It’s a sunny Thursday a couple of days before the AFL grand final, which means tomorrow is a public holiday. That means I can go out for a few drinks tonight and tomorrow I can sleep in. I’ve also applied to have Monday off, so I have a four day weekend.
Because tomorrow is a day off we’re having a casual dress day in the office today. At lunchtime there’s a handball competition in the break room, as well as free pies, pasties and sausage rolls to celebrate the occasion. I’m in a t-shirt, feeling relatively mellow, and look forward to a free pie later and, even more so, a drink after work.
It’s been a productive week for me. As I promised, I set aside the things I couldn’t change. I’ve withdrawn from the things – and the people – causing me grief. I’ve concentrated on my work and on the people around me I value. There’s some adjustment in this – I still itch – but I think it’s the right thing, and it seems to be working well. Touch wood.
In the ebb and flow of all this your eyes alight on things and for a few moments you contemplate. You accept you shouldn’t be so disappointed by mediocrity and compromise, not at your age. And you wonder whether you should even be an environment when questions of it arise: you wonder whether it’s time now to move on in a more substantial way. No hurry for that, something to ponder over a period, and more so as other pieces fall into place. Some of those pieces are people. You fall back, and you see the people about you, friends and friendly acquaintances. Now you’re not expending futile energy you have the mindspace to better appreciate them, and to engage with them. The pleasure that inspires comes as a small surprise. A lot of it is on the surface, fun and sometimes flirtatious, easy words and manners, authentic and light. There’s a part of your mind which is never shut-off which, at times like these, lights up still more because it seems all of a piece. Who am I? What do I do? What do I want? And some of that want is very personal.
It feels like a settled thing. After all the doubts and misgivings, the to-ing and fro-ing, it seems that I’ve accepted at least some of the things I want. Not written in stone – the names may change – but I’m good for what I reckon now.
The funny thing it frees me up a little, maybe because it’s not so intensely mysterious anymore. It frees me up, but for the most part also it means I’m happy to navigate between most possibilities. I’ve become that easier person I aspired to be earlier in the year, as I once was always back in my twenties. I’m light-hearted, fun, witty, maybe a little acerbic. I engage. I’ve always been more popular with the women here than the men, probably because I like them as a gender more. But of course a woman always knows when you like them as a woman, even platonically, and it adds some frisson to the dialogue. That goes two ways.
I mentioned the other week how there was a gap toothed woman who had started who I found some connection with. I really like her, she’s fun and smart and a bit cheeky and she likes me. It’s always nice when they like you. She has a partner so there’s nothing in it, but she can’t help but smile when she sees me. I like her too, but even if she wasn’t partnered up I wouldn’t be interested in anything more than friendship. That doesn’t stop me from flirting, and I get on a bit of a high from the whole, sheer fun of it, as she does too, I think. It feels like great, innocent fun.
I’m happy to be this man, a man people like, a man some might even find alluring, but a man also decent and honest. I got called a go-getter the other day. In the same breath I got called roguishly good looking. Both compliments please me more than they should, but I accept that too – vanity is a flaw, but an acceptable, largely inoffensive flaw. I hope it’s one of the things that make me endearing in a way, oh H, he gets so full of himself sometimes, but he’ll never let you down.
That’s the point. I can be all this. I can clap myself on the back, I can flirt, I can open myself up, I may even engage in the occasional dalliance, but end of day I hope I’m true, and I hope that whoever it ends up being will indulge these other aspects with some affection, and love me still for my individuality and honesty and the devotion I bring.
This is one thing I want, and I’m closer to it now than for a long time.