Sometimes I think about where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and then what will come in the future. I know they’re my memories and my view of my future, but they seem so unreal.
My childhood was a long time ago. That’s what it feels like. I am a different person now than I was back then. So much has changed, yet a lot is the same. Many of my interests are the same, but through my experiences, successes, failures, and disappointments, I’ve changed. I’ve become who I am today because of past events. My childhood, high school, university, my old call centre job, and even my first few years in Japan feel like another life.
Some things changed slowly, others were dramatic and sudden changes. My first days in university, my final days in Victoria, my last few days in Canada, my first day in Japan, the bankruptcy of my first company in Japan. Those were big changes that feel so long ago. My daughter’s birth feels like my current life. That’s where I am now, a Canadian father living in Japan with his wife and daughter. That’s what makes the next step seem so unreal. I’ve been at this stage of my life for a while now, and I’m about to go through yet another life-changing event.
The future is less certain. Canada is a real thing, but feels so foreign to me now. I expect to feel like I don’t belong, at least for a while. People I know have changed. The city I once lived in has changed drastically since I left eleven years ago. It will be strange being back there to live. Then what will my life in Japan become? Another unreal stage of my life?
I remember the feeling when I first came to Japan. It was surreal. It felt unreal, even while I was in the moment. Everything was so foreign and exotic. Now, I can’t imagine it being foreign at all. I’m so used to it. The first days in Canada may feel like that. It’s been more than five years since I’ve been there. We’ll first go to Vancouver Island, which I haven’t been to since 2001. Fifteen years! I understand the feeling I have right now, knowing I’m leaving a place I love. I went through it when I left Victoria. I got over it, of course. I will get over this after a few months.
And then there are new challenges. My daughter is starting school this year. That seems so crazy. How did she become four years old? What happened to the baby I held in my arms? She’s a walking, talking human being who has her own opinions, sense of humour, and likes. The changes are so unreal. I can’t imagine her when she’s six, eight, ten, a teenager, and an adult. That just does not compute.
I have gone through so many changes, and many more will come. I feel like I’ve lived several different short lives, each one feeling foreign and impossible to go back to. But life goes on, and the experiences can only make me wiser and stronger. I was a shy child who couldn’t speak to a stranger at one time. I ran away from the spotlight. Now, I don’t hide from it. I’m not shy any longer. That still feels unreal.