Starting Over

The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge

Starting over is all too familiar a concept to me, and in several iterations. Country, home and direction would be the obvious ones that spring to mind, and I don’t feel obliged to dig much deeper. Perhaps starting over is for many a positive affair, but I have over time come to be excessively wearied by it. All things stable and unchanging are now the better things.

Not wanting to sound melodramatic, I would attribute myself with a degree of melancholy born from never being afforded the chance to stay in one place when young. Born in the Middle-East and straying between Dubai, Sharjah or Bahrain before aged six set the tone, and these shifts were all at once made paltry when the mother chose another man and with the children found themselves back in the old home. Starting over with a new family too.

Scotland and then England couldn’t possibly be more different than actual deserts but the general environment wasn’t a mark on the fifth and sixth schools in memory in seven years. At least then I was good through practice at making new friends and not wholly fed up as I would be later. Not wasting any time of course, we relocated to yet another completely far-flung location, although there probably couldn’t be a better choice than California.

Three years here, by far the victor in time spent wherever by this point, and as good a group of friends as I ever made. Everything was good in the pleasant hills around San Jose and so barely a discernible minute after my 11th birthday it was to Holland and away from everything I had grown more used to than ever before.

Great friends made there too, although the place itself comparatively dismal. Eindhoven is no drive through the mountains around Palo Alto or heading up the Santa Cruz coastline, or even just enjoying a few straight days of sunshine. But great friends, who there was little chance of remaining in contact with in the days without so much networking, and once we were back to England it was for a while like they never existed.

A brief stop at the school I attended many years before came to an end when by sick irony I expressed a degree of boredom and was whisked off to boarding school before my thirteenth year. A finer education you couldn’t ask for but the interest in people was largely gone and so I coasted through, comfortably insulated by my own apathy and a delight in trivial entertainments. Maybe I thought I would save my lingering supply of sociability for university, prepare myself for yet another round of introductions.

Sure enough I did and with no small amount of success in some regards. Yet the decision to follow in my grandfathers footsteps, and be a classicist, proved ill-made and after a year I started again at another institution, in a different field. Philosophy and theology did my nature little good but it didn’t matter, as tragedy intervened and losing my mother was adequate to shut down all my best intentions for a couple of years.

I think I tried to be a musician, not that I was unsure of my purpose, but more that looking back it’s hard to say this attempt at a completely divergent beginning was ever really invested in. Eventually I realised the dream was mad at best and returned to higher education. Third university, third interest, three more years on, and this last attempt at starting over might have paid off, but it remains to be seen.

Having not given you the whole story by half, don’t doubt there’s plenty of opportunity for recalcitrance. Relationships between friends, girlfriends, family and others all have their own stories of starting over or rebuilding. On a better day I could have relayed every detail dripping in optimism as indeed I often do think more on the incredible opportunities and experiences therein.

But from the perspective of starting over it has long felt that either by choice or circumstance a new beginning, wanted or unwanted, is not far around the corner.


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