Lockdown has made me nostalgic. Almost a year ago I wrote a letter on facebook to my adopted city, my college home away from home, and I find myself drawn to the city again now. (I’ll add the original Dear Hull letter in a separate post). I merely wrote about the things I missed, though a few experiences creeped in there too.
The other night I was suddenly and without warning transported back to a moment in time. Sitting in an old mans pub in Old Town with work colleagues, the name of which was completely escaping me. But I knew exactly where it was. So at 11.15 at night I was lying in bed, the only light coming from my far too bright screen as I wandered the streets of Hull via Google maps looking for this elusive pub. And I found it, of course. Temporarily closed, as like everything else. The Burlington Tavern, for anyone wondering. Nice pub. It was down the street from my work place. And while I hated the job – sales, not for me, didn’t quite last 6 months – the people were wonderful. All a bit cracked. My kind of folk.
As with most work groups, there were a couple of groups within the group. There was the younger guys (and one guy who wanted to be younger) who would be out all weekend, drinking to excess and inevitably showing up late to work on a Monday morning. These guys would take to Lloyds or Weatherspoons on Friday after work and would stay there for the night. I would sometimes join them for a couple of drinks but would politely make my excuses and leave early on. Not my scene, thanks all the same.
Then there were the other crowd, made up of misfits and oddballs. And I say that lovingly, because they were the ones I felt most at ease with. And it was with these particular people that I would find myself sitting in The Burlington after work on a Friday. I didn’t go often, and I certainly was not a regular, but it was nice to sit and talk with people who were all doing a job because it was a merely a job, a means to an end. To talk with people of varying ages who were all in similar boats.
Talking about these after work drinks led the Dad to ask about the job I held after this one, and where did that crowd go for team bonding? Which led us on a merry wander of Bev Rerd, looking at memorable haunts, and some haunting memories.
For the uninitiated – so, most of you – Beverley Road (to give it its full and proper title), stretches from Hull City Centre and eventually pairs up with Cottingham Road, which is the University address. Bev Road was, and by the looks of it, still is, home to an array of pubs and student friendly eateries. I’d say restaurants but that would be overly generous.
I tended to stick to its trendier counterparts, Newland Ave and Princes Ave. Trendy and tailored to the students who crowded them for 9 months of the year. Full of shops and pubs and restaurants, forever changing yet forever constant.
I have been trying to decide why I am feeling so nostalgic lately. Is it simply the huge life changes crashing in on me? A baby, a move to a new city and a new job, all followed shortly after by a world wide pandemic can’t be good for consistency and life balance. Is it just the being a parent thing? I love him and wouldn’t change him, but that time in my life was so full of options and possibilities. Every day was an opportunity to meet a new person or try something different. I suppose that’s what university is all about.
Yes, university, college if you prefer, is about learning and study and forging a path for yourself through academia. But it’s also about forging a path for yourself in your personal life too. Finding out who you want to be, or as is maybe more important, who you don’t want to be. Try that sport or drink or activity and realise that no, Ultimate Frisbee is not your sport, Snakey B is as bad as it sounds and politics is definitely not your area of expertise. But look at that, you crossed three more things off your list.
Maybe I am nostalgic for the lost possibilities. For the what if’s, the sliding doors moments. There are no regrets – okay, maybe some – but there is always a little bit of curiosity.
Maybe I am missing human interaction. I was a bit of a social butterfly at university and now I can count on two hands the amount of people I am still in touch with from back then.
Recently, under another late night nostalgia bubble, reached out to an old University friend. One I hadn’t spoken to in a decade. I sent an email off into outer space thinking surely this is a non starter, this email address must be dead. But she replied a few days later. This was weeks ago and I still don’t know how I feel about hearing from her. But I was the one that initiated it so I can’t really back out now. But, thankfully I suppose, she is also a mum to a toddler so the emails are few and far between.
I miss people. I miss talking to people, getting to know them. Sitting over a tea or a drink and having nowhere to be and nobody relying on me and just being. Existing. Enjoying the moment. I think partially that’s why I am writing again. To exist. To be present and enjoy the moment. To remind me who I am again. Because being his mum is amazing and wonderful, but it is not all I am. I feel like the she of my uni days has been lost somewhere. But I’m here, trying to find her again.
Original Dear Hull letter can be found here – https://mommymostly.com/2021/02/24/dear-hull/