Happy Anniversary

Today is my 365th day in Estonia. Happy Anniversary to me.Time is construct but it’s one that I use every day and I find at least as useful as I do hindering. The problem with anniversaries is that they invite self-introspection – a thing I already do too much of.

The first thing I felt when I realized it’d been a year was actually crushing disappointment because that’s just the type of cheery individual that I am. I wasn’t disappointed about my move, or how life has been in the past year. I don’t have any specific complaints and for the most part, I have the opposite thing (praise? compliments?). I’ve really enjoyed the past year overall. It’s probably been the best year overall in my life in a lot of ways which is really lucky. My problem is that when I look at myself, I don’t feel changed by the experience. I feel the same.

It’s hard to experience time linearly. And worse, slowly. Every second and minute is an agonizing slog to the next one, drawn out across inhalations and exhalations. In this way, there’s no moment when you suddenly are different. There is no blink of you eyes when suddenly you are revealed as another so presumably there have already been shifts and movements in myself, too imperceptible to the life-experiencer to notice.

I feel very glad to be able to be here though. I feel like this is where I am supposed to be right now. The last two years I had spent in Seattle I felt like I was starting to come apart at the seams in a lot of ways and I just assumed it was the way things were when you got older. It turns out that is probably not the case.

Looking back over this year though, I mostly feel guilty but about weird things. I feel bad about “wasting my time” and “not being productive”. I feel like I laid good groundwork for something but I still don’t know what it is. I thought that by age 30 I’d have a clear idea of what I was doing but I’m just as confused now as I was 20 years ago at a job fair when they asked me if I liked art or science.

I wanted to take this year off to really get down to what I wanted to do but I think I feel more lost than ever. When you can do anything, it definitely paralyzes you from being able to make choices sometimes (or maybe just me).

I also get caught in the loop of “if I really wanted to do this, why is it so hard to do”.

This whole entry is just a list of vague personal complaints. I want to try and turn that around. What do I love about Estonia? What I love the most is the feeling I get when I wake up in the morning and I remember that this is probably my personal definition of “making it”. I love the long, dark winter. I love summer sunsets at 11pm. I love brackish water. I love being able to take a bus nearly anywhere. On time. For free. I love how little people bother you. I love how everyone walks around on the streets. I love thoughtful blinking yellow lights instead of stern reds. I love watching tourists and feeling like I belong. I love hearing people speak in Estonian and understanding them sometimes. I love packages with 10 languages on them. I love people carefully waiting for crosswalk lights. I love vacation time. I love respectful bosses. I love how easy it is to make friends. I love new accents. I love accidentally Italian. Or French. Or Japanese. I love black bread. I love currant flavored things. I love our landlord. I love the small spaces. I love random music when the tram doors open. I love how quiet everywhere except on our street. I love the reflection of the Old Town in towering glass windows. I love not having heat waves. I love snow. I love thoughtful boxes. I love not seeing Jesus. I love people holding groceries on the tram. I love bogs. I love weird birds and trees. I love that sometimes I forget where I am and then I feel a burst of joy when I remember. I love the walkway between to our house. I love the sense of safety and security.

I love all the things and I feel guilty like I am simply consuming all of them and giving nothing back. How do you give back the feeling I have?

This is a largely disjointed piece and I tried to edit it to make it better but I don’t know. After a year my feelings and thoughts are just as nebulous as ever. They have little meaning or value beyond just existing.

But at this moment at least, even if I don’t always feel happy, I am so full of love and joy. And I’m grateful for where I am.

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