Preparations for the new world

I start the new job tomorrow. Someone asked me the other day if I was nervous. No, I told them. I’m not the nervous type in general, and this job should be well within my capabilities. Today though I feel some subtle nerves. The nerves come not from thoughts of the job itself, nor even the unknown qualities of it. They’re nerves of anticipation. They centre on getting myself out of bed tomorrow morning, preparing myself for work, then taking myself to the station to take me there. Once I’m in the building, and with a coffee in hand, the nerves will dissipate.

I have great expectations of 2016. In terms of where I’ve been, I’m hopeful it will be a breakout year. I have a job, income, and the possibilities of more. My book is progressing to the point that I expect to submit it to a publisher before April. I have a tentative arrangement to develop the mentoring application. And I’m discussing with app developers to build 6-8 different apps and split the profit evenly.

Out of all this, only the job is certain. The rest may never eventuate, and certainly, some of it will come to nothing on the balance of probability. While these are things be encouraged by, the real point is that I am creative and active. My mind ticks over, it sees links, creates possibilities, my imagination is productive. If not these things, then others. It’s a state of being that is lively and ambitious, and it serves me well as a human being – even if nothing comes of it.

Whether true or not, I feel as if I’ve surmounted the crest, or turned the corner. The worst is behind me, and I survived it. It will remain a dire struggle for quite some time, and there will be difficult situations that will need careful management, but I can look forward – I think – to better times.

About a year ago, I created a list in one of my apps detailing all the things I need to do when I have money again. Much of it is very prosaic. My current doona cover is pretty ratty now, for example, and so one of the bullet points is to buy a new doona cover. There are other simple things. I’ve hardly bought a stitch of clothing in the last three years. I don’t have a pair of jeans without a hole in them. My business clothes are getting shiny (and I’m a spiv, so hard to take). And so on.

One of my fond hopes is being able to walk into a bookshop again and spend hours there, before walking out with 4-5 books under my arm – just as I used to. I don’t even go into bookshops now. And delis! Go to the deli again, and salivate over the cheeses and salami and the exotic delicacies.

Or walk into a bar to get an idle drink while chatting to the bartender. Simples, but something I haven’t done for years. Likewise, just buying a takeaway latte.

There are other things, like getting my car insured, or renewing my MCC membership.

None of this will be possible in the short-term, but I’m planning for it as you see.

Besides these, there are fewer material desires. I want to be with someone again. I miss feminine company. I want to flirt and yearn. I want to be able to go out for drinks, dinner, want to kick up my heels with the chosen one till all hours of the day or night. I want to share myself, be open and intimate and human.

If anything, this is where my greatest doubts lie. These trials and tribulations have necessitated an active response in order for me to survive. It’s brought to the surface qualities that formerly were mixed in with my other attributes. I’ve become a hard man, but only because the situation has demanded it of me.

I’ve noted before how I don’t think I’ve ever been as sensitive as I am now. At the same time, more aggressive traits have come to the fore. I’m belligerent often, as required, stubborn and pig-headed. I’m defiant and hard-nosed and sometimes ruthless. I know how unintentionally (and intentionally sometimes) intimidating I can be. I’m arrogant and aggressive and driven.

I’m lucky. If I were not those things, I’d be wallowing in misery still, and without any prospects. These things have stiffened me up and given me will. There’s been something bloody-minded in it – fucked if I’m going to let you beat me – but necessarily so.

These are wartime attributes, though. I hope soon for days of peace and serenity but have to adapt myself to that.

This is what crosses my mind, that the things that save you are the same things that kill you. I can’t survive as a civilised human being unless I put down my weapons.

How does this happen? There is intent, as these words demonstrate. Circumstances will help too, though as yet my circumstances are improved only in prospect. I’m not there yet. What else?

When I think about this, I know how I want to be. I’m proud of the stuff that has brought me here, and I disown none of it – but I need to change for the new world.

I want to be open and spontaneous again. I’m lucky that I’m an optimist, and have a wealth of belief. I want to be gentle and kind. I want to be generous in thought and deed – as I always was before. I want to be trusting. I want to recapture that boyish sense of wonder and hope. I want to be honest and sincere, and transparent. And I want to unfold myself for the right person should I find her, and give everything I’ve got to give.

I sometimes think that for all the hardship I’ve endured, it’s not been altogether bad. You learn in these situations. You become more because you have to. You gain an appreciation for what it’s like to struggle. You lose that complacent fat. You see nuance and subtlety you were blind to before. You remember not to take things for granted. You realise the true value of things. You become more mentally fit than you’ve ever been in your life. You’re alert and aware. You become hungry again.

That’s how I feel, as if I’ve just endured an extreme test which I’m close to passing. Out of it, I come a better man, more complete and capable. There has to be value in that which I can take into the next phase of my life.

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