And so it is that I end this month of blogging while my boyfriend is in India in much the same way as I began it: with the flight tracker open in another tab on the computer while I periodically check in to digitally see him safely across the world.
I haven’t written in the last couple of days because of the understanding that when my boyfriend returns to Europe, and I greet him in what is now a couple of hours at the airport, it will be in the knowledge of news that none of us ever want to receive about a loved one.
Just before sitting down to write this I had a quick scan of the titles of the rest of my blog posts for this month and one thing has struck me. No matter how little we think we are doing with our lives, the life we have is still worth valuing. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I am a notorious self-critic and that if anyone was going to call me out on potentially “doing nothing” with myself for these five weeks, I would be first in line (with a clipboard and plenty of examples!).
All too often we don’t listen to the advice we give others. While here this month I have advised people to take time for themselves; to do whatever makes them happy; to go to the places they have always wanted to; to stop worrying about what others think and to make themselves a priority in their own lives.
Even writing that paragraph fills me with something that isn’t quite sadness but rather feels almost like pride. True, very true, that I have done relatively little for my twenty eight years, but I can look back on the advice I have given and know that I understand what it can feel like to act on such words.
Yet I have told hardly anyone about this blog or my novel.
This month I did not go to India which is still a decision I am certain was right for me. It was so hard to turn to my boyfriend and admit that the plans we had created in a kitchen in northern Italy now meant something different for me, or that the vision we had written together no longer held the allure for me that it once did. The day he went ahead and booked his ticket I felt like I could have cracked because of the idea that I was already shattering a future that hadn’t even begun to exist.
If you’ve been reading me this month you’ll know that in not going to India I have filled my time with this blog; with editing my novel; with hiding in the village café so that no-one can ask me why I have returned and with some volunteering. In living at home I have also reengaged with many of the issues facing my family and helped celebrate their various successes.
It has only been a month but now that it comes a close I understand a little bit more about time. If you are doing something you want to, no time is wasted. Nobody can judge what it is that you want to do with your time. If you’ve been lucky enough to tap into exactly what it is you’d like to be doing than very little else begins to matter because you do.
My boyfriend, when I tell him this, will probably smile and say he knew it all along. He has always told me that you cannot love anyone if you don’t love yourself first. I think that because of the last month – through finally acknowledging what it is I would like to do with my time and holding fast to it when tempted or pressured to deviate – I will meet him tomorrow morning in Paris a much more loving person than I was when he left.