Fifty one. Fifty one days is all that remains of Berlin. I ain’t coming back here once I leave, you can’t do that. I’ll never live in Newcastle again, never Sheffield, never Berlin. Happy memories in all, of course – and that’s the way I want to keep it. If you meddle too much with the cheerful snapshots that crowd your mind, you risk tarnishing them with your greasy daft fingerprints.
I’ve not written many new Berlin diaries since summer ended. The reason is I struggle to write about the city these days without repeating myself. It’s fantastic, it’s terrible, it’s wild, it’s bleak, it’s family, it’s lonely, it’s everything. I’ve spent over a year attempting to describe this city and I feel as though I’m yet to properly nail it.
It’s funny what a year here does to you. I’ve been here long enough now to have seen The Change both in myself and in others. After one winter and one summer here you’ve seen everything, done everything, spiralled upwards and downwards and inwards and outwards all with an unbelievable velocity. You become hard to shock, hard to impress; not through arrogance or ego, but through simple overexposure – to youth, to chaos, to debauchery, to life.
This feeling can manifest itself as an apparent aloofness. I noticed while visiting the UK over Christmas that I no longer felt compelled to be particularly vocal in my friendship group. I felt perfectly comfortable to sit back and listen to everyone else speak and maybe answer the occasional question that was tossed my way. I didn’t feel as though I needed to jump in and tell stories; it just seemed egotistical. Better to just pipe down and nod along and let somebody else speak. A year ago I could never have predicted that moving to the most debauched place on earth would mellow me out, but in hindsight I suppose it was inevitable. Youth will have its fling, however wild, and the surest cure is time.
There’s not a lot you can do with seven weekends and no money, however I’ve got a short Berlin bucket list. It’s things like reading at the Du Beast spoken word night, hitting up Berghain on a Sunday afternoon, visiting a few more abandoned places, karaoke at Monster Ronsons (because, let’s be honest, if I tried to do it at Maurpark I’d doubtless suffer a stress-induced coronary and theatrically die in front of 2000 golf-clapping tourists), and catching the view from the top of the Fernsehturm.
I’m so ready for something new. India, and the world. I’m excited at the prospect of once more starting my days not knowing how or where they will end. I’m excited to have to consider where my next meal will come from, how I will travel, how low my funds are, and where I will rest my head at night. No more drifting, no more waiting. Life spent in such a manner gives purpose and direction – even if the only direction is ‘on.’
I want to write again, I want inspiration and adventure. This city has shown me so much wonder at breakneck speed, and after 15 months my soul is jaded. I remember travelling across New Zealand several years ago and, after a month of incredible vistas, thinking to myself ‘my god if I see one more breathtakingly beautiful mountain range I’m going to fucking explode’. It’s the same in Berlin, only instead of mountain ranges its pill head bohemians in assless chaps.
I never expected to feel this way, but with seven weeks left I am ready to leave Berlin. I’ve tumbled to the dankest depths and I’ve tripped the light fantastic, I’ve found my place and made it work, and now at the end of it all, I’ve grown restless once more. I’m ready to feel young again.