Rationality against passion


As I was upstairs finishing off some clothes-related matters, I was making a mental and urgent note of the things I needed to do once downstairs. Then I came downstairs and thought that having a glass of juice and biscuits and writing on my blog would be better.

Some would call that procrastination, some “doing what I need to do”. (That would be me saying that).

Some things happen predictably enough in your life to allow you to say “It’s a pattern”.

My pattern in this instance is: deciding some quite brave to do, deciding I will do exactly what I want to do, having the clarity of FINALLY knowing exactly what I want to do, and having the clarity of seeing exactly how to go about it.

However, when that happens, exactly that thing that I thought I needed earlier, that thing that rationality and perhaps a little bit of fear of the future and weariness of a crappy physical situation, throws itself at me, and submerges me.


a) I had finally decided that living in that self-sustaining community in the south of Spain, living simply and away from this society was the right thing for me. All I had to do was convince my disruptive and destructive ex-husband to go elsewhere. But I knew I could do it, I had a plan… But my dad comes, promises me material comfort and a presence that I so needed the year before, but was lacking. He tempts me back to finish University in London, and I go back.

b) I finally decide that wanting love was idiotic, that a relationship was me was unsustainable, and that I hated this western society, at the time it was Italy. I had a plan, to take my two young boys, and go and live in a minuscule town in Spain, and live as a translator and slowly make way for my Great Plan. After all, I was over 30, and never had I had a productive and happy long-standing relationship with a man. It was time to accept I was meant to be single and start doing something I really liked with my life. I was ready, I was happy, I was going.

Then of course I met the man of my life, my present husband, and couldn’t help but want to follow him, be with him.

c) I had reached a pretty dramatic and yet very clear decision in Yorkshire. There were too many things I needed to change. Then my husband got hired here in Cambridge, so along came with the promise of such newness, of such beauty, that I just couldn’t help going along with it.

d) After years of trying, I finally give up the translation business that was killing me, nerve-wracking me, and decide to get a full time job: I want to be able to buy clothes for my kids when they want them, want to be able to go out for dinner, want to go on holiday. It proves not only incredibly difficult, considering my skills and experience (too little of the former, too much of the latter, thus not appealing either to simple jobs or to complex jobs), but it appears that just as I have always shunned this society, this society now shuns me and tells me, quite rightly I suppose, it will do blast all to help me out. As far as this society goes, I am pretty much a non-entity, a nothing.

So, today, as I walk back from school, the idea finally starts forming in my mind: I will finish NaNoWriMo, I will complete this novel, I will get on with the little paid literary translations that await me, I will become a writer, a homemaker, and make sure we save money we shouldn’t be spending. Yes this is good, I say. I will stop wasting time thinking about my friends when they’re thinking of other stuff, I will write about them instead, I will use all the people that have taken up all my energy in all these years as inspiration for characters. Yes, it can be done. If we’re poor, then we’ll live poorly! But I’ll be able to do what I need to do.

Just as these thoughts crystallise happily in my mind, the phone rings, and I am invited for an interview, for a full time position. My brain goes from a moment of shock and puzzlement, as it always does when this timing is so impeccable, and then starts thinking of all the positive reasons why this would be brilliant: regaining all the rational motivations and advantages to achieving this, the full time job.

Having too many options, having too many possibilities. Knowing exactly when I feel exhilarated and happy, and knowing that if I were advising anybody I’d say go where your passion is, go with what makes you happy, what thrills you.

At the same time, the loneliness, the feeling of being there for the service of everyone but yourself, the lack of money, the constant, constant lack of money, the growing debts, the lack of holidays, not being able to go get a cappuccino out just because you want to, not being able to go out to dinner with friends or to the pub.

They all weigh inside me, and I now some people would resent my even feeling I have a choice, but as some guy cleverly said a while back on TED, choice isn’t always good.

Now what?

Well, after watching some more great speakers concerning choice, I guess I’ll soon find out.


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