It’s both beautiful and terrifying, the idea of a blank page. All empty and untouched, meaning anything could happen. A full range of possibilities. And yet, endless possibilities also leave room for fear, doubt, and that stupefying feeling of being simply overwhelmed with everything that could be done. Where to start? The first sentence is always the hardest one, and the sight of a blank page is not always easy. But as soon as you’re over the obstacle of that first blank page, those other 364 pages will fill up steadily.
I love the thought of a blank page, a fresh start: You’re given the possibility to invent a new, improved version of yourself. You can leave the past behind.
At the same time though, I’m afraid of the thought of a fresh start: You have to invent a version of yourself — but if that’s not the best version of yourself? A fresh start always means uncertainty about what future will bring, about where you’ll end up in the end. And sometimes, constant uncertainty is exhausting at some point.
In the spring of 2013, I wrote an article on how I see my life as an unwritten story. To a large extent, that post still applies to my life right now. But still, I added a few new chapters and labels to my life in 2013: Master of Arts, employee, inhabitant of Göttingen — although I saw very little of this coming.
Life surprised me last year. I spontaneously traveled to places; I was offered a job in a city that never even was on my radar. It seems like all of the memory-worthy things happened on a whim: The road trip to Basel, Switzerland? We planned that two days before we left. My wonderful solo getaway to Paris in June? I booked my bus three days before. My flight to Ireland? I hesitated for a while and then booked everything three weeks in advance. The sudden job offer in a new city, in a new state, that had me leave everything behind? I had less than 24 hours to make up my mind. And when I finally found a place to live after desperate weeks of apartment hunting? I had the interview with my future roommate on a Tuesday and was all moved in by Friday.
With all these unpredictable ups and downs, I somehow feel like the only constant in my life is that there is no constant. Life keeps surprising me with how things fall together, and apart.
Just like last year, I began the New Year without any fixed travel plans. I’m dreaming about an art history geek solo getaway to Florence and a week on the Canary Islands with the boyfriend. I want to go back to Lisbon, Europe’s best capital and city that feels like home like no other city. I want take photos like crazy in Scotland; I want to explore culture in Warsaw. I want to make a trip to Paris my annual travel tradition. I would love to meet a bunch of blogger girls for a weekend in Madrid.
Of all these plans are somewhat realistic, all these dreams could come true. Some might not really happen in 2014. But there also might be some destinations popping up on my radar that I never considered before. It has always been like that.
Even if I don’t jump out of airplanes on a regular basis (read: never), I think life is an adventure, a constant rollercoaster ride: I don’t know where I’ll geographically, personally, emotionally be in a year from now.
Maybe I’m facing all this uncertainty, because I simply chose a career path of uncertainty. Maybe my life is not as fixed yet, because I’m in my twenties, still trying to find my place in the world like all of my peers. Maybe I just long for travel, change of scenery, and new experiences and challenges too badly. Maybe however, this constant uncertainty is just life. Life — a chain of unpredictability, surprises, and decisions on a whim.
So here’s to unpredictability, to uncertainty,
to blank pages, and to everything unexpected in 2014!
Happy New Year!
PS: All photos were taken at the little New Year’s celebration in Germany I attended this week. Many thanks to my friend Janina for hosting and spoiling us with her impeccable Turkish cuisine skills!