It’s been a while.
I’d lost my ‘voice’.
And to be honest, I’m not sure that I’ve fully recovered it.
There’s been no great traumatic happening. More an unhappening. A physical and mental unravelling – with plans set aside; vacation of my habitual role as the family ‘fixer-upper’ and all-round supporter and help-meet; and a donning of the robes of survival-mode.
That’s what I’ve been doing for the last year or more. Existing. Going to bed when I got in from work; sleeping poorly; avoiding responsibility; palming folk off and feeling ill.
I know there’s good physical reason for me becoming this pathetic cratur. And I can testify to the impact that the physical really does have on the mental.
I have fresh disdain at the ways in which my body is determined to humiliate me and I have fresh disdain for doctors and medics and nurses and ‘the system’. I also have the following advice: do not guffaw at ‘anaemia’. It sounds, well, like an anaemic excuse of an illness. Undiagnosed and left untreated, it wrecks some serious shit. So, if you feel like shit, get your doc to do a full blood count.
Aside from that? Well, it’s same-old, same-old.
The work/life imbalance feels worse. The yearning for holiday escape is probably the same. But there’s fewer resident children and cheaper food bills.
Mind you, this bit is new: talking and thinking about retirement is now a thing – a thing that we do.
We do it when we get a pay rise (the blessed ‘final salary’) or hear about a (slightly older) pal who’s retiring or bump into them, looking mildly scruffier but smiling and sounding happy and certainly less harrassed, especially as they talk about the clubs they’ve joined or the time they are enjoying just pootering about.
It’s a thing we do when we’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and are contemplating the stretch of work days before we get to a holiday. A thing that we do when we get to the end of a long awful week of stress and too much work and mealymouthed nashgabbing and paggering…
I need to be truthful.
I am a bit shocked by this development.
Especially as it’s the type of thing I contemptuously dismissed in folk who’ve already trod that path.
I had them written off as weak. As finished.
They’d joined the ranks of ‘I wanna spend some more time in the gaaarden’…
They had the stench of irrelevance and church candle wax about them.
And yet now, here I am, discovering that, actually, I quite like the smell of hasbeenery – especially when it’s combined with vanilla scented burning candles (you get great ones from Aldi’s).