Once every few weeks, I squeeze out of a narrow parking bay in York and creep between rows of silent cars as I travel a well worn strip of tarmac. When I reach the end, I twist around for one final, lingering, glance, before I once more stretch my heart across 120 miles and 2 countries.
Every time, I contemplate stopping. In my head, I dream of a life lived as one, lived without absence, lived at peace. As I trundle alone through the bustling streets of York, which hours before were a lovers paradise, I ask myself the same question. Why? As I glide along a river of tarmac that bubbles through the pennines, I picture a world where all roads lead to home, in which home is truly where the heart is.
It would be easy to do. The worst view in the world would metaphorically cease to exist, reverting from an emotive stumbling block to a boundry hedge for a well-to-do school.
And yet, every time, momentum carries me forward.
Now, I’m not afraid to say I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. Every day, I get the joy of knowing that I’m part of an organisation which plays in key role in the development of both Bangor University, and the students within. I get to be involved in things like getting £1 million of funding for disability access, and to witness and influence all the discussions & decisions that lead to 24 hour library access for students in Bangor. I get to go to some of our fabulous student led activities in Bangor, from charity basketball matches to film shows, and from world class comedy to dance shows (and indeed, I occasionally get to take part!)
It’s easy to forget that some of the simplest things are the product of incalculable hours of raw passion and relentless dedication. Take, for example, Bangor Comedy’s recent show with Seann Walsh. I was sat in the audience, merrily chuckling away. On stage was some of Bangor’s greatest comedy talent, working their butts off to put on a great show. But behind the lovely on stage comedy was an inpenetrable amount of background work. For a start, many years ago (before I’d ever set foot in Bangor), someone had to kick off comedy in Bangor, by setting up ImpSoc. Then there was all of the work in establishing the society, and taking it forward, developing the comedy, the sociey, and the links with Pontio. This year, these links have been taken to a new level, with plans being incubated over a long period of time. Then come all the silly little things,that make the whole. Writing the text for the posters. E-mailing the judges of the stand up competition that chose who would get to go on stage with Seann Walsh. Setting up all of the sound equipment, all of the lights, and working out who would be back stage to provide mics to performers – and a 101 more things. Without each of these, the whole would not be complete, and Bangor would have been robbed of cracking event, that will have sparked a hundred conversations and, in some small way, altered the fabric of time itself…
And this is just one event! I’m constantly amazed by all of the amazing things that go on in Bangor, and of all the amazing students who want to make the world a better place, grab life by the horns, and be the change they want to see in the world.
This, then, is the reason that I come back to Bangor, time on time. For the events, and for the people. These wonderful, amazing people (that’s you!)
Sometimes, when I get the space to think, to look out on the world, I dread the passing of each moment, of each opportunity to witness this amazing thing we call life. Each tick of the clock is part of an inevitable march into the future, and away from everything we know and treasure. But it is also a step into a limitless future, a future that each and every single one of us has the ability to shape.
This, then, brings me back to my untidy sitting room, an uncomfortable leather sofa, and the jazz version of the Star Wars theme that make up my immediate existence. These things are notable not for what they are, but for what they are not – part of a shared life. A life lived to the full, a life worth living with someone who I have loved for over 7 year years, with someone I love today, and with someone who I know I will love forever more.
As I stand on the same mountain tops that allow me to treasure everything that exists here in Bangor, I also treasure the future. For every mile that I drive away from York, I know I will drive a mile back to it. For every time I leave, I know I will return. And every time I have to look at the hedge that marks a virtual boundry in my heart, I know that I can carry on. Because one day, wherever and whenver that may be, the hedge will not exist. There will be only me and Lizzie – and everything in the world will be based on that fact. Every interaction, every conversation, and every deliberation, will all be underpinned by an emotional link no longer torn asunder by geographical location.
And for that tomorrow, I can live my today.