Left standing

When I think about it it’s no surprise that I feel a little lost right now. Since about the middle of February life has been frenetic. Not only have I had to contend with the illness and death of my mother, but I also moved home n that time, putting my stuff in storage and living as a visitor in my mum’s home. I’ve not even thought about work really since I had a wasted meeting with a tyre-kicker in early Feb, though I actually managed a week of work when it turned up on my doorstep. Bottom line is that it’s been a long time since then there’s been any semblance of normal life, and it still seems distant.

Suddenly everything has come to a stop. The music finished and I was left standing. I’m here in my mum’s house with a bag of clothes, a laptop, and my coffee machine – and a bunch of books. Everything that is mine is in a small locked room in the western suburbs. I’m in different suburb, pleasant enough, but quiet, full of old people living in up-market retirement villages who drive their Mercedes like old people do – hesitantly, haltingly and slowly – and shuffle around the local drag looking for something to do. I feel like Tarzan around here.

There is no local bars or pubs or cafes to pop into as normally I do. There is no tram to take me to the city, and even the station is a car ride away. It’s a nice house, but it’s not mine. I feel foreign in it, and at a loose end. What is there to do?

The disassociation from house and suburb is emblematic of the larger situation. I am adrift. I don’t have a home, I don’t have a job, my mum has died. In theory I am a free agent, more so than in many years. In reality there is still much I need to attend to in the wake of mum’s passing, and possibly some uncomfortable wrangling. I’d love to move on quickly, but that is unlikely. For a while yet it’s unlikely I’ll make it beyond second gear.

The day will come though. What then? I have a lot of thinking to do. I need to re-assess where I’m at, what I want, even who I am. I’m lucky I have that opportunity I guess. Though it’s probably unlikely, there is the possibility that I could end up living and working abroad, if only for a little while. That would be easier without Rigby, but he’s a non-negotiable – he goes where I do.

In some sense where I end up is secondary to what I do. I need to find myself again. I know, it’s one of those phrases I wrinkle my nose at to. It’s true though. There was a moment yesterday when I realised that something had slipped by me, or from me, in these last few months. I was catching up on a weekend paper and read an article sprinkled with literary allusions I both understood and enjoyed. It felt like a piece of my heartland that world, yet it has been left far behind in the messy rush of recent days. I don’t even have my books about me anymore – 23  boxes of them are in storage.

I don’t mean this to explain what I don’t have, but an example. What are those things I’ve left behind or disregarded? What have I forgotten, or thought once was too hard and set aside? What have you? What will make happy; what is the life that matches the man that I am?

It’s going to be a while until I get that happening even if I am able to identify all this. I need a home first and foremost, abroad maybe, but more likely here. It needs to be my space, preferably with my books about me, my kitchen, maybe even the vegie garden that gives so much pleasure. I want that comfort and cosiness – you miss it when it’s gone. And I want to find my way.

I was due to fly into KL a couple of weeks ago, but had to abort because of mum. That’s back on the agenda, though it will be a different trip now that she’s gone. Still I feel it is a necessary part of my onward journey, if only to be doing something. I’ll meet there with friends and alluring strangers, and I’ll sit down in that distant place with a different sky and foreign culture and try and work out all of these things. For the first time in my life I think happiness and contentment seem like worthwhile goals. The trick is how to attain them.


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