Monday, 28 July 2008

Young @ heart

I know, I know, before you jump down my throat for using this line in describing myself, since I'm only 29, let me remind you the young & old is a relative description of a person's status & as such cannot be restricted to one age group!

This line barged in on my thoughts returning from work today while thinking (& excuse my mental jump here but I did use the word barge) about the merits of living in hilly green Kent! On a day when London is basking under C30 temperature & 90% humidity I only had to step outside the train onto the platform to feel the difference, the cool fresh breeze was a wonderful change from the artificial coolness of recycled air in the office & the mugginess of the air on the streets.

So I was in the middle of mentally congratulating myself on my choice of location when this intruder line jumped in without any obvious logical connection to see.

So me being me I took my blackberry & started punching in the line & retracing the mysterious thinking patterns that led me to it. If you're wondering, this is how I write the majority of my blogs & that should answer to why my sentences and thoughts are all over the place sometimes.

So back to young @ Heart! I will ask for your patience here for this will take some extra lines to go through. I remember my family’s reaction when I first told them that I'm planning on buying a house outside London! To my parents who spent their entire time in this country centralised in Fulham road, living on the edge of zone 6 (about 27miles away from central London for those who don’t know the “Zone” lingo) resulted in a reaction similar to telling them I’m buying the house in Scotland! They were very polite about it knowing that I’m the one who will be living in the place after all but they didn’t hide their “concerns” about the distance and the daily commute that I will have to follow.

My siblings were more open about it, “why the hell do you want to live outside the tube network”, “1 hour commute every day by train!!!” and the star reply “you’ll be a total foreigner there sticking out like a sore thumb”! well that day has passed and I’ve been living in my house for more than 3 years now, my parents love staying over with me whenever they come, they swear by the easiness of moving out and about and I’m a usual stop point for those on their way to cross the English channel.

Me buying my house was the first “adult” decision I’ve made! You might think that coming over here to begin with was a big enough call but actually it wasn’t, it was a mix of luck and impulses that led me to England and it was a similar set of reasons that led me to my current job which resulted in my settling here rather than returning to Syria after my degree.

That first decisive conscious choice that I made was followed by other, equally important and fundamental ones which resulted in me being where I am today. But here is the trick, I’m a free independent woman, living on her own and shouldering a job and a mortgage but it hasn’t been that long, relatively speaking, when I was the youngest of lot, spoiled in every imaginable way and without a care in the world! that is my “young at heart” soul that had to make a disappearance in a very short period of time for a verity of reasons. Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you see it, it hasn’t disappeared without a trace, it still peaks it’s head every now and then when I shock people (especially those who only know the new me) with something completely out of character.

At the same time, for those who lived with me before, they remember a cheerful young girl without a worry in the world and they expect to see that girl every time they see me! It is a bit difficult at time when people expect you to even talk in a cheerful way every time you’re on the phone, and if you don’t then something is wrong and they have to fix it! It is a hard call to make, do you let them in on the new grown up version of you and let them see the worries and the concerns and all the life calculations that grown ups do or do you keep the young at heart version alive and well in their eyes so that not to cause them any undue concerns?

This has never been easy, a lot of the times, I wish I can go back to my young version, let someone else worry about the big things, the life decisions and the tough choices. Sometimes, the burden of responsibility can be overwhelming and people tend to forget that because one is always putting on a mask of easiness over everything but what is the alternative? Can I go back to being me 5 years ago? No is a very simple and effortless reply, I have so many priceless things because of the past 5 years none of which I’ll be willing to let go of.

Do I forget about my young self that is lurking in the deep, longing to be set free from all these adult demands? Not too sure.

It maybe the biggest call of my adult me, a call that a lot of people had to make at one point in their life. To chose between a life full of pull and push between old and young and a life which is rapidly progressing forward without any emotional maturity ties to its youth.

I’m not sure, but I think that while the former is much more of a rollercoaster ride, the latter is too smooth for my taste, not being able to be childish when I want to is way too boring and way too “grown up” for me!

So the answer at 29 is for now, I will always be young at heart, I will carry the freedom of my 24 self to prevent me from tying myself too much with life’s road and decisions. Young at heart is a safety from being too rigid and too old to see the freshness of a new day and feel the coolness of an easy summer breeze on a tired face waiting at some platform in green, hilly Kent.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device


The Syrian Brit said...

You, my dear, are, simply, young.. Period... From where I stand, believe me, at 29, you are very young!!.. even if you are mature beyond your years...
That you are also young at heart is a blessing that should not be taken lightly.. and as you implicitly suggest in your post, being young and being young at heart are not necessarily the same thing..
My advice: Never, ever, stop being young at heart.. It can be hard work trying to keep that spirit, but, boy, isn't it woprth the effort!..
As for me, I still feel (and, according to my wife, often behave!..) like a 12-year-old...
God bless you...

Syrian in London said...

Salaam SB, I'm happy to see you here, it's been some time since I heard from you.
I know what you mean, but just want to add one thing, there are times when you age a few years in a few days and that's why i said young and old is a relative issue.
when will you come to london?

The Syrian Brit said...

I agree entirely.. and I know exactly what you mean.. I saw it happen with all my three kids!..
As for coming to London, I do not have any definite plans at this moment.. I may be attending the AGM of the newly-established Syrian British Medical Society in Novemebr, if I manage to change my on-call commitments.. but it will be a flying visit only..
More to the point, when are YOU coming 'up North', so that we can show you around this neck of the woods?...

poshlemon said...


I have been living in London for almost 4 years now. It has been a great experiences to the point when I sometimes felt like a real londoner. But many times it pissed me off. Especially recently, my patience with london started running low. The fact that the weather is extremely horrible, that transportation in london can be annoying and that my family is very far from me. I am back in lebanon at the moment for around 6/7 months for fieldwork regarding my phd. I am very happy to be here; however, slowly I am remembering why I left to london in the first place. And this situation is really confusing me as I feel lost between two worlds. My heart wants to be in both lebanon and london. I know 4 years is not much when compared to 10 years in lebanon but it's a lot of time to build a life of its own.

All in all, what I am trying to say is that I sort of envy you... in a good way. You're doing your thing and you're happy being in the UK. You're not confused about whether you should be in Syria or not.

I'll find out within the the next 6 months. Thankfully, I will be returning to london in june for another 2 years to complete my phd. That's a consolation ;)

Adnan said...


this is my first time here.

nice blog

keep it up !

Ram the Syrian Scots said...


Dear Syrian in London

I have been reading your blogs and others for long times. I had rarely commented on any before. However, this young @ heart blog is fantastic. I feel personally touched by it. I am 35 and I think I made my first adult decision not long ago, may be only three years ago!!! so from my point of view: Lucky you!!.. All my other decisions were somehow affected by the way I was raised in Syria which, I feel was very strange and selfish..
The need to have family around, the willingness to please everybody, the strive for perfection, and the hope to raise to the expectation of others can be devastating...Sadly that is how my family thought they would protect me!!
I wish I can be like you, I mean young @ heart for ever, but I am not...
Enjoy it while it last...

Syrian in London said...

dear Syrian Brit, I plan to explore other parts of the UK over the coming year, so maybe i will endup at your neck of the woods (hopefully with my other half)

dear Poshelmon: far from it, i have so many things i need to figure out and I still feel that i have pne foot in London and one in Damascus. the only way for me to stay balanced is to fly back and forth every 3-4 months!

Dear Adnan: Thanks for your visit. hope to see you here again.

Dear Ram: thank you very much, the reason i write my blogs is to share experiances, personal and otherwise with others. if someone relates to a blog i write that is the best i hope for.
When we make our first adult decision is very much a factor of our environment as you said. I know some, from both genders, who living in syria didn't have thier own say till much later than 35. living abroud one is forced to take control of his/her life much quicker, especially when one realises that they're away from the safty net of family back home.

The Syrian Brit said...

My dear SiL,
It would be our pleasure to welcome you (both or on your own) to our humble abode, and to show you around this beautiful part of the World... Just let us know when...

Syrian in London said...

thanks SB will g ive you a buzz closer to date