Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Eligible Bachelors

Looking back I am not sure I ever really talked properly about last summer and everything that lead up to the move to Oxford. Even now I am not actually sure that I can put it into words properly. Me, lost for words, that’ll be the day! Simply put, May came and went and my brain went kerpluuuuey. Or perhaps sploooooooooooodge. Or blolllllloooooooop. Some damp sounding word which evokes a sense of a soggy, inward implosion with minor visible damage, but utter carnage on the inside.

I am still not totally sure what caused it, but near two years of working in a high-stress, “supporting people” environment I neither enjoyed or was paid enough for didn’t make matters any better. With the help of doctors, little white pills, couselling, good friends and lots of tea, I started to get back into a healthy place. The keel of the Good Ship Cas was righted, and we are now back to gentle sailing with the wind loughing in the topsails, the jib sheet gently flapping. (And me being violently ill in the scuppers because I get seasick in the bathtub, but you get where I’m going with the maritime analogy). Nine months later, my life is more or less back on a respectable heading.

You would be right in thinking that it wasn’t the most sensible time to completely go crazy and move to a new city, within a month, with no job lined up or visible means of support, both financial and personal. At the time everyone was cheering my independence, and I actually really was looking forward to new places, new people and new challenges, but I would be stupid not to admit there was a large portion of running away mixed in with my motivation.

I had been in Southampton for four years, and they had been four years filled with fun, laughter, general mayhem and love, but the last year I just couldn’t shake the feeling it was time to move on. Things just weren’t working out in the way I wanted them too, and I couldn’t see how they ever would in that city. I never thought I would be one with itchy feet, but I do have this habit of jumping to a new place on a seeming whim after three or four years.

Counseling made me face up to a lot of stuff, things I am still processing and working on. Some things we cling to and form the core round which our personalities are constructed, and to have to reevaluate our very building blocks is never a fun process. I have come to realise that actually, in some aspects of my life, I am not a very nice person at times. I’m working on it.

One thing that has hit me over the past six months is that I want to settle down. I want to put down roots but I just haven’t found that place yet. That bolt-hole that is all mine and private. It’s just, I think my home is destined to be a person, not a place. Part of me wants the bricks-and-mortar, but I have a horror of “what if” and don’t want to be tied down. I want to be free to go and take opportunities as they are presented to me. I want to be able to go see the world beyond the horizon. But I want someone to share those sights with.

Yet I still dream of my dream house, all wood and glass and open to the garden, with trees and the sea and peace and laughter and life. My sanctuary away from it all where people feel welcome and come to stay because they have a free weekend and a whim, or want to, not because it was booked into a diary six months before. I want my door to always be open and never know who might be popping round for tea.

Yes I want spontenaity but I also want a structure and someone making me safe in that freedom.

I…I am scared I will never find what I want, or that I will not recognise it when I have it, or that I will chase it away before I make the most of it. I am scared that when I get it, I won’t want it.

Most of all, I am scared I will never find it. How do I get from here to THERE?Am I willing to let my dreams change if alternatives present themselves? Is the one “what if” I am never going to be able to confront, the one “what if” that takes me to my dream?

8 thoughts on “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Eligible Bachelors

  1. What if… there are so many what if’s in life that we all go through something similar to what you’ve been through. The difference being is that you’ve had the guts to externalise it and confront it head on. Many people don’t. They internalise it and end up with ulcers, divorces or wake up and realise that they’ve hated their life and it’s too late to change it. You’ve done an amazing thing and you should give yourself the credit and love you deserve.

    As for your What if’s … well what if the journey you’ve just gone on and are currently going through is the journey you need to start you on the path of who you really are meant to be. Sometimes it’s scary – I’m not saying that it isn’t. My life doesn’t look like what I thought it would be. And it’s great. I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years and I’m fine with that… because wherever I’ll be I’ll be with a person I care for and respect – myself.

  2. You have to be a ‘Brave Small Animal’ (did you read the Te of piglet yet?), which you, Ma Cherie, are already doing, in spades. It’s OK to be scared, the tricky part is not letting the fear stop you doing it.

    As TC says, I think by acknowledging the fear, you’re well on the path to beating it. I also firmly beleive in making things happen, rather than sitting and wishing a life away. I’m not doing so great at putting that into practice (you may well disagree, but it’s how I feel :p)

  3. ‘What if’s are the bain of the historian’s life. You cannot change the past, only learn from it (unless you build a time machine but that’s a topic for a less serious post). Fear is okay, it’s if you let it stop you that it’s a problem. Your move to Oxford has been so positive (and it wasn’t running away because you planned to move away from Southampton for over a year) you must have learned lots about challenging your fears, and what a ‘Brave Small Animal’ you really are – to borrow Neko’s comment.

  4. tc, thank you *blush*

    Neko, I do disagree. You *are* doing great at putting it into practice! Don’t make me come down there and beat sense into you.

    Moose, you’re right, it is positive. Part of me can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t have stuck out Southampton and *made* it work, that by moving away I was quitting. But I wasn’t quitting. I was recognised the problem and found a solution. It just so happened my solution was running away!

    Brave Small Animal. That’s being stuck on note on my computer now!

  5. A Brave Small Animal is what Piglet is (as discussed in the Te of Piglet, a follow on to the Tao of Pooh, both very good books). He is Brave precisely because he is very scared, but somehow gets things done, especially when motivated by the desire to do good for his friends. Tiggers are not brave, despite the amazing things they get themselves into (such as climbing trees, because that is ‘what Tiggers do best’) because they are not scared in the first place.

    Read it! It is an amazing book.

  6. Hi Cas! Yes, you did pop my blog re-launch cherry… thanks for noticing!

    As for your post, all I can say is that I think – in a way that is both discouraging and reassuring – that people can manufacture a sense of security and freedom in almost any environment if they really want to. So much of it exists only in a person’s mind… you might be pleasantly surprised by how things work out when you simply embrace an experience.

    Did I really just write that?

  7. Neko – It sounds like a great book. It’s on my wishlist 🙂

    CWW – it’s good to see you back in the neighborhood 🙂 And I’m doing my best to embrace life. Good advice.

  8. How far this is relevant to your condition I know not but here goes.

    Do you remember 1992, September in particular? After 15 years redundancy loomed. Life had seemed stable and all planned out. Then the shock. Two years of turmoil and then the climb back up again. There has been nothing in the past 16 years that I have regretted nor felt that it was more than an opportunity. I hope I am better for the experience. I know that if I not been made redundant I would now have retired and probably turned into a boring old f–t.

    The point of all this? Plan as much as you like, but you can only play the cards you are dealt. If you don’t get the ace you hope for there is no guarantee that you still won’t hold the winning hand (cue for better poker reference that, something about straights and flushes maybe, but I have never played the game.

    Greet each day as they first of the rest of your life and suck it dry of every bit of enjoyment you can.

Comments are closed.