The view from here
“Home - A place your feet may leave but your heart will always be.”
I’m currently back home in Germany for the whole of December. I’m working remotely while spending the Christmas holidays with my family and childhood friends, trying to gather strength for the new year ahead as well as figure out what it is I want from 2017 and the new life that is ahead of me.
As some of you might know, I’ve just recently come out of a six year relationship and am now trying to figure out how “life on my own” is supposed to work and what it’s supposed to look like.
What better place to figure this out than home? There is something about home that never changes. It’s a place of comfort and security, of love and belonging that always remains the same, no matter how long you’ve been away. Even though I’ve changed as a person since I’ve left this place over six years ago, the feelings that returning home trigger in me, stay the same. And it’s not just about the place, it’s about the people of course that turn the place you are from into your actual home. What better time to surround yourself with people that have been knowing you your entire life than during a crisis? When you feel not just alone but completely lost and lonely. Being at home is so comforting because you don’t need to justify or explain yourself and your behaviour. You can simply be without having to worry about anything else. Right now, I feel like simply being -existing on my own- is enough of a challenge and people at home don’t hold this against you. It’s actually the opposite, they help you find your way back to who you are.
I actually haven’t been on my own for the past 11 years, basically my entire adulthood. So I’m not quite sure how to handle this strange new situation yet. It almost feels like I have to find and rediscover myself again. The thing is, I thrive from sharing my life with someone. I thrive from caring about a significant other and from making decisions based on what's best for “the two of us”. I don't see it as a burden, it fills my life with meaning and my heart with a sense of joy, purpose and serenity.
But what now? Now that I'm alone. There is no what's best for "us" anymore. So I guess I need to ask myself questions that I haven’t had to ask myself in a long time - “What’s best for me?” and “What do I want to do?” Well I have of course asked myself these questions even while being in a relationship but the answers were always influenced by the fact that I wasn’t alone. You’d think that finding an answer to these kinds of questions should sound exciting and almost liberating, shouldn't it?! But to me it is nothing but terrifying right now. How can I decide what I want to do next all on my own? For a start, I need to figure out what it means to be on my own again and how I exist and operate as an individual.
I always thought I was a pretty independent person and knew what I wanted from life, for myself and what I expected from the future. But did I really?! I guess I had looked at all this through the “us lense” again, the one that you wear when you are in a relationship. It’s not so much anymore about what you want as an individual but what you want that works for the two of you. It’s about compromising. I’ve never minded compromising anything for the sake of my relationship. To be honest, I guess I never had to compromise on anything I couldn’t easily live with. I feel like I managed to make the most out of every situation and felt truly happy regardless of what kind of compromise was involved.
I guess I now need to learn how to rely on myself again. I need to trust that I know what's best for me without reassurance from someone else. I know that this will be a steep learning curve for me but I should try and see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
First of all, I’m trying to figure out where I want to live. How does anyone decide this for themselves? I feel almost pathetic asking this question but I am indecisive at the best of times. Having no one else to take into consideration when making these kinds of major decisions scares the life out of me. Despite my fear of potentially making the wrong decision, I’m trying to tell myself that this is my chance to try and “live in the moment” again. Now that my future plans have vanished, disappeared into thin air, I can, for once, just focus on myself again in the here and now. Take things day by day and see where life takes me. The options are endless so why don’t I just try to enjoy the freedom that comes with being all on my own?! I assume one day this will be over again and who knows, I might not get this scenario back at all? So for now, no matter what the future holds, the world is my oyster… I’m single, I have no kids, no mortgage, no major responsibilities that tie me down… I'm alone but I'm free. Here is to looking at the positives ;) Right now it feels like I'm kidding myself but hey it’s worth a try.
Either way, it’s time to start a new chapter. And what better time than to start this new chapter at the start of a new year?! I'm still trying to convince myself but maybe you guys can help to hold me accountable ;)
For now, I will use the rest of this year to keep collecting myself and my thoughts back home. The place I left over six years ago and have returned to as a slightly different person. Shaped and transformed by all the experiences I’ve had, the things I’ve seen and learned and lived through. It is true that, even though home is a place your feet may leave, your heart will always be.
Author - Natalie Gruner
A travel girl at heart, Nat co-created Travelher and is currently working remotely on a few different projects from her homeland, Germany. She is planning to settle in New Zealand in the near future, while building a more flexible life for herself that allows her to live in paradise without compromising regular home visits and continuous globetrotting.