Where Am I?

I had a thought, the other day — two weeks after arriving back from the UK — that surprised me even though it shouldn’t: I suddenly realized I didn’t have to plan the UK trip anymore. It was over and done, and the next one wasn’t for another six months. It felt strange to think that, and somewhat wrong, too.

What you have to understand is that, for the first quarter of this year, the UK trip was a permanent part of my brain. Even when I wasn’t actively planning it or thinking about it, it was there: I’d think of the future as “pre-going to the UK,” and “post-going to the UK.” (There wasn’t really a lot of the latter; it was as if the first two weeks of April were an event horizon that I’d never actually manage to pass, at times.)

I would do mental math continuously: how can I do X, Y, or Z with the time I had there? How much time would I have I have? When should I leave and return, how long am I staying in each place, when should I be where? It was never-ending, and ever-present, and even when decisions were made, then it was time to book things and spend extortionate amounts of money, and worry about that, too, while trying to remember all the details and also wonder if I’d made all the right choices.

All of that is behind me now, and has been for a few weeks, but it took me a long time to actually realize that: such was the enormity of the trip in my head that I needed that time to recover before I could realize what wasn’t actually there anymore. There’s a whole level of stress and background noise that just isn’t present anymore, and as grateful as I am, I’m also feeling curiously lost at sea without it.

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