- Back from holiday as of yesterday and my alarm just woke me from a dream that counts as weird even for me. I was facing certain execution at the hands of cosmic fates (over something bureaucratic and ridiculous like a traffic fine, WHICH I’D PAID, but those fates are pretty inflexible; it was a weirdly mythic dream, or miffic, even) and went through this whole drawn-out process of accepting my imminent demise, saying goodbye to all my loved ones, etc etc. Working through my lack of desire to actually die even though I’m not afraid of death. Got on the cosmic bus that took me to my fate (literally). Tried a last-ditch appeal, which didn’t work, as I knew it wouldn’t. But then realised that the fate in question (who looked a bit and acted a lot like Mr Mime, wtf, subconscious?!) actually expected and even wanted me to trick it, tie it up, escape and explode the entire cosmic bay to ensure my future safety. Which I did, but I was not very happy about it, because trickery and destruction are Not My Thing! And then I had to deal with actually having to keep on living after having made my peace and my goodbyes! All of this was a bit challenging to certain fondly held illusions about myself (not scared of death; not a rule follower). Anyway, so, sorry to dump my dreams on you but understand, that’s a LOT of existential wossname to be dealing with first thing first thing on a Monday, never mind the first Monday after holidays, so oy, guys. Oy.
- Aaaaanyway. Is this the natural conclusion to a trip that happened to coincide with a couple of pieces of big news as well as the usual visit-home sizing up of my life development and general philosophising? Trips back to SA inevitably carry a lot of emotional baggage. There’s the state-of-the-nation impressions (and thoughts about my own role as an emigrant/European tourist, and how I relate to the country as a past and possible future home). There’s the frequent rehashing of where I’m at now, what’s working for me and what isn’t. There’s the reflecting on general ageing, change and personal growth as I see how my friends and relations are getting on. And being where I’m at right now (in limbo or in flux, I guess, depending on your level of optimism) there was maybe more reflecting than usual.
- About that limbo: one piece of big news was not big, or surprising, in itself but had a big (bad) impact on me. I didn’t get an interview for a job I really wanted. I know, I know, this is nothing new. But… this particular job was so very appealing, it made all the other jobs on offer look even worse. It was basically the only job I’ve seen that I thought I could actually do well (books editor, rather than communications). Since I don’t have books experience, it’s no surprise that I didn’t get anywhere, but still: ouch. So that threw me into a few days of utterly predictable and in fact predicted despair, and I’m still wrestling with it. If my chances of landing a job are small, and my chances of landing a non-shitty job approaching zero, then basically I need to rediscover my inner South African and make my own work, right? That’s what we do. ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan. Not exactly obvious to me how to go, though, and I do really long for the structure and security of A Job.
- But this is seriously higher-level problems and I feel quite bratty making such a thing of it. Because all our survival needs are met; my desire for a job is at least 50% self-actualisation. The other half is financial security (pension, what-ifs etc) but we are basically doing completely fine. So (a) I am chastising myself for being so whiny about being in this actually very luxurious position of having time at home with kids in school, and (b) I am chastising myself for being so whiny about the quality of job available to me, because dude, suck it up and make job happen. I’m okay with being unemployed, but not so much being unemployable. What if something happens and my family’s survival does depend on me, but I can’t get a job because I’ve been too damn picky? (No. I’m not exactly turning away offers right now. But still.) So, yeah, angst up the wazoo. I need a major attitude adjustment. Somebody slap me.
- The OTHER piece of news is much more exciting: we are buying a house! For real this time. I’m still stunned that the finances all work out (even without a second salary) but very excited. It’s a lovely little house, though not our dream house; it’s comfortable and in great shape, it’s close enough to our current home that we won’t lose our network, it’ll do nicely. So that’s going to keep me pretty busy for the next few months, and I guess then I can start the existential panic all over again. At least I have a distraction.