the travel bug, wanderlust... whatever you want to call it, is a symptom of this weird modern lifestyle that the human psyche isn't accustomed to. We all want to escape it.

The nagging feeling that despite the fact you're technically doing everything right (I've got a job, a room in a flat, a functioning social life, nice house mates, I'm a size 10, a gym membership and a Starbucks card - all the hallmarks of a life) that something is fundamentally missing. A void. It's disconcerting and (for me anyway) sometimes a really hollow feeling.

I'm trying to embrace it, to see it for what it is & not question it. To think - ok, I feel weird and sad today. And because I feel like I'm from another planet, I'm going to be nice to myself and have a cappuccino with real chocolate on it and sit on a brown leather sofa and just do nothing except think about that feeling. I've started doing this because I'm not sure that anything will make the 'restless days' feeling go away.

I hope if I keep doing it, and just keep going, I'll be able to figure it out. Hopefully your holiday will help you figure out that what too
A x

Lpeg said...

I must say - I just went back and read your announcement about taking time off to travel, and I'm bummed I missed it! I wish I had been here and able to follow you on your journey!

As for the trip in August - that's exciting - any thoughts on where you might like to go? I always wanted to go to South Africa, but I just realized it would be their winter - so that's no fun!

Can't wait to hear where you plan on going. I turn 30 next year, and my plan is to go to your neck of the woods - not sure where exactly yet. I haven't been back to Europe in seven years, and I'm itching to go!

And I get those lulls too - the only thing that pulls me out of them is planning a trip - even if I don't follow through with it - the researching, plane fare, what I'd do, etc is what keeps me going till I'm out of the rut.

Hang in there. xx.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I was in a similar position and had the same 'is this it?' thoughts. I took myself off to Spain for a week which gave me the kick up the arse I needed to sort out my Australia thing. I haven't looked back since.

You're pretty level headed, I'm sure wherever you'll end up you'll work out what you want to do.

Go to Russia and wear one of them hats.

Dominic said...

How about Romania - one of my favourite places when I went round Europe. They have amazing huge twirly pastry things and lots of sun (in the summer, anyway)

modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

Climb a mountain in the Alps. Hire a guide, the stuff and head up and up. Great fun, there are a range of mountains to suit you (i.e. complete novice to Everest wannabe).

Hire a yacht in the Greek Islands - cheap, sunny, hard work, might make your hair a bit curly with the combination of sun and sea water. You can team up with other people and learn how to sail a yacht if needs be.

Lots of things to do, although I'd avoid the Middle East (currently 47.5 deg c out here) or Indian sub-continent (it's the Monsoon) unless you have a love of extreme weather....

Anonymous said...

Yup. Know that feeling. But take the time to make the right major change.

I may in fact have bitten off more than I realised when I made my Grand Leap. Still - life is rarely boring these days!

Ellie said...

Can't wait to hear the destination once it is decided and public.

1FightingIrish said...

If you want to be pushed out of your comfort zone, I know the perfect company for you... My friend works for them and they are awesome - check out . Proper, old school, slightly dangerous but massively life enriching experiences. I for one am planning on doing the Motortaxi Junket in March next year

Cunarder said...

Whatever you do, don't forget to write about it. Then look back on it when you've been imprisoned by mid life and the chains that bound it (inevitable I'm afraid), and know.

Know what, I haven't the foggiest, but "you'll know".



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