Glasgow airport again. Cloudy as always, to make it clear I’m back. This time thankfully, at least no rain as I wait for the bus into the city. It’s about 15 minutes across to the centre of Glasgow then the train home, and it’s a funny old sight. Familiar streets, familiar people, familiar shops, bars & landmarks. As ever, showing nothing’s really changed in the months I’ve been gone.
It’s nice to be back (for a while anyway). Unlike on the road, home has the luxuries of…
- tons of books
- fridge always full of food
- no problem with the language (largely)
But there are downsides. For starters, everyone’s assuming my plan is to find some kind of “job” now. But for me, that has too much simply an element of “that’s what everyone else does so that’s what you’re supposed to do.” And yes, after a few weeks there’s another drawback: boredom.
As you may know, it’s very often cloudy here in Glasgow. Maybe it plays a part, but I find here people aren’t as upbeat or passionate as in other places. There’s more a negativity, an apathy, not so much enthusiasm for “making things happen”. If you’ve read about Glasgow, you’ll know it has quite a shipbuilding history, but this declined sharply through the 1960s and under Thatcher in the 1980s. That, and many other events, are possible factors: feel free to read about the “Glasgow effect“ to which I can believe there’s an element of truth. Poor sunlight, lack of vitamin D, stress, cold, generally poor quality of life and negativity. While I’m optimistic that life nowadays can be much more. We have the resources and opportunities our ancestors could only dream of.
However, our generation’s outlook I believe, is ‘we really don’t know’. About so many things. What the future holds for us, what the world will look like in 5, 10, 20 years’ time. There’s also the Brexit issue, and plenty confusion surrounding that.
So here’s my plan, from a few things I’ve learned and plan to take further: A key thing to keep in mind, anywhere, is that priorities, values, attitudes and approaches can be so diverse and ambiguous. For instance, our society tends to value how much experience a person has. The cold ‘amount’. But one thing I’ve concluded: learning from experience is a skill in itself. What’s equally important is what you take from it, what you make of it, how you make it your own and above all, your response: the realisation(s) it leads to, the decision it invokes, the action it impels.
Which has taken me to this stage: Now that I have my new passport – luckily still with the words ‘European Union’- there’s a lot more exploring still to do. Where there’s plenty more to see and learn while I’m still free to cross European borders! OK, there are some nice things back home. All the perks I’ve mentioned, and maybe I could settle in to something safer and more comfortable. But the question is, do I particularly want a comfortable life? From everything else I’ve done (training, travel, martial arts, different competitions & projects), I’d be uneasy about not pushing myself in some way.
Think about it: What are people’s greatest fears? In my view, that of uncertainty, and that of being themselves. Maybe they’re related. The more I think about my idea, the more possibilities I see and the more enthusiastic I am. I’ll look at it as an investment. In my life, in myself, for the learning experience, for the people I meet, the infinite opportunities it could open. I’ll be able to hear more views on Brexit, re-connect with old friends, push further out my comfort zone in every way. And go home with even more to evaluate and reflect on.
Let’s take another angle: We’ve evolved primarily to survive. However, as humans, our lives can be, and are now more than that. We seek purpose and direction. And a key lesson for me was, the people around you’s opinion of what you’re supposed to do with your life is really just your culture, that life decisions are ultimately up to the individual.
I know I probably don’t have a perfect strategy. I know a lot of people probably won’t “get it”. But what do I have to lose, anyway? Ultimately, the only thing holding me back is myself.
And the only way to find out is to do it.
You never know what’s on the horizon.