A short one, this one.
My story, I soon learned, was both common and unique. To recap, I was an artist not partaking in their art. A professed artist. And I soon discovered, upon telling friends my plan to leave the city of London and start anew somewhere else, that I was not the only one feeling this way.
One friend had been working in the city for years and only recently found a job somewhat in line with his desired profession. Another had just, after many years in the city, begun receiving enough commissions to cut down her hours at the coffee shop where she worked. Evening and weekend artists, I soon realised, where quite a common thing in the city.
I found among these artists the most common response to my saying I was leaving was a sort of reluctant ‘well that makes sense.’ A shrug, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, mixed with worried look, as if it were entirely unnatural.
The second most common response was a sort of glazed look of incredulity. An utterance of shock and little else – sometimes accompanied by a ‘why would you do that?’ To avoid diving too deep into explanation – I was still myself freaking out about the journey – I would often change to subject.
The third most common, and by far my favourite response, was a genuine exclamation of excitement. It was not a questioning of my insanity or an inability to understand what I was thinking. It was a sincere happiness for the adventure I was about to undertake. And it made my own thoughts about the future that much calmer.
Because I knew what I was doing was a little insane. And I often asked myself why I was doing it.
And I also knew in spite of all this that it was right. Or at least I knew I had to do this – whether it is right or not remains to be seen.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if you have a friend who decides to go on a random and overwhelming adventure, try to sound excited, try to support them. It’s among the more reassuring responses you could give.