When I was 22 years old I moved to an unfamiliar city in a completely foreign country.
No-one spoke my language and I didn’t speak a word of theirs.
I felt terribly alone at the beginning. Culture shocked, I missed home and family. I intended to stay for only three months.
But in the end I never really went back. Instead, I ended up wandering the world for the next ten years.
I got used to the unknown, to always being the outsider, the foreigner. And I found my friends among the circles of other outsiders. Now I sit in the home of one of those friends, nomadic and unfettered as always, writing this while the turbulent year of 2015 winds down to its final moments. Soon it will be just another memory in the ever-growing parade of them.
It’s been a wild year, with many successes. I suppose I should be thankful for that. This has been the year when I’ve seen more of the world than ever before. I’ve broken out of some comfort zones.
The last few months spent in America have been a relatively small chapter in my decade-long odyssey. In a few days I will return to Istanbul, the tangled city where I found a temporary home. But now that home is starting to feel stifling. The environment is stagnant, with scarce opportunities for the things I really want to do.
It’s time to move on, to find a place with more dynamism where I can grow my career. Whether that will be London, New York, Berlin or someplace else altogether, remains to be seen. I could write the same old list of new year’s resolutions, predictable, meaningless, and quickly abandoned. But I’ll save myself that fruitless exercise and stick to just one.
As Einstein may (or may not) have said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
So that’s my single resolution for 2016.
Do things differently.