And on we go.
Just off your second 9 hour flight in 3 days.
One of those immigration queues that feels like it gets longer the more time you spend in it.
The mixture of long-haul flight sweat and irritable why-aren’t-we-at-Disney yet child and parent stress washing over everyone as the metallic tannoy voice announces the BA flight luggage belt is awaiting technical support… as if anyone’s got that far yet anyway.
There’s a coffee stain on the sleeve of your jumper that’s starting to smell like it’s been there since you left India.
But that’s not the only thing lingering. It must be something to do with airports. It’s like the anchor of transition, if there can be such a thing; you’re either leaving one place or arriving at another, and yet you’re in neither one place or the other. Not sure whether to look backwards or look forwards. Trying to bottle a feeling that might have already passed, or anticipate a feeling that hasn’t yet arrived. Still processing what you’ve left behind, but the pace of that processing might affect what’s ahead.
You stood in this same immigration queue at this same airport exactly two years ago.
In the exact same place.
And yet, in an entirely different place.
Then, the confidence was mixed with the unknown. A quiet assuredness that your plan had worked, because the only goal was to not have to go to first stage of Q School ever again. The only definitive that came out of an amateur/professional transition that created a thousand identity questions you didn’t know how to form, never mind answer. And yet, a definitive that created a plan, that led to quiet rungs of progress that looked like they were planned all along. A confidence created from the reaffirmation that figuring out things your own way, on your own terms, was enough to take you anywhere. But the unknown of ‘anywhere’… that was the next question waiting to be formed.
A question that led you down dead ends and into brick walls, that you occasionally smashed through, when careful steps turned into steady jogs turned into blind sprints that sent you flying but also sent you spiralling. On the never-ending merry-go-round of professional golf and elite sport and life itself, never quite sure if you want to step off and take a break to catch your breath and look around, but wondering if doing so will make it too hard to get back on again.
Two years later, the same immigration queue and the same reaffirmation. Of knowing that figuring things out will make things figure themselves out. This time brought about differently, in fits and starts and discomfort and periods of pure calm that remind you where ‘home’ is. Standing in that same immigration queue with a brain still threading the needle of a tournament that started a week ago but only ended two (give or take) full sleeps ago in a country 8000 miles away. The reaffirmation; the pride, the fulfilment of knowing you’re right where you’re meant to be… tinged with slight disappointment, all floating in a cloud of something else that could be a slight bitterness and could be acceptance: that the world keeps turning no matter where the pieces of your jigsaw are.