Week 0: The first step
Berlin - March 29th 2023
Here it is – two days out, from the rest of our life. From leaving our home of 12 years, our friends, our community.
I truly believe that We are Childfree couldn’t have started anywhere else than in Berlin. And I have a similar sense of inevitability, destiny – providence – about what happens next. We have to leave to take WAC to the world.
We can’t tell the stories of the global childfree movement from within these four walls. We can’t create space for you all from inside this square mile. We need to be out there, meeting people, uplifting your voices, sharing your stories, and connecting you to one another.
We need to be on the ground where you are, to have the impact we want to, that the world needs. We have to do this, for you and for us.
It feels like this is way past due. We’ve been waiting to do this for years, literally. Even before the pandemic, we were getting tired of Berlin. It was a great base to travel from, but the more of the world we saw, the more we wanted to see. The longer we were here, the more we wanted to be somewhere else.
This pandemic only allowed us to isolate ourselves more, to feel stuck in a more profound way. Literally grounded. Like a plane stuck on a runway. Like a teenager in their bedroom. And in the sense of being sensible – so grounded.
It made sense to stay put – where else could we go? So we stayed here, longer than we should have. It took us ages to get back out there, and we never fully did. That’s made leaving Berlin much easier, because we’ve been backing out of the room for years now.
It’s going to be eye-opening, all of the new we’re about to experience. I’ve started saying that I needed to leave the country to leave my house – a long-running joke(?) that’s about to get extremely, literally, true. I know, in a way I’m not fully processing yet, and that we’re about to get a shock to the system.
In a way, that’s what we want. Selling almost everything we own, leaving all the friends we’ve made, and heading out into the big wide world, indefinitely… it’s like applying the defibrillator pads, a bodily shock that will allow us to live again.
When people tell us we’re brave, that they could never do something like this, I don’t believe them. I think they have too high an opinion of us, and too low an appreciation of themselves.
All of this might seem hard to you, but what’s hard for me is thinking, “This is it.” To stay put, to head to a job day after day; to organise a pension, a mortgage, life insurance; to grow a family, to look after a house, tend to a garden. When it comes to things like that, I’m a commitment-phobe. It’s easier to run.
I’m not suffering any delusions, even while I protect myself by not facing this head-on. I know this will be hard. Especially because we’re headed into relatively unchartered territory, way outside of my comfort zone. In some ways it’s my kind of hard – the solitude, the new places and faces, being uprooted.
And in other ways, I don’t feel ready for this. I’ll encounter new challenges every day, I’ll have to solve new problems all the time. Am I going to be able to handle this? I don’t know.
As a great man once said 😉
“No matter where you go, there you are.”
Berlin - March 31st 2023
“Every journey requires a first step.” – Vienna House
Finding poetry in such ephemera, like the commemorative coin-maker outside of the nearby Späti last night. I wanted to scrapbook this quote from our hotel keycard, the €2 piece that cost us €3 (lol Berlin).
Like when I travelled the States solo over 20 years ago. When every little thing felt significant, and seemingly normal things looked astonishing – because I had my eyes open wider than I used to. There must be a psychological term for this phenomenon, this benevolent version of hyper-awareness, one that lights up your brain in a good way.
Brain, consider yourself lit. Now let’s take that first step