Been a couple of years since I wrote my previous chapters so I thought it would be best to write out my recent experiences post 2018 especially since I’ve had another episode of anxiety recently. I would like to continue where I left off in Chapter 14.
Joining meetup was the best thing I could have done given my own life scenario. Initially when I moved up to Nantwich, the only people I knew of were work colleagues and who I was living with. Having to adapt to living with someone given that I got used to living in my own home doing what I wanted to now just having my own room and sharing a kitchen. There was a need for me to get out more.
Fortunately the upside to only renting a room and letting out my own house was I was able to be more financially settled. I had spent the majority of 2018 in serious overdraft struggling to save but that changed when moving up. And with the added bonus that I got a large portion of expenses paid from work in one go, that enabled me to go to Australia over Xmas into 2019. It was while I was away that I looked at the meetup group I’m in now to expand my social circle. To this day, I’m still going to the group and have some friends for life there.
My first event was Games night. It took place in a pub where anyone could bring any sort of board games. I was one of the last ones to turn up and there must have been 15 or so there already. Rather nervously, I asked if this was the meetup group and they said yeah come and sit down. The first question posed to me was unexpected - “Do you want to be Hitler!?” There’s me thinking ermmm okay! The reason for this being asked is that the group were about to play a game called Secret Hitler which even today, I have no clue what the game was about. However we did move onto a different game called Scrawl which was an absolute laugh. And it made me realised what bat shit crazy people I was dealing with! My kind of people! I had a really good night.
The events kept on coming for me. A week later I was out with the group for a meal out, a week after that was another meal out again, then a few weeks later was another games night. By March I was then going to horse races too and started to become more of a regular in the group and make decent friends from it.
Even though I had not seen Lauren decently since the start of 2018, I was still struggling to get over her from time to time. Despite me making really good friends from this group, i can and do feel lonely a lot of the time when I’m back in my residence. Note this saying residence rather than home because living where I was didn’t feel like my home. My loneliness now and again still made me wonder about Lauren and by the month of May, I found out that she was engaged to her boyfriend. This was the final blow to me regarding my thoughts of Lauren. There was no point in even thinking about her anymore. I had to move on because she had already done so herself and then some. This was de ja vu all over again when finding out Jade had got engaged. In all honesty this did me a favour though as much as I hated as I could concentrate on myself fully as best I could.
I had to get it over it quickly anyway as I was flying to Spain for a work trip the next day for a week. As soon as I got back, I was near enough straight out with a weekend away with my friends camping in Wales. It all seemed a bit of a blur at the time by the time I was in Wales. I was amazed to have been invited considering I had only known half of them since January and some of them I was meeting for first or second time. It was a good trip though but the constant few weeks of work before had taken its toll on me. So much so that I forgot a few items to bring including my sleeping bag!
The meetups kept on coming around and I was starting to feel like an integral part of the group but also forming some really decent friendships. This was exactly what I wanted to do and not thing about dating. I always maintained at that time that I would be open to it but only if something happened organically rather than purposely looking for it. Having close bonds led to activities outside of the group. I was off camping again with a different group in August. By November, I was seeing Feeder live in Manchester! Amazing turnaround since flying out to Australia.
However my highlight of the year came when I flew out to Japan for a 2 week holiday in October. In short, this was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. I flew out to Japan on my own and would meet with fellow travellers who I never met before. Essentially this was kind of to my advantage considering I had experienced meeting new people before through my meetup group. We had single travellers, couples, family relatives and friends coming from UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Together we all formed a strong bond which enabled to have the most amazing time ever. For me, I found it life changing to the point where I gained more confidence and forgot all the previous troubles I wrote about in my previous chapters. The experiences I had are actually too long to list down here but my own highlights if I had to be picky were: dressing as Pikachu and doing real life Mario kart on the streets of Tokyo, attempting to be a Samurai warrior, spending all day drinking in Kamakura whilst being stuck in our hostel because of a typhoon, karaoke singing in Kyoto, all the cuisine I tried and the amazing laughs and pictures I took. Its an experience that will be hard to replicate. I’ve never been to a country where the people are so humble and accommodating. The culture is so vastly different to what we used to in the UK.
When I got back home, I decided the time was right to see if I could find love. I felt ready and didn’t have any emotional baggage from before. But rather than the organic approach as I maintained before, I went back online to find someone. Which I was ok with at the time. I accepted. I had some good dates out of it and one of which was when I was in Sweden during a work trip! Much to my surprise if I’m being honest how I pulled that one off. But overall, it showed how far I came along from the point of feeling very low a year earlier prior to flying out to Australia and joining meetup.