Over the past few weeks I have mused a lot on the expression about being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ or a ‘small fish in a big pond’. I’ve often found some pearls of wisdom in expressions like this and although I know the meaning of this one it still won’t leave my thoughts.

I’ll be leaving university soon, leaving the city I’ve studied in and called home for 4 years, leaving behind the ┬ácommunity in which I am known and safe, where I am a big fish in a small pond.

When I leave I’ll be returning to the city of my birth, my hometown, but I haven’t lived there since my mum died (in the second year of my degree). The choice to go back was a tricky one, but I was offered a training position (the essential next step to becoming a pharmacist) there and more for fear of not getting any other offers, I accepted. Since I made that decision over 6 months ago I have ranged through just about every emotion possible.

It’s all so complicated, what in life isn’t I suppose, but the strange mixture of longing to return and anxiety about doing so is making my head spin! The thought most prominent in my mind is that the city isn’t the same place I left 4 years ago, time has moved on, and most importantly my mum will not be there waiting for me (a reality that hasn’t quite sunk in on some level yet). But I suppose what I am more concerned about is whether I am the same person who left there. Silly concern really, as of course I will have changed, I have spent 4 years away ‘fending for myself’ and learning so much (both academically and about life) that even without the unfortunate painful events that happened alongside my studies I would have expected to return more mature etc…. I guess my concern is that with all that has happened and any changes it has had on me may have made me less than the girl that left there 4 years back. Another expression to muse on, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Not sure if I believe that one! I have certainly learnt and gained things from caring for my mum, dealing with social services, but if it has made me stronger, well I’ve yet to see any evidence of that.

I wonder how I’m going to handle this move home, so much so familiar and so much so different. It all remains to be seen I guess.