Well, it’s happened.
Just as I feared, the energy I had several weeks ago when I first lost my job has dissipated. I’ve stopped looking for jobs – let lone applying for them – too many rejections for stuff I know I could do standing on my head. And I like not working – at least, not having to go into an office and deal with all that that entails. I’ve lost some weight, started doing yoga again (thank you pocket yoga), seen friends, been camping, had time for my family, made plans, looked for tents, blogged – classic displacement activity behaviour. And I love it.
The thing about the ‘big idea’ is that I can coast on my local knowledge and previous experience of living in France. I’m so super confident that the plan will just work that all I need to do now is put it into operation because, you know, all those loose ends and pesky niggles like, um, earning money will just sort themselves out when we get there…I keep telling myself to be sensible, that this is no ‘magic bullet’, that times will be tough but I am so damned excited at the prospect of going and never having to work for anyone else again that heart is not just ruling head but pummelling it into acquiescence. It steamrollers all doubts and gives me the falsest sense of security possible – and hallelujah for that. I need some sense of certainty, however wobbly the foundations.
But where was I? Oh, yes, thinking about displacement activity – see how easy it was for me to slack off from my main subject? I used to think of blogging in those terms – something to take my mind of the yawning chasm of ohshitIhavenojobness that occasionally opens up beneath me and threatens to swallow me up in its big black maw. But now I’m not so sure. Now I spend my days either thinking of things it might be fun/interesting to blog about and then actually doing it. Scarily enough, blogging seems to have become the job….
And I love it. It makes me realise that writing is what I really wanted to do all along, just like when I was 7 and stayed in the classroom at break so I could fill exercise book after exercise book with my sloping, untidy scrawl and my inspirational, wonderful, brilliant teacher Mrs Briggs (wherever you are, I salute you – you were the real deal and I was lucky to know you and be taught by you) would tell my parents ‘it’s not how she writes it’s what she writes that’s important’. I won a Whitbread Prize for poetry in my teens (haha, offered by the local brewery, £25 and a tour of the facility). I was always scribbling stuff. And then I stopped because life took over and that’s the thing with life, isn’t it? The habit it has of just taking over and making the important ephemeral, peripheral, inconsequential.
When my dad died I made a promise to him. I sat next to his body on the bed. It was Christmas Day, his favourite day of the year. I found the soft place on the crook of his arm – the part of him that still felt human, that could be warmed by my touch. I told him I’d write for him.
Sorry it’s taken such a while, dad – but I’m glad I finally kept my promise.