Sleepless in Doha

Tonight has been one of those nights where, no matter what you try, you just cannot get to sleep. Anxiety, thinking, poor sleeping patterns etc all contribute to not being able to get to sleep and this evening I am affected by all of these.

I’ve almost completed 2 weeks worth of leave that I was given due to operational reasons. Whilst I’ve been moderately busy, splitting my time between trying to learn the ops manuals and going out with people, I’ve found myself with a fair bit of free time to think about things. Especially whilst trying to go to sleep at night.

A couple of days ago I was filling in a form and under “age” I put down 21; it was only after I handed the form in that I realised, actually I’m 23 and I’m only 2 months away from turning 24. Later on I started thinking, where has the time gone? How has two years past so quickly? Then I started thinking about when I started at my flight training school and I was overcome with a strange feeling in my stomach, I just couldn’t believe that it had all come and gone. I’d been to New Zealand, I’d learnt to fly, had some incredible experiences, come back to the UK, completed the end of my training, gained all of my flying licences and then it was finished. The effect of this sudden realisation was like being dragged violently through time to present day.

The two years following the completion of my flight training I spent a lot of time in Sheffield, living a semi student life whilst my girlfriend of those two years attended university. At this point I was certain that no job offers for flying would appear for at least a year or so and thus felt determined to relieve the stress I’d felt throughout my training by living this student life. Having never been to university myself, I was so glad I got to experience the social side of it for that period of time. I fell in love with Sheffield and with the lifestyle of a student. I enjoyed partaking in the intellectual conversations of minds that were growing through education, going to student events, having long nights out without worrying about flying exams and many other things. Also, I’d never been anywhere, where you step off the train and the place somehow feels friendly.

When I finally got a job in Nottingham, 5 months later, I was very sad that this little break had to come to an end. Fortunately I was able to get back up to Sheffield at the weekends and I used my holidays to spend time there with my girlfriend. Over that two year period I got to know the place very well, I got to experience what it was like to be part of the university social experience, I got to experience a deep love for someone and sadly have it fall a part towards the end and I was able to completely get out of my own head, where I so often find myself.

Flash forward four years from the beginning of my training to now and I’m looking at the past with a great sense of longing and I find myself holding it on a pedestal. It wasn’t that those years were amazing, there were amazing parts and there were awful parts – it’s that I became so secure in those years, with my surroundings and with my life, that this huge change has left me reaching out for that familiarity. It has left me craving the old times.

Right now I’m still on the cusp of the unknown. I’ve just moved to a new place, to start a new career, with many new people and it’s miles away from home. It’s a massive shake up and that’s why I’m feeling like this. I’m extremely lucky to be here, I would not be anywhere else and I’m looking forward to the adventures and experiences that await me with my new life. At this point I’m still going through the grieving process because as humans we aren’t always as instantaneously adaptable as we would like to be and we need time to adjust. You feel a loss because you’ve lost that security, that stability, those familiar things and you need to allow yourself the time to let go and embrace the new. I guess this is where the need to long for the old comes into things and eventually that will pass as I get settled in here.

The realisation of just how quickly time can go by has me thinking of ways I can try and hold onto the moments that matter. I know one thing, that the value I place on these moments will increase substantially because of this.

To anyone older than me thinking, this guy is only 23/24 and he’s talking about how quickly time flies, he has absolutely no idea. You’re right I don’t and I’m sure in years to come I’ll look back on this and think wow I really had no clue.

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