Friday, 13 January 2012

Not a 'New Years resolution' as such...

...more the result of a quiet time of reflection and introspection sparked by an impending birthday...

I had a scheduled 'day off' today.
I worked last weekend...'Long Day' shifts on Saturday and Sunday,from 0745 to 2200;had some planned intensive study days on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday at the local University Library as I am writing the nurse-prescriber exam on 29 February and only opened the course-workbook last week...
....dear Lord....there is soooooooooooooooooooooo much I need to read;worked a Long day shift yesterday;and I am working again all weekend.

So today was a day of rest.
A day to relax a bit;do a deep food-shop and think about my life in view of the upcoming birthday.

I am not someone who believes that external dates or events accurately reflect our passage though life or in fact in any way really benefit us individually...if you know how to use a calender....if you understand the concepts of a monthly salary cheque...of a yearly tax bill...and of the four seasons...(no...not the attention!) then really that's all you need to know to mark external time-,business-time-,family-time-,society time if you will-, and allow you to timeously buy Easter eggs. or go to your granny for Yom Kippur or your cousin for Ramadan.

I believe that the life altering events...the dates we look back as being pivotal in our individual and collective lives...are almost exclusively external and beyond the control of most of us for most of the time.
This year for example will mark the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and there are already any number of events planned.
Why? Was it really because it marked the end of the Edwardian Age in England and presaged a more eligatarian time which was to follow the First World War?

People in my current part of the UK still go on and on and on about 'The Thatcher Years" and how she ruined their life.
South African politicians still talk about the 'Apartheid Era'.To be honest,it still defines so much of my life and my relationship with my surviving family and friends.

I think that the dates we should use-,the dates which in fact end up marking the high tide and low tide moments of our life fall into four broad categories.

Firstly,there are those (many , many) times which are basically beyond our control such as when we are born...when someone we love dies...when we fall in love or get divorced.
These can be "personal" such as the birth of a child;"physical/environmental" such as a drought or tsunami;"ideological" like the Arab Spring;or "structural",like a recession.

Secondly,there are the (several) times when things happen to us that fundamentally alter our life and over which we have appear to have had no control but which might have been possible to predict;events though which allow us to change our behaviours and use the sequelae of the event to our advantage in an altered future extreme example is having a heart attack which has been brought about by poor lifestyle choices...and which results in the person choosing to stop smoking and start exercising , resulting in a better quantity and quality of life.

There is a corollary to this of course when the events were more difficult to predict and over which we possibly had little control-,(such as being knocked over by a bus when sober in daytime)-,and where the consequences are as life changing but not necessarily for the better.

Thirdly ,there are the (few) times in life when the irresistible force of cognitive dissonance hurtles juggernaut fashion towards the immovable object of physical/financial/emotional reality and finally you understand that life-altering,paradigm-shifting and potentially emotionally (occasionally even physically) painful change needs to happen...when you finally internalise the concept that 'if you always do what you always did,then you will always get what you always got' .
You will change your behaviour seek a divorce,leave a well paid job to work for yourself, you emigrate.

Finally there are the days when seemingly out of the blue,you will have a flash of insight into your life and how you are living it, which forces you to unexpectedly reassess your life when you weren't particularly planning or wishing to do so.
As a Freudian,I don't really believe that these moments are ever really random....they just appear in our conscious mind when our unconscious mind knows that we are primped and ripe for change,such as just before our birthday.
Sometimes it dictates immediate and manifest change...sometimes you just open a KitKat.

I had a 'fourth type' moment today.

It was a beautiful day , weather wise, here where I live.
I should probably put that in context for foreign readers.
What that means in England is this...for some part of the day...some part of the sun was visible...for some a sky which was blue,for some time.
And that this morning,due to a 'perfect' alignment of the space/time continuum,the temperature was moderate,there was no wind and I had money in my wallet.

And so I set out to do some shopping.
I am a food snob.
I like meat to taste vaguely like the animal whose picture is on the package.

I remember at the Johannesburg General Hospital residence that meat was served in one of three categories....'Friday-night-alleged-steak'...."mostly-minced",in spaghetti bolognese...or "flat"...thickish slices of grey or pink or brown meat whose only discernible feature was that it was 'flat'.

And I have found that the quality of food available in supermarkets here...outside of quite I tend to shop at Marks and Sparks where the ready meals are fairly priced,calorie counted, and generally edible in the middle of a 14 hour shift.

Also....their fruit and veg is of a good standard.
Also...there are no poor people shopping there,hauling their 27 snot-nosed kids around behind them,pawing at cut price packs of camel hump in chilli sauce.
Although it does get more than its fair share of old people who also wander around in a daze...but at least they don't try and mug you in the car park.

Anyway...I had done my shopping and was walking past a display of various bits of lounge furniture on the way out of the shop when I had a sudden bizarre thought...
...a moment of clarity into my life and how I have been choosing to live it...

....I am 55...
...I have never owned a sofa that I have chosen...

...I have never owned a reading chair that I chose...
...I have never slept on a mattress of my choosing... fact....I have never owned any furniture that was of my choice...
...there are many items of furniture I have paid for...but none I chose...
....(with the single glaring exception of the chair on which I now sit and which I bought only 2 weeks ago)...

...growing up, my parents bought all the furniture,as you would expect...
....then I stayed in the nurses residence for years, as both a student-nurse and registered nurse,and which was furnished by the government...
...then I moved into a flat with my (future) wife and 'we' furnished it... men know that this means you buy exactly what she wants after putting up a token show of interest and enthusiasm... I liked that first sofa...its was a two-seater,Laure Ashley-inspired floral print job,but not deep enough for my fat bum,or indeed even long enough to sleep on...
...and this pattern continued throughout the years of marriage.

When she left (and took most of the furniture) I stayed in the house with the (by now) decrepit furniture.

And since living in the UK,I have stayed in a variety of furnished bed-sits, furnished shared houses;and finally in my current furnished and serviced apartment...which doesn't have a sofa at all.

All those years without a sofa.
All those sofa sales every easter.

And that prompted a stream of depressing consciousness if I am honest.

It then occurred to me that my birthday will mark another year in which I have remained celibate and unattractive to apparently any sentient female of any age anywhere in Europe.

Its odd because as an adult I have been single for longer than I was married plus in various odd relationships...and I am the constant factor in the equation...which makes me think...

Its not through lack of trying...I've dated The Troglodyte;The Racist;TheMoleWithThe WomanAttached;The Stalker;The DesperateTeacher;The Nympho...okay....I dated her several times until my cardiologist told me to stop...The FranklyDisturbedWoman;The MBGITW;and several assorted woman....oh...lets not forget the OneWhoPulledTheKnife.

Another year bereft of any actual loving touch...
...indeed the only physical touch of any sort in the past 2 years has been that of my very-butch,very-lesbian,very gorgeous,very funny chiropractor.

Mind you,I stand very very straight.

Also...there was that hug from the chimpanzee I've sponsored at the London Zoo.
She may be a monkey but at least she's female...
...and another mammal. fourth-type day.
The day on which I have decided to seek a more abundant life.

I can either change my life...
...or just join the church as a monk so at least I'm earning credit in heaven...

I'll make a decision just as soon as I've finished the packet of pork scratchings...

....ummhh...maybe I should just sponsor another chimpanzee?

1 comment:

  1. I too will mark that double nickels milestone this year. Many thoughts and ideas have traipsed thru my mind as I contemplate what it is I have done with my life and whether those are the activities I want to keep doing...

    Happy Birthday MalContent.