Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Changing climates

When i started this blog, we were moving on a regular basis - Sod's Law, now we move comparatively rarely, since Jiffy seems to be getting longer contracts in the same area.  Employers don't seem to be able get a handle on the idea that because we have a postal address in one place, doesn't mean we can't up sticks and work anywhere in the country!  For 18 months we have mostly rotated around Gloucestershire, predominantly near Tewkesbury, now near Cheltenham, maybe he'll get a job in the office of his present employer, and we'll push the boat out, go somewhere really new to us - all the way to Cirencester!!!!

Strangely, even though we don't seem to be moving much, my dissatisfaction with stationary, bricks-and-mortar living seems to be appeased by ever more downsizing!  The more 'stuff' we get rid of, the smaller our home-on-wheels becomes, the lighter and more lissome life feels, like we could release ourselves from the bounds of the earth, and float away to wherever we fancied!  I know we can't, but it FEELS like that kind of weightless liberty.  Yet, at the same time, this small, cosy space also feels so much more secure and safe than an immovable building, with so much more internal space, divided up into claustrophobic portions (known as 'rooms')  One space, with thin but well-insulated walls, so that one is always aware of the background of life all around, part, even, of the outer world, seems to me much less enclosed, and restrictive, than thick walls and larger spaces full of furniture and the detritus of many years of living.

Received wisdom tells us that security lies in a job, an 'owned' house/flat, promotion, etc, yet it seems to me that such things are a velvet prison.  In a rapidly changing world, once more the gift that brings security (what an illusion!) is what made humans so powerful in the first place - adaptability.  The days of 'jobs for life' died long ago, but still we are encouraged to aspire to that, and to all the badges of such 'achievement' - the biggest TV, the latest model of car, the newest fashion, the brand names that the media dictate are the most desirable - I beg your pardon?!

None of these things can be taken with us when our time comes to go - and go we all must (Immortality has always seemed to me the most frightening of nightmares, can anyone explain to me why so find it appealing?) All that we can take with us is our memories and our conclusions on the quality of a life lived.  When that time comes, we will be alone, for no one can approach that transition with us, and whatever deceptions we may have wrought upon ourselves will be exposed. 

My security lies in the knowledge that I have always done the best I could, in the understanding I had at the time, and that where I have made mistakes, and caused pain or damage to others, I have done my best to make reparation.  There is no safety, life isn't safe, never was and never will be. The desire for safety is the desire not to live, for the dead are the only ones with nothing to risk, whom life's vagaries can no longer impact upon. As my bodily frailty increases I know I am increasingly less adaptable, physically, but I believe my mind is becoming more so, as I let go of the fear of disaster.  Disaster is only something for which we have not prepared - as in the saying that there is no bad weather - only the wrong clothes! We cannot, metaphorically, all have a wardrobe to cater for all weather, but we can learn to adapt as the climate of life changes, and that's about being willing to learn and to let go of that which is no longer valuable in the new climate.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Can we stop history repeating itself? Do we want to?

If we don't know, and understand our history, we will be doomed to repeat it.  I was tickled to find this quote in the blog of one of the several young, inspiring bloggers I read. He recognised the truth of it, both on the global scale and on the personal, but I know I didn't at his age! 

When we are young, all is fresh and new, we feel love, and so many other powerful emotions, for the first time, and their intensity can be overwhelming, totally wiping away any other view and making rational decisions quite impossible.  The joy, and pain, of young love is unrepeatable - thank heavens!  When I look back to the see-saws of emotion that I underwent when I was younger, I am deeply relieved I am no longer subject to these gales and tsunamis of perception, but also grateful to have had my senses so exalted.  The calmer seas of age are no less enjoyable, but sailing on a gently rippling sea, in the shelter of the headlands of experience is alot more relaxing, allowing one to savour experiences more deeply.  

Following the General Election here, in the UK, a little knowledge of history also brings a calming perspective!  The election of 1979, when Margaret Thatcher swept to power with an overwhelming majority, began a new era - one that most of us who lived through it regret deeply. Such a majority meant there was very little tempering influence over the actions of a group of people who were rather like religious fundamentalists, they believed utterly in their version of truth, and imposed it rigorously.  As one gets older, one realises that no one has 'THE Truth' and that such a belief results in bigotry, and bigotry leads to oppression.

Thatcherism lead to an enormous increase in the gap between the 'Haves' and the 'Have nots', which was perpetuated by Tony Blair and his 'New Labour" (which to most of us bore no resemblance to any kind of socialism)  I am not particularly Left or Right wing in my political stance, it seems to me that both extremes have some truths, but also have some bigoted, emotional misconceptions in their world views. 

I am extremely heartened to see the Right wing and the Centre of British politics making a sincere attempt to work together for the good of the country - this seems to me real patriotism, which is a different beast from from the Jingoism so often seen in the media, and I hope they can make it work.  The media keep reminding us that this is the first Coalition government since the War - but omit to recall how well that Coalition worked!  Conflict makes excitement and therefore viewers/readers for the media, but it's not good for a healthy society.  Perhaps the cynics/sceptics who keep decrying the stability of this new government would be wise to take a step back and realise that if this doesn't work, their bank balances, along with the rest us, will suffer?  Take the medicine, folks, before we all go to hell in a handbasket.