I’ve just got home from my grand tour of England. I went almost as far west as you can go without hitting Wales, I went south and stood in the English Channel, I went far into East Anglia. I caught up with school friends, work friends and family. I went back to 1996, 2013, 1994. I talked to my future self, and I saw my nine year old self on video. I spent all of one day, and most of two others, ill in bed.
And now I’m home, and I’m exhausted. I want to start everything, and I don’t know where to start. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I feel that I ought to be starting everything – and ‘ought to’ is the oldest and most dangerous of all the monster phrases. It’s not what I want at all. And there’s no particular reason why starting should happen right now. So I shall give myself permission to begin exactly when I need to, and not before.
I want everything to happen, and I want everyone to leave me alone. I’m panicking a little bit, because I was too ill last week to do certain things I’d meant to (organise my thirtieth birthday party, for example) and it’s nearly September.
I’m reminding myself that no reasonable person would expect me to come home from what has actually been quite a stressful, people-full, week and start working on the next thing. I’m reminding myself that I have left tomorrow (a bank holiday here in England) clear for a reason.
How will I start the journey? I don’t know, yet. I’ll go to bed tonight and sleep, trusting and believing that tomorrow morning the fog will have lifted and the path will be clear. Maybe I’ll want to start everything tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have the courage to phone my new doctor and get the sickness certificate I would need to reclaim the days of leave I lost to illness. Maybe some completely new and surprising solution will have emerged.
I’ll start the journey rested, happy and confident. I’ll start the journey when I’m ready, and I will trust that this will coincide with the journey being ready to start itself.