For the local issue, Joe shares his thoughts on going back to the most local place you know - your hometown - and learning to embrace it.
*This is an archived article. Since 22 October 2017, LFB is only focusing on Berlin-related topics. Please check out our new platform, YEOJA Magazine, for material like this.
For some, the thought of a returning to the nest and the parentals after many years of independence can seem like a dreaded prospect.
And yet this is exactly what so many Millennials are faced with as student debt and a disrupted job market force these members of the so-called ‘Boomerang Generation’ to return home by the droves. Sometimes this takes place straight after uni, other times we must hang our heads in shame and admit economic defeat years after trying to eke it out on our own. As one such ‘boomerang’, believe me when I say it can be difficult to readjust, and if you’re about to be in the same situation as I currently find myself in I empathise with you 100%.
Returning to your hometown can feel demoralising at times. There are inescapable feelings of failure – after all, you’ve broken out into the world only to have your wings clipped. There are days when you see your friends getting up to amazing things on Instagram and the fomo is real.
But I always try to remember this already famous quote:
Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
What does this have to do with moving home, you ask? Well, I’m happy to answer.
Picture the scene: you’ve moved back home temporarily, with ambitions to move back to the big city at the earliest opportunity. The job hunt hasn’t been that fruitful and you’ve not yet saved enough for the deposit on an apartment. That’s OK, you’ll just work harder. After all, the situation is only temporary, right? Right?
But then time carries on. Maybe you’ve got a job and all the hours but it still isn’t enough. Meanwhile, your friends are getting on with life, settling down or living it up in the city. It feels like life is one big party and everyone is there, but you’re still getting ready. This situation – when the ‘temporary’ nature of moving home stops being so temporary – is what Lennon was referring to by ‘making other plans’.
I totally understand your desire to move back to the city; I’m fully on board with it myself. But if you solely focus on achieving that goal and forget to live life in the meantime, you’ll may find your mental health suffering and your optimism faltering.
In a bid to outsmart these very blues when I moved back to my oh-so-slow hometown, I took Lennon’s quote to heart. I kept my ambitions in mind and stayed in touch with my city-based friends, but I started to think locally. What could I get involved in? What exciting opportunities were heading my way? And most importantly, where could I get a really good cocktail?
As you can tell (because I’m writing an article about it), challenging myself in this way was one of my better ideas, in that it kept me sane. By embracing my hometown and everything it has to offer, I’ve been able to really carry on living.
And boy have I been living. I’ve reconnected with old friends, met new faces I never even knew were here, been involved in performance art (I watched), enjoyed science lectures in bars, visited local markets and festivals and even learned to drive.
I’ve got a few too many wrinkled tickets from my town’s theatre still shoved in my wallet, a stack of Polaroids from great nights out, and even managed to pick up a broken heart from a local boy along the way.
And I’m happy for it all. I’m happy because I carried on living my life whilst I can. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up here forever, maybe I’ll move somewhere completely different by the end of the year. Whatever I choose, I’m glad I didn’t waste a second of it.
So, if you take one thing away from this article, please, please, please let it be this: embrace your situation, whatever it is, and keep on keeping on – otherwise you might just see life pass you by, and that’s no fun at all.