Since I’ve moved back to Ireland I have been counting days, and creating various little mini-milestones in my head.
Number of days, weeks and months since I quit smoking (currently at 9 months with only a very occasional, random blip).
Number of days, weeks and months back in Ireland (currently at 9 months, with only an occasional brain meltdown where I think I have made the biggest mistake of my life.)
Today is another arbitrary milestone of absolutely no relevance to anyone except myself.
I have been back in Dublin for 6 months, today.
The first three months after my low key return were spent in my hometown of Limerick. It was the perfect reintroduction to life at home – being unemployed and sleeping in my childhood bedroom is hardly the stuff of which dreams are made. But it was very comfortable situation and a gentle method by which to get into the routine of Irish life.
Of course it was only ever going to be temporary. Real life was outside the window knocking – I needed a job and a place to live. While these were not urgent in the manner of life and death situations, they were kind of pressing.
My aim was to get a job in Cork. In my head I was slightly ambivalent about moving to Dublin. I’ve lived in Dublin before and it’s a good town, but it’s big. Bigger than Amsterdam anyway. And it’s expensive. And chaotic. And I knew (without wanting to sound insulting towards my homeland) that it would be quite a bit more inefficient and disorganised than the Netherlands.
I had a few interviews in Cork, where I was focussing my attention, but no success. That’s the nature of bigger cities though – there’s more employment opportunities. The first decent job offer came from Dublin so I packed my tent, and moved here.
Six months ago already.
It’s been largely positive. My housing situation began precariously, while flat-sharing with a Scandinavian mattress sniffer with anger issues – named Flatenemy. That was the longest two months of my life. However I now have my own gaff – a wildly expensive place that I can just about afford, but living off pasta for the last few days before payday is a sacrifice worth making.
In terms of social life, Dublin has much to offer and I am trying to do as much as I can within budget as I re-establish a social network of real life people (rather than online ones).
I’ve made new friends. I’ve revived some old friendships from the last century. And I’ve said goodbye in my head to some other old friendships. There’s been no dramatic fallings-out. Nothing bitter or angry – but time moves on and it’s impossible to replicate life from last century, and it’s probably foolish to try.
I guess I am making these lists in my head to help with the mantra I kept repeating when I came back- ‘Give it a year, give it a year.’
Well in three months it will be the first anniversary of my return to Ireland.
In six months it will be the first anniversary of my arrival in Dublin.
It’s at that point – in November – that I guess I need to start thinking about the future. Stay in Ireland – possibly or probably?
Stay in Dublin – possibly – but if I get my driver’s license then I can easily imagine moving elsewhere.
Move back to Limerick – I never thought I’d see the day where this was a viable and even attractive prospect. But it is.
Return to Amsterdam – well that’s the backup plan if all else fails.
There’s always Amsterdam.