this too
Friday, July 01, 2005
  Not much fun

Our academic year ends today. Everyone’s finishing up and going away. Rushed tie-up meetings in progress. Huddles of colleagues block the corridor, chatting about their plans. My half-French friend e-mails that she’s leaving today for the country house in France.

I feel like Cinderella. Like a hard-done-by little kid. I’m tired and wretched and I’d like to be going away. Masses of things remain to be done at the office. The earliest I can take any time off is August. And I have no money to go abroad. I’m going in August, instead, on a Zen retreat in the Devon countryside, and I shall love it and return refreshed. Right now, though, I’d like to be doing something fuller of fun and excitement. I work like shit, have been for 25 years, and I barely earn enough to live on. I’m sick, sick, sick of it and full of self-pity. (really Zen, huh?) And I know I shouldn’t be. I’m healthy enough. I’m free. If I’m stuck here it’s only because of my apathy in the face of life. If I’d organised myself and made the effort, I could have been gone by now, taking a little of the money from remortgaging my flat and having a real break, some interesting, stimulating travel experiences, some time to write and take photographs, to reflect on future options.

No-one to blame but myself. Bad feeling. So put the effort into doing it now, planning the get-away for next Winter. I’m trying, I’m trying. It’s hard. I just want to stop the merry-go-round and get off. Now. But life is not a merry-go-round. Perhaps I’ve never had enough fun because I’ve never taken my dreams and desires seriously enough.

I’ve just commented to another blogger having a fed-up day that restlessness is the price of creativity, of being himself, and infinitely worth the ‘down’ times. Always so much easier to tell someone else, isn’t it?

It’s on days like this, actually, that I'm most truly grateful for having discovered the blogosphere – diversion, stimulation, companionship at the touch of my keyboard. Brightening life this lunchtime: Abdul-Walid takes his leave with a poem (oh hell, he's gone already!), Ernesto links to his article in a great on-line journal (in Spanish) and Lorianne reviews three books, all of which I want to read.
I've worked on the admin side in an educational establishment (as I deduce you do as well?) and I remember how difficult it was not to feel just a bit hard done by when students and faculty disappear on long vacations and I was still stuck behind the desk for weeks to come. I for my part am extremely envious of your Zen retreat as I have chosen to try and work through until the end of September (for various reasons)!

Your penultimate para is correct I think. Always easier to see from the outside though.

Have a good and refreshing weekend and don't give yourself a hard time for feeling down. Your writing about it is part of your creative process ....
Yes, I hear you all too loud & clear. Teaching is a seasonal pursuit, so my pay is similarly seasonal. When I have the time to travel, I simultaneously don't have the money.

But, that Zen retreat sounds like just the ticket. Here's hoping you get more than your share of relaxation & clear-headedness from it.
It sounds like you need a real change. It's very hard to survive in London on any kind of paycheque, though you DO get the upside of living in London as payoff. Have you ever seriously thought of taking your skills and starting afresh in a different country or continent? It gets harder as we age -- I had no trouble doing it in my twenties --but it does seem like a monumental effort once you hit your forties and up.
I hope you will be feeling more contented, Jean, by the end of the weekend. Maybe you have been able to start one of those books! I know so many people who are full of envy for those of us who have no obligations and can enjoy the pleasure of just reading a book or sailing the internet - or doing nothing at all if we choose. My life is satisfying, but I'd love to be able to spend a few days exploring the galleries and historic places of London. The grass is always greener...!
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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