Tuesday, 18 May 2010
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.