It’s been a while, dear readers. My apologies for that.
Being newly single (1,5 months is still minty fresh with these sort of things), I have had time to ruminate about quite a few things. And to my great surprise and overall relief, being a free lady after 2-year-long “captivation” is not at all that bad. Not that I have been turned into a sout troll so much by my own experience, but my ponderings about the topic have lead to the following:
1. You probably don’t know who you are yet.
The majority of 20-somethings I know have just recently took first baby steps towards full independence. And those same steps resemble those confused birds you see leaving their nests for the first time. They are hazed and amazed by their surroundings and the taste of freedom (which soon crushes under financial obligations that normally arise in this stage).
Those of us who have chosen an education are considered lucky, having “found out the path” to their future careers or life choices. Sure, for that to happen one must at least have a hint of what they want from life or what they are as persons, but a lot of the same people switch cources or drop the whole I’m-pressured-into-upper-education project after the first year.
In Denmark in particular, a lot of young adults take a year off from secondary school just to work or wander around the world if they have previously spared some cash before graduation. All of that for what? They take time off to figure out who they are and what type of education or career choice would be most satisfactory in the longer run.
A boyfriend who doesn’t know if he’s going to be a rockstar or a podiatrist? No, thanks.
2. Chances are that you travel away after completing graduation.
This argument is a bit shaky, I have to admit that, yet willingness to change one’s geographic location for better/more challenging job affects a relationship from head to toe.
For US-readers I’ll just quickly pinpoint that work mobility policy of the Europian Union allows people to travel freely and stay up to six months in a country if they’re on a pursuit for employment. This means that as a fresh graduate in the EU, one can travel to 28 countries to get that perfect job! Not to mention that the superambitious can find, charm, and convince any employer in any corner of the world.
Given that 20-somethings are going to be the generation feeding the army of retired Europeans + our own old parents, we might as well enjoy our jobs. If I were to be headhunted for a position where satisfaction comes from solving challenges, the work atmosphere sends you off home with a smile and collegues are the people you don’t want to stab – I’ll pack my things ang go.
Sadly, I would not be able to pack my boyfriend into the suitcase unless he’s a contortionist. Or is willing to come with me. Which makes being with someone an very big and unavoidable problem in case of relocating for better career opportunities.
3. We live in a me- me – me type of culture.
In general, we live in times when a lot of attention is devoted to the personal self. Think of all the DYI blogs, self-help/improvement merchandise, the individualistic mentality of Western society (you’re the best! you’re a champion!).
This happens here as well. A big 20-something guy segment of Denmark is keenly interested in the following activities: excessive beer drinking, football (mainly FIFA but on real fields as well), smoking weed and just having a good time. Although these activities commonly call for a group of people, the amount of time spent on just “me – time” among these young men is incredible. What they want is simple fun.*
Relationships require hard work. Time and devotion. Screwing down on the huge ME meter and giving some space and thought to your significant other. The previously presented list items require either a little money beforehand, a controller or a football, and a dealer. One way or another, it’s a list of commodities than can be easily exchanged in short time: work for money, money for goods.
Which one is easier: play FIFA all night with the guys or carefully crafting a surprise date for your girlfriend? Now this is a no -brainer.
Well, folks, this is al for now. I definately had more in my head, but these little thought kernels disappear like popcorn from a bowl before a start of a movie. I might update this as I find more intricate reasons to prolonged and concious singlehood in ones 20s.
Meanwhile, I would like to stress that I do discern that when love happens, none of the previous reasons matter. And I really hope that all you there who are happily in a relationship stay there and enjoy it!
*I know not all the guys in Denmark are like that. I cheer to those who prove me wrong, but so far this has been my experience here.
Hi, dear readers, I’ve thought about you people behind the screens.
I have been in a state of mental emptiness for some months now.
In the core of my essence, I’m an optimist. On the outside, the pessimist tries to fill any available loophole with negativity and scorn.
You probably know from your own experience about the study – work – retire circle. Taking into account that it’s a very broad generalization, it still scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to sound smartassish or know-it-allish, but the feeling of how short life is, has hit me quite young.
I made the socially praiseworthy choice of enrolling into university straight after secondary school. I moved together with my boyfriend not giving it any air after being in a long distance relationship from the start. While the western society sees no flaw in becoming educated, independent and devoted, it has left a dent in my soul.
It’s really hard to describe the feeling of emptiness that has no otherwise trackable source rather than the vague feeling of how short and uninteresting life can be. With little variations such as with whom will you mate to make kids, where will you go on holiday and how much taxes will you have to pay to the government.
This series of thoughts has been crossing my mind in repeated circles and occured while watching something random on the telly today. Note the words: random, telly. I voluntarily let some tv-channel into my mind just to fill it with something. Just to take away this terrible feeling of mental loneliness and overall emptiness.
This realisation flushed me over like a wave out of nowhere. Trivial things around me, washing the dishes, commuting to school, talking about nothing just to keep the words flowing, reading coursebooks, dragging my ass to gym – all of this to keep me from thinking further!
While the 1.3 kiloish organ of grey mass has caused me a considerable amount of mental and physical pain over the most recent past, I still find reasons not to give up on everything. I think, therefore I am. Thus I can pursuit the hunt for the meaning. And not give up even if the dark days happen quite often.
Dear reader, perhaps you have a tip or two about how to get out of this pickle? I’d gladly listen to your advice, be it going mountain climbing or sobbing it out in a corner or, optionally, on my poor boyfriend’s shoulder.
PS! The happy grass for all good purposes and not the ’bad’ ones, is a bad request, as it can only be a tool, not a solution. 🙂
Dear readers, I assume that all of you have been in a relationship. Or something close to it. Well, at least you know the butterflies in the stomach feeling, right?
Love is great and empowering and the leading force in life. You can love your jeans that have lost all shape and colour but you obstinately refuse to throw out or simply a well-written song. And of course, there is love for another person.
Let’s say you and your significant other have been together for a while. And everything’s going fine, besides a few fights every now and then to shake off the dust from an otherwise tranquil relationship. Take time to remember the smooth change of vocabulary that comes along as a bonus to the bond you share. When does ’I’ become ’we’?
There’s isn’t anything that distraughtful in starting to speak about yourself in the first person with switching the ’I’ to ’we’. Buddism laid aside, where losing ego is a virtue, I live in a Western culture and I want my damn ego back!
I have fallen in a trap of changing terms as my relationship is getting closer to a 1,5-year signpost. At some point, whenever I was refering to something I did myself, I began to use ’we’. No, ’we’ didn’t do the laundry and no, ’we’ didn’t get that damn dinner cooked. And still, I trip over the same misuse of pronouns. This is especially annoying when it occurs while talking to other people, couple-ish or not, making us two sounds like a couple that has passed their silver wedding.
Why does it bother me so much? The truth is, countless lovey-dovey moments later, I refuse to fuse. I am not a hermaphrodite, having one heartbeat but different minds, trapped in a single body. I am serious, he is easy-going, I like to read books, he barely touches them. He’s an owl, ready to party all night and sleep all day, while I’m wide awake 7 in the morning and deadtired at 11pm.
My brain knows the attitude towards ’we-ism’, yet my tongue is slow to learn the difference.
I don’t remember when or how did my first cup of tea happen. I suppose that it was black, heavily sweetened for a child to enjoy, poured from one cup to another to lose the heat. That was a beginning of a lifelong friendship.
But what I do remember from childhood is that teatime was always fun. Teatime meant gathering together. It was a moment for the family to sit down on the couch or in the kitchen, to take slow sips and talk.
My grandfather was the one with the biggest cup and strongest tea. While his cup normally contained near-black liquid, easily mistaken for coffee, then me and grandma prefered our tea of golden brown tone. And although grandpa liked his tea black as tar, he also didn’t miss a chance to dunk at least four spoonfuls of sugar in it. Never less. Grandmother was more cautious on sugar intake, yet she enjoyed a candy or five with her cup o’ tea. And what did I do? Besides risking getting diabetis at early age by pouring tons of sugar in my cup (still less than grandpa), I LOVED to dip white bread in it. I still wonder why I wasn’t a 100-kilogrammish kiddo with such a healthy habit.
When it was time to say goodbye to grandparents and run over the street to get back home, the same thing was repeated with minor changes of surroundings.
The ritual hasn’t changed much over the years. Teatime is still that part of the day when we gather together to chit-chat. Topics vary as much as teaflavours of the world – anything from politics to current everyday life things, from tips on how to polish wood to reminiscing about good old times.
Teatime is the glue sticking our family together. And although I betrayed tea by becoming a coffee-junkie, I am always ready for a homey gathering with tea, biscuits and topics to discuss.
There’s a funny thing I’ve noticed since moving to Denmark.
I sat on a train making its way towards Aarhus and the number of fields and bridges and little cosy towns on the way seemed as countless as the number of f- words on the Internet. Three and a half hours seemed to have a span of 13. Yet the tiring traintrip came to an end and looking back on it my rambling about the travel time and continuity seems silly.
More recently I was on the way to a gym through a city I don’t really know. Here I’d like to thank my trustworthy friend Google Maps that has always been a good tripadvisor. And my natural sense of orientation. Back to the point though. As I was on the 5-kilometre-long way, the streets just seemed to be stretching away in the distance. The destination seemed further and further away, although logically thinking I was getting closer. Add here some nasty dribbling rain that started as I walked and you get -10 on the mood scale. Yet I managed to find the right place in that maze of a city. After exercising my anger away, I started on my journey back. And guess what? Those 5-somethingish kilometres weren’t that long at all.
I guess the reason of this wierd perception of distance, which doesn’t change a single centimetre while the train whooshes on the tracks or the feet are running on a treadmill, is habit. In a place you know quite well, been there since childhood or spent a considerable amount of time, you get a little minimap in the head. Grocery store? 2 minutes walking. Library? 20 minutes on the bus on a traffic jam free hour.
In new surroundings, I have no tools to help me find my way through the streets or parks. I don’t know the place and the GPS navigation system in my brain is shut down for some time. At least while I get to the point of destination. After that the white blur has been corrected with some lines and schemes about where the hell I am.
Having been around this place for 19 years now, I am away from my home and family inhabitating it for the first time. Not alone, because I’ve moved closer to my boyfriend but to another country. It cheers me up to think that mom and dad are only 1,5 hours away from me. That isif I get there by plane. And also scartch out the train rides to the main airport and all the other 101 nuisances.
But besides taking a big step and starting a new page in my life, I’ve notcied that moving out is in it’s core also a funny thing.
Suddenly one becomes a lot more interested in interior design or home decor than is necessary. Back at home I would look at my mom’s stack of interior design magazines with a hint of boredom in the eyes, but now searching for the perfect chest of drawers or the perfect colour palette for the bedroom seems as exciting as watching two monkeys fight over a banana. Having your own place where to live, shared or only for one, urges to shape it in a personal way. Weren’t these magazines so damn expensive here, I would probably use them as wallpaper.
DIY seems like a solution to all problems. If you can get the materials. And the tools. And magically get some carpenter’s hands or a seamstress’s skills. So far my hands have been used only to type searchphrases to Pinterest and carry some wood pieces home from the streets. But my head is full of ideas and that what counts, right?
You are a walking threat in your new home. The first couple of days I just kept knocking down things and hitting myself on any corner imaginable. Luckily there is no decline to the number of mugs or plates on the shelves. My theory is that in a new home the person is not used to the arrangement of things and thus keeps walking around like a hazardous weapon of home destuction. Until they get used to the new order in their home. Which I am still trying to achieve. So far I’ve learned to lean forward or pull my head down not to hit the walls. Many bruises later my brain finally got used to the fact that we don’t have perfectly vertical walls in an appartment right under the roof.
That all the core of my musings on the subject of moving to a new place. Now the cleanfreak in me takes control and leads me to making my new home shine.
Today I noticed that once again I fell into the dark pit of pondering about my personal problems. After repeating the same trail of thoughts like a buddhist monk counting prayer- beads, I once again crawled out of the hole by thinking: on the whole, I have no reason to complain about anything. There is always someone who’s situation is worse.
1. My whole family is alive. The relationships running through this family aren’t always the warmest and cuddliest, but at least I have all of them still with me.
2. I have some education. 12 years of high school have given me enough knowledge to comprehend what’s going on in this world. Better than not ever sitting behind a school bench or lacking reading and calculating skills. I can read books and count my taxes, woo!
3. I am healthy. I have all of my limbs, no allergies, no illnesses. Should I even dare to open my mouth if occasionally a headache strikes?
4. I can have pets. Connected to the last point’s allergy part actually. I have 3 kitties at the moment. Some kiddos can’t even have a turtle.
5. I am fit. I can enjoy being in my own body and feeling confident about myself. An average running speed of 8.5km/h gives me certain benefits in case I have to run for my life.
6. I have friends. People come and go throughout all of our lives, but still I have a few whom I could call any time of the day and even 20 years from now. Plus they don’t judge me by the (good/but mainly bad) decisions I take, they are with me for my personality.
7. I can speak 3 languages. Fluently. 2 not so fluently. Imagine how many people in this world I could talk to!
8. I have some money. I don’t have to cope with a dollar or day or even less. I can go and by myself a favourable thing without having to think too much about the outcome.
9. I have a job. Always do. Maybe it’s just luck or the ability to adjust to circumstances. Having this sort of backup is quite reassuring.
10. I have some skills. I do not burn water or make food explode. I can draw and I can knit. I can make people laugh but I don’t think I have a sense of humor. I can fix things or find a way to get them fixed (it is useful to have male friends around).
11. Food in the belly. No struggle to survive is needed if there are 5 till 7 supermarkets or stores located on one square kilometre.
12. No war. People have barely heard the country name Estonia and the tourists who come here sometimes do it by accident. The risk of invasion is close to 0 (unless Russia has other plans for us).
13. Being born in the right time. I have the luxury to tell modern kids to go and play outside because that is what I did as a child. I was born exactly before Internet became widespread in the households, thus, I had a good childhood but am not technologically impaired.
14. I have Internet. I don’t have to use paper to write down my thoughts. And I can scroll cat pictures and memes all day long.
15. I have made it this far. Not bad, eh?