Where did the fun go?

For many, many years I have been so driven towards something. The something has sometimes changed, but it has always been something I was determined to succeed in. It has revolved around the same theme more or less, probably not as obvious to the ones observing than to me living it. The route has been more exhausting than I’ve ever would have imagined it to be and I have failed more times than not. But I kept pushing, kept attempting to find new ways to approach, to find new perspectives. It has been a constant struggle, a struggle almost as impossible to win as taking a perfect selfie on the roof of Dover Castle on a windy day.

Somewhere along the way the fun in it was lost. The passion that had been the driving force all these years, was gone. I found myself accepting that life wouldn’t be as I had expected it to be and dreamt of. Like I gave up trying to get a normal picture of myself on Dover that day, I realised I had given up on the belief that I could achieve both fulfilling and fun life. I had accepted that the passion was gone. I had settled for boring. The goals were the same, but they were now swept in a veil of necessity and indifference. Unlike the imperfect selfie, my imperfect life didn’t bring out a smile.

And then I went to Italy. I rediscovered my smile, my essence for being, my driving force. The gap between where I was and where I wanted to be, became evident. I had to change my ways. As the researcher I plan to be I had to find the cause for this. Was Italy the magic quick fix? Was it the Italian men? The Italian food? The Italian culture. The architecture? Njaa, nope, nope, yes and yes. England would probably do, so would Germany, Greece, the Netherlands… The reason was I missed travelling, missed to get swamped in studying beautiful architecture, missed to feel the creativity, that has been frozen due to cold weather (yes, it is a thing), flow.

I believe it is symptomatic for adulthood that we deprioritize fun, that we settle for less – at work, at home. I was too busy trying to do things right and ended up doing things wrong – for me. Good thing we’re now facing a new year, a brand new year with clean slates. I will enter 2019 with the wisdom that looking silly with your hair all over the place will more often than not bring out a smile. The more I look at the picture the funnier it gets because I then remember the struggle me and my friend had on the rooftop that day. And then it reminds me of other silly hair moments – there’s been quite a few, I was after all a teenager in the ’80s.

My word for 2019 will definitely be: fun