It’s not what you know, or where you go…

I’m in Japan at the minute, in a hotel 200 yards from where I used to live. A year ago, this place felt like home to me: the streets around me, the cafes and restaurants, the light and the sounds and the smell of the air. Now, it feels empty.

I don’t know if this is just me – I’ve always been a big sucker for nostalgia so perhaps it’s just me. But being back here makes me realise just how much this place, ANY place is tied in with the people around you.

Tonight I’ve walked past the place where my son fell off his scooter and scraped his knee; the shop where my mum came and bought all that crap (er… I mean, souvenir craft supplies?); the place where I looked at my wife on our anniversary, beautiful pregnant and smiling, and I stopped for a photo.

This city is full of of nostalgia for me, of a million small moments that made me love being here. But since my family left I find myself drifting round the same streets with a completely different feeling – an emptiness, a numbness that I didn’t expect.

I once saw a dead person – it was a grandparent at their funeral – and whilst this may sound weird, it feels kind of the same: something that LOOKS like the thing that you loved, but for some inexplicable reason is not them. A shell that looks like them but no more.

I think there are two reasons for the way i am feeling: 1) I’ve had way too much to drink (which I have) or 2) it’s not the place but the PEOPLE that made me love being here.

I can’t think of a moment I lived here that isn’t intertwined with the kids’ laughter, or dinner with friends, or my wife’s hand in mine.

What i want to say is that being here makes me aware of how much my wife and kids were the SOUL of my time in this place. Through their bickering (kids) and grumbling (wife) and their smiles and their voices they made this place come to life.

Making me think that makes me realise some things, and I wanted to say: to all of my readers who are friends and family – you are the people who made my life good (whether it’s school or university or my past workplaces, wherever I was) so thank you. To anyone else: just bear in mind the people around you are the key to your happiness. Treat them well.

Anyway, I’m tired now. I’m going to*


*At this point I must have fallen asleep. When I woke up this morning, the above post was on the screen, and my laptop was still on my chest (where it had heated up to about a thousand degrees).

As you can see I’m a nostalgic and melancholy drunk sometimes.┬áBut ‘drunk Doug’ clearly thought this stuff was important last night, and as he wrote it I think the least I can do is just hit ‘Publish’.

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3 Responses to It’s not what you know, or where you go…

  1. dougsan says:

    oh wow. just noticed the tags that I chose for this post when i was drink-writing last night. if they don’t tell you something about my emotional state I don’t know what does.

  2. warero says:

    Reblogged this on Javmode.

  3. Philip says:

    ‘If you open yourself to insight, you are at one with insight and you can use it completely. If you open yourself to loss, you are at one with loss and you can accept it completely’ (Tao 23). Perhaps we are not the people who make your life good, perhaps it is how you perceive us and give us meaning. If we can make your life good, we can also make it bad (not that we want to). Maybe the Tao is about acceptance of what is within and what is without, and then giving and receiving love to others and yourself -‘Patient with both friends and enemies you accord with the way things are. Compassion toward yourself you reconcile all beings in the world.’ (Tao 67). Maybe the key to your happiness is within. But ofcourse having a drink may make all these things clearer, at least for a time!
    Also maybe the laptop is the new hotwater water bottle / teddy for melancholy executives a long way from home. This could be an idea: to develop a more cuddlier version for this niche market. What do you think? Take Care Dougsan, look forward to seeing you soon and sharing our happiness. Philip

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