Switching to yes

With a new job coming up, and more pay, I can now start to think about the things I’ve put off. It’s good to be rewarded with a better job, but the real value of it is that it changes the game for me. It’s the keystone I’ve been waiting for.

There are many things I’ve turned aside from or put from my mind entirely because of the circumstances I’ve experienced. Some of them are seemingly trivial (though far from it when you’re deprived), such as going out for drinks or a nice dinner every now and then, or even indulging in the odd take-out meal. It counts too for my weekly groceries. I can now put a few more items in the trolley and live a little easier at home because of it.

Then there other things – travel, for example. I’m not in a position yet to plan my next trip away, but at least now I can believe it’s possible again. I’ve been spoilt previously, and it’s only been a few years since my last trip abroad. That’s longer than usual for me though, but I’d grown accustomed to a trip away each year. While I miss the buzz and curiosity of being somewhere new, I’ve equally missed the possibility of travel. That’s a mindset. Closed to me was the option of going somewhere new (or even old), and with that the openness of mind and freedom of thought that goes hand in hand with it.

Being a regular traveller had become a part of my identity. Denied the possibility that part of my identity – as was the case in other parts – atrophied. I became stay at home in thought as well as in actuality.

Realistically I can’t see myself travelling abroad again for 18 months unless more changes come. It’s there though as a notion, of not a hope. I can dream again.

That’s nice, but there are more important developments to come out of this job.

People underestimate the sense of belonging that comes with having a ‘normal’ and fulfilling job. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that as I’ve always shunned the notion of need. As independent as you might be, there are still rituals and patterns in your life you unknowingly obey. It’s when these rituals are disturbed and the patterns disrupted that you feel the lack. This has been the case for me.

It’s been years since I’ve been to an office Christmas party. I’m going to one this year. I got off the phone to Donna earlier looking to re-establish our long tradition of an indulgent dinner together leading into Christmas. I’ve not been able to manage that for years. I can look to join in again those things which I must refuse before, and even be bold enough to initiate some kind of social contract once more.

Much against my desire I’ve abstained from relationships for 4-5 years. In hindsight it is this I regret most. 4-5 years ago I was ready to finally to find and settle with someone who might become my life partner. It sounds a bit twee when put like that, but I don’t know how to describe it otherwise. I suspect there might be some revisionism in that proclamation also, but it’s true that I was moving towards it. When things turned against me it became more difficult, but I did not immediately turn away from it. I became involved, but, whether it be my practical circumstances, or my shame at them, I found a major part of myself held back. Commitment is impossible in those circumstances.

And so since then, barring a few incidental flings, I’ve abstained altogether. That can change now. I now have a job, and a job I’m not ashamed of. I can feel normal again, part of the ebb and flow of conventional society. Furthermore I can actually afford to buy you a drink, and even splurge on a grand meal. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself now, but now there is possibility where there was none before.

Life’s a river that keeps on flowing. Or perhaps it’s a river that takes you in its current and shunts you through rapids and over waterfalls and past tributaries, or into them. I’ve had all that over the last few years, but perhaps now, finally, it’s taking me into safer waters again. This was a time, and it will pass, and another time will come, and times beyond that. And in some distant time I will look back and see this time as something that had a beginning and an end, and not an eternal now. And I survived it without going under.

That means that now I’ve turned the switch from off to on. I want what the last 4-5 years have denied me, and most of all I want that connection. I don’t know how to go about that. I’m older than I was before, and I’m off intranet dating. I will be more social now though because I can be, and perhaps I’ll encounter that person then. The important thing is that I can say yes to it again, and that’s a major moment in my life.

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