I’ve been to Amsterdam three times – once in 2014, another time in 2015 and then again this summer. I’m about to leave the city for possibly the third and – I hope not – final time. I’m thinking about my life at each point when I was here.
The first time I went to Amsterdam, I was 17 and on a school trip. I thought I was through the thick of it. I guess now, looking back on it, what I was feeling was the calm before the storm. That’s how the age of 17 feels; youthful yet wise, I was sure I knew everything to come! I felt full of hope and happiness. I felt that I had finally found what I wanted to do in my life: travelling. I felt surrounded by friends and I was finally sure that I was doing something right. My love of Amsterdam may be associated with the fondness I have for these memories but it could also just be love for this amazing city.
The second time came at a distressing part in my life, I guess I was just in the thick of it, in the eye of the storm. I had just gotten my exam results and was really unhappy. I don’t even think the work ‘unhappy’ covers it, I was depressed and feeling hopeless. I went interrailling around Europe with my mum, and was glad to be with a person who knows me so well when I was fearing hat I was loosing myself. I didn’t have my future planned out at all, but I suddenly felt like I had no prospects whatsoever. I was so sure that was the end for me.
The third time, this time, I am not in a better place mentally, but I’m not necessarily in a worse one either. I am here with my best friend, well, was here. He’s gone now and I am sitting alone in Dam Square, enjoying my few final hours in this amazing place. Over the past year I have learned so much: hope is never lost, I am a strong person and that I have to have patience. I have lost my omniscience of 17 and the mania of 18, and now, at 19, I feel calm; I am alone and travelling – in my element.
I wonder when I will return to Amsterdam, how I will be feeling and who I’ll be.