Do you know what happened on Law & Order: SVU last Saturday? No? Well, I do – because I watched four episodes back-to-back in bed last weekend, pausing only to make an Options hot choc in the ad break. Oh, and speaking of bed: I was in it by 8.30pm.
No, I’m not ill, or struck down by a severe bout of period cramps: this is actually a pretty typical Saturday night for me these days. I’ve been out of university for two years now, and the juxtaposition between my old life and my new one – up here in Manchester – is startlingly different; in fact, I feel a bit like I’m homesick for my old life. Lifesick, if you will.
oversized denim jacket: asos
The other day, I saw someone had written a blog post about their trip to York: a city that I lived in for 4 years, and, although I’m from down saaaaaaaaf (Cheltenham, if you’re interested) I went to uni there for four years, and had some of the #besttimesever!!! in this city. (Vom.) This time two years ago, I had a great social life. Great network of friends. Great place to live. And then I moved.
I moved away from York because I felt like it’d got a bit stagnant: I remember thinking that I hated not being able to pop to the supermarket without bumping into someone, and my familiarity with everything felt claustrophobic. My friends who were from York rarely moved away; you were born there, and you stayed there. It never changed. So I took a job in Manchester, and drove three hours up the motorway to a place where I had zero friends and didn’t know where anything was: and now here I am, nearly two years later, still not feeling satisfied. In fact, feeling lifesick.
Seeing that blog post filled me with nostalgia: like, all-consuming, had to pause for a minute, what am I doing here nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got a social life and a great boyf (HEY BAE) in Manchester, so it’s not all bleak. I’m not desperately unhappy or miserable or an unsociable hermit – even though the term ‘lifesick’ conjures up some pretty depressing images. It’s more the realisation that my life is definitely a lot calmer that it was this time two years ago, and, realistically? It’ll probably never get back to that point.
I miss going out every weekend, and I miss having a big network of friends around; it’s a crap feeling when it’s a Saturday night and your three local pals have other commitments (how rude of them, right?). I can’t be spontaneous anymore, living too far out of the city centre to just go for draaaaanks on a whim, and having a 9-6 means most evenings I just want to crash on the sofa and eat Kettle Chips.
It’s almost like my impulsive and carefree youth has just disappeared, and I wasn’t really ready to let it go.
I speak of my time at York a little through rose-tinted glasses, and I bet if I rewound to just before I left, I’d be nowhere near as happy as I remember being. I miss Cheltenham, too, because I know where everything is and I’ve got a network of friends down there: but, truthfully, I’ve not lived there for 6 years and have no desire to go back. So why am I lifesick?
I thought I’d adjust to living oooooop Norf a lot faster than I have done: at the moment, it feels a little like a stop-gap before something else, and that kind of scares me. Occasionally, I have a flash of panic that I made the wrong decision moving here, and I should have moved to London like everyone else – but I knew I wanted financial independence, and to live by myself initially, and you can’t do that in the spenny city that is the Big Smoke. Not feeling at home puts me on edge: will I ever really relax up here? Will I ever see my flat as mine, and not a box I rent before moving somewhere else?
How can you stop feeling lifesick? That’s the real question, and one I’m still trying to figure out. I’m trying to explore more of Manchester, because, even though I’ve been here for 2 years, I’ve not seen much of it apart from the Alchemist (fave) and the Primark (classy). Blogging is handy, because you build up relationships with people from all over the city – even if it’s just via Instagram, bumping into each other at events or by total coincidence is always great. Reconnecting with old friends who live near(ish), to try and widen my #clique.
I’m trying all these things, and I’m hoping they’ll work: but if they don’t, that’s okay too. Maybe being lifesick is like a mourning of your crazy days at university, and you just need to give yourself some time to move on from it? It probably took me a while to get used to living in York, but I just don’t remember that bit (Corky’s shots, I’m looking at you) so perhaps I just need to give this time – with a little less drinking and a bit more structure…