It’s Sunday night. Tomorrow morning I’ll have been back from Cornwall for a whole week. Time feels like it’s slowed down and only now am I getting a handle on what needs to be done to make living there a reality. I’ve already mentally checked out of living around here, and part of my (as yet undocumented) master plan is to work on the bubble I live in. I’m very easily influenced by people I know and trust, I take their word on things and I’m more likely to do something if I’m asked by one of my friends. I’m totally comfortable with this, and it’s nice to be able to let my guard down and be honest with people that get me. It’s not something I’m particularly familiar with, but another part of my master plan is to engage my real friends in more real world encounters, so I’ll hopefully reach a given point and have a completely changed outlook.
The way of life around these parts – the mean streets of Abingdon, UK – is different to rural life in Cornwall. Most of my support network live in Cornwall, and in a rather far-fetched way I do sometimes think I’m just biding my time before I become a resident, and that right now I’m telecommuting. Now and again I have to check in with the Cornwall office, and have meetings, and have fun, and arrange repeat trips for later in the year. Sometimes I get homework, which is nice. My current homework is likely to be pretty lucrative in the long-run, and it’s testing my brain in ways I’d forgotten about – all things considered this week has been mentally and emotionally stimulating, but I haven’t yet worked out how to fit all the new pieces together, and it’s taking its toll on me. Today was the first day since I got home that I just flipped out and wondered what the heck was going on. I spent about half an hour talking to myself and thinking happy thoughts before my brain finally decided it was going to play nice, and that actually everything’s OK. In a former life, that would’ve flattened me for a day or three. Now, I was back in charge of my head after less than an hour, and a 40 minute Skype pep talk later I was back smiling and thinking of good things.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I do need good people in my life, and in some small or not-so-small way people need me in return. This arrangement is fine by me, and I’m starting to feel valued and loved from some quarters, something that has been a little thin on the ground in recent times. Despite all my best efforts to be a hermit to survive the daily poop-slinging, I don’t think that’s a long-term solution for me. Sure, it gets me through the day, most days, but I want more than just a screen and a keyboard. I’ve already started on the getting of more, a process which includes a number of fairly frank assessments of what I’m doing, what I’ve done and what I want to do. I get stuck in ruts more often than I’d like, and for the first time in a long time I can see that changing. I still don’t know how to have proper real-world fun, but I can see the sparks of it wanting to come back, and I’m doing things that make me smile again, so this is significant progress from before. I won’t force the fun thing – I don’t need to – but I’m really looking forward to the adventures this year holds for me and the people I know.
Bit of a segue coming up now. Brace yourself.
My life is a bit like an elastic/rubber band. It’s usually pretty uniform and stable, and occasionally gets a bit bent out of shape, but ultimately bounces back without incident. Sometimes it snaps and I need to get a new band – this new band might be exactly the same, it might be a bit different, but it’s still a band. Recently, I got the feeling someone’s come along and put their fingers in my band to stretch it. It’s bigger, and it holds more, and I like the new possibilities of what a stretched band can do. It snapped earlier on, though, I think, and I already have a new band that’s a bit bigger and a bit thicker than before. It’s stronger and more bendy, and can take a bit more punishment. I know there’ll be times in the future where it snaps again, either from stress or just because it’s perished. Stay with me, I’m almost done with the band analogy – I thought it might work when I started writing, now I’ve committed and I’m determined to see it to a conclusion with sheer bloody mindedness.
So, this band. You get the rough idea, hopefully. I have an idea what my replacement bands look like, but it’s other people that bring new bands along that I like the looks of. In turn, I may have the opportunity of introducing them to new bands that they weren’t aware of, and we start a merry collection of rubber bands – different sizes, different thicknesses and different styles, but all stretchy representations of daily life.
If you could do me a favour and never mention this rubber band analogy back to me in person when you next see me, I’d be most grateful. If you absolutely have to mention it, you must do it over lunch so we can discuss it further in depth. You’re paying, by the way. Thanks.