Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Thursday, January 3, 2013


So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Apologies. But, allow me to jump right back in. I’m home. It’s been almost two weeks now since I touched down back in London (for the first time in sixteen months) and, for all that time away, it took almost none to readjust to being back. It’s like, for all the hoo-hah and upheaval that’s been taking place on the main stage of my life halfway around the world, home’s been The Constant, loyally bubbling away in the background, not bearing any bitterness that I’ve been away for so long. That’s not to say that nothing’s changed, but it all just slots back into place so naturally that it hasn’t really felt like there’s been any adjustment “process” at all.

Of course, I am aware that my visit home this time is essentially a holiday – a mere three weeks out of what has become my normal life in Japan – most of which has already flown by. Next time I come home, it’ll be For Good, and it’s then that it’ll be time for the real re-settling test…  when I have to start venturing down the dreaded Career Path.  There was a day after the Christmas buzz had faded last week when I got into a bit of a panic about it. Having been to reunion drinks the week before with old university mates, now all with their own partners, places and bourgeoning careers forming before them, I felt like something of the odd one out. Reflecting on seeing how everyone’s lives had changed, it felt like if I didn’t secure all three for myself shortly after returning, I’d be somehow inferior.

It’s a unique point in life. When I come home, it’ll be to an experience I’ve never really had: I’d been in formal education up to the age of 21, and two weeks after that ended I moved to Japan. I’ve never felt this kind of freedom in all directions looming before – I’ve been too busy jumping onto the Next Stage of my life as soon as the last one ends. So the thought of returning home without the safety latch of a predefined Next Stage was pretty scary. That’s why, for a while, I’d had my sights set on doing a Masters course, in Magazine Journalism at City. I could apply for it while I was in Japan and, if I got on, I’d start in London in September, just a month after getting back from Japan. No waiting around, straight onto the Next Stage, as always. It was a mental safety net.

But, since being home, I’ve decided I can do without it. I still think journalism is for me – I’m just not sure if starting a Masters course as soon as I get home is. I was so desperate to get a Next Stage lined up that I didn’t take time to stop and think about whether the one I’d chosen was really right for me. I lacked the confidence to slow down and breathe outside of this safety net I’d constructed. But that’s stupid: I’m 22, I’ve got time to figure out exactly what it is I want to do. I can get some more experience, think about it, really narrow down my field of interest and then make my decision. If I decide the course is right for me, there’s always next year. After all, what’s the hurry? Is there really a difference between 22 and 23? And if the course isn’t right, another avenue awaits. It’s just up to me to find it.

Sure, right now it might seem like friends’ lives are speeding ahead ticking every box of grown-upedness before I’ve even taken my pen out, but I shouldn’t stress myself out with hurrying to catch up before I’m ready. I’ll get there someday. And in ten years’ time, I’m sure I’ll look back and wish I’d just chilled the frig out and taken the time to enjoy the freedom that comes with being 22.

(Also forgive the shitty lack of images. I've gone over my quota or something. On it). 

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