With the days getting longer and the nights getting warmer I’ve been questioning a lot of things – mostly how I’m going to spend my time this summer. With a couple of trips in the cards it makes me wonder if I’m leaving to enjoy somewhere else, or to get away from my current situation.
See the thing about turning 25 is that I’ve started to wonder if I see my future in Auckland. I’ve been here for nearly 6 months which is half the time I lasted my first attempt at living here. So, it’s totally possible. Then I remember what it was like the last time, or my entire “settled” history and I instantly doubt myself and my choices. Then it all just tumbles down from there – catch my drift?
Queue a ramble of over thinking.
Urban Outfitters Boots (similar here)
I’m going to take you back a bit here – to a thing that happened to me at university. Picture this: 20-year-old Kendra after moving back to Dunedin to finish her last year of study. Young, mildly naïve and fully uncommitted to anything serious. I dived head first into what our generation would call a ‘thing’. Not a relationship and definitely not likely to go anywhere, but more or less some ‘thing’. You know the deal.
This, whatever you want to call it, took me on a ride. One minute it was all on, we were hanging out day in day out. It made me consider actually settling down. Next he left me wondering if it had even happened at all as I waited for a reply. Then, ultimately, I started believing that I would never offer enough to keep a person content, as he moved on to one of my friends. I remember asking myself all the time “did I miss my chance?” and wondering if that’s why I was left with nothing. At the start I was well aware of what I was getting myself into (emotionally unavailable fuckboy HELLO) adamant I wouldn’t catch feelings. Yet in the end I was the one left disappointed. And this my friends, set the tone for the rest of my 20’s. So far, anyway.
Dating aside for a second, this mind-set seeped into other areas of my life. When I travelled Europe I found myself playing life as a game instead of my reality. When I’d go out I’d have to be drunk. Think over the top drunk. I was all in or all out because I couldn’t stand the in-between anymore. If it all went wrong I could just pack up and leave anyway. I had to come away with a good story because at least I could work with that. What I couldn’t work with is being disappointed once again.
Now I know I’ve glazed over a lot of my European stories because let’s be honest, some things are better left offline. It’s finally time to share at least part of one. I was travelling Venice alone before meeting up with a friend in Florence, when I stayed at this hostel where I met “this Turkish guy”. And we call him that because I can’t for the life of me remember his name.
Anyway, I decided we were going to happen because many shots later it sounded like a good idea. Until he’d gone from complimenting me, to insulting me. Until I started to feel really unsafe. When we were the only ones in the bar and I soberly realised A. I know no one here and B. there is no way to get away from him. In the end I did and I left the next day wondering WTF I was doing – what was the point in that!?
This actually continued throughout my travels and even recently. I always find myself saying yes more than no if I felt like “it could be fun”, even though the odds are it probably won’t be. Creating all the ridiculous stories because they never did feel quite real anyway. Like the stakes aren’t high because this moment will just be a memory soon anyway. And in a way I knew that if I looked back on the memories I couldn’t say I didn’t go all out – even if it turned out all wrong. More was more in a way. This was to hid the fact that I probably would have settled with a little less but I was scared to know what that might mean.
Now, fast forward to present day. This year found myself in another one of these ‘things’ (honestly, WTF are these anyway) with all the same tell-tale signs. Emotionally unavailable guy. All good goes all bad. Kind of messy but without actually acknowledging ANYTHING is going on because then it would be something rather than just a ‘thing’. And just like when I was 20, I’m left kind of disappointed and confused AF. But, this time I’m disappointed in myself.
You see, I’ve become so comfortable with settling for a good story because that’s easy. Flirting with fire because that way you’ll never burn. I regularly give myself the worst possible chance of a ‘happily ever after’ because that comes with risk. You know, developing real feelings for someone you know could love you back or leave you is scary. And that maybe if you fuck up that you’ll have to talk it out ‘like an adult’ instead of leaving the city. The idea of going for someone unavailable always sounds good because you know how it will end (never in your favour). But in the end, investing energy into something that could actually work beats any anecdote I could come up with today.
So maybe Auckland will be better this time around. Maybe settling in one spot will be the next “big adventure” in my life. Maybe I’ll accept to live, learn and to grow where I am rather than ditching whenever times get tough. And maybe this will be home for a while.
By the way: the guy at the start of the story and I are still very good friends. No hard feelings, just a whole bunch of cringe-worthy memories of a very young Kendra. Thank god for grower older and (slightly) wiser.