It has been almost a year since I last posted, and since I submitted my thesis. I have been aware all this time that I left Academic, Hopeful in a soggy state so I am finally and formally finishing it now. I probably needed the time away from it, from all things related to life in Oxford and my thesis. After I left, Oxford took on a distasteful quality, even though I missed my friends and could remember being, for the most part, happy, even sometimes very happy, there.
Things have certainly changed for me. I don't punt or go to debates at the Union or cox or drink red wine with Germans. I write and perform comedy. I don't hear violin-playing at night. I speak more slowly. I don't talk as much about the future. I can better listen to other people. I don't jump when cats pounce at night. My face is brighter, but more lined. I can no longer watch dance shows or reality TV. You can't keep it all.
Last month I returned to Oxford for my DPhil graduation (see if you can spot me). I was able to enjoy the town again. Not as a student - I did not sit with the freshers in dingy bars to talk about whose country is better than whose, then shriek with laughter, or share dreams, and quietly worry. This time I was the visitor in the table beside, charmed by the place. And that was perfect.
Thank you for reading and your comments.