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Hitches - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Hitches
I still don't have a start date for my new job, though I do (nearly) have a contract; but basically I'm still in a state of limbo in the current job. On top of this, I'm still scared I won't really be able to do the new job. I think all of these things have been putting more pressure on me than I realised. It feels as though everything's turning into a big question about The Future, and to be honest I was quite happy letting the future unfold and just making the most of whatever it holds, but at the moment I'm having to be a bit more proactive about it. Serves me right for telling everybody else to make decisions, I guess.

On Saturday addedentry and I went to the wedding of two people who (to the best of my knowledge) are not on LiveJournal, where I met a friend whom I hadn't seen for ages, who also has no LiveJournal, but turns out to be going out with a lovely girl who (guess what) has no LiveJournal. What are the chances of that, eh? It's a small world.

Arguments and weddings are a pretty bad combination, on the whole, but it's all tied in with the other stuff that's going round my head: some slightly scratchy discussion about babies and commitment in the comments of someone else's journal (locked, otherwise I'd link); the answers to my poll (which I'm going to get round to writing about real soon now); and even some of the recent comments about the end of a certain high-profile student romance. It's all feeding into the debate in my head. I wish it could just be an abstract debate, but for some of my friends it's all too real at the moment, and I feel utterly powerless to help them.

Do you ever feel that slight sense of vertigo, as everything seems to coalesce into something that makes sense but can't be communicated, some piece of knowledge that's both powerful and unusable? Images half-seen, through a glass, darkly?

What's it all about for you right now? Are you at a crossroads? What can you see? Your exits are: forward.
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Comments
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: April 16th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not confused about The Future at all, it's one of the best albums ever.

I'm not so much at a crossroads as a Gordian knot, which... no, hell, I'll mail you about it.

[ I'm serious about the album though. ]
emperor From: emperor Date: April 16th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most of my current life-wangst is work-related, so I don't feel like talking about it in an unlocked LJ entry. I think spaghetti junction more than crossroads, though...
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
For what it's worth, I didn't intend anybody to feel pressured to reveal secrets in public, or even to respond at all unless they wanted to.

Good luck with mapping that junction and navigating a route through it.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: April 16th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It varies between the top of a rollercoaster - forward and down simultaneously, probably with screaming - and somewhere in the jungle, with mysterious animal noises in the undergrowth. If I had a machete it might be easier to go forward.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Danger! Unstable metaphor ahead!)

Do you not think there's a risk that if you had a machete you might take someone's head off (including your own) by accident?

I think there are lots of ways out of the jungle, and many of them don't involve chopping it down...
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: April 16th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking more of the idea that forward is not necessarily the only way out.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think we're getting crossed metaphors here: I was working on the basis that we're always moving forwards (through time, through our lives). In that sense it is like a rollercoaster, and there's no safe way to get off a moving rollercoaster.

When I put it like that it seems very negative, but in my mind it's quite a positive thing; every step is a step forward. I just try to take those steps mindfully, even the ones where it looks like I'm standing still.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: April 16th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nod* But if you're in the jungle, unless you fell from a plane you got there somehow. Backwards or sideways might be better than forward, if forward is only achievable with weaponry. ;-)
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Backwards" suggests undoing things that have been done, though; I don't believe in undoing, only doing. Can't cross the same river twice, and all that. You can only ever start from where you are now, whether that's on a plane, or in the jungle, or with your head in a lion's mouth. On the downside, that means you've got to take a good look at where you are, which might mean an unpleasant closeup view of a lion's tonsils. On the plus side, it means that the past is just a map you can use to help you get to where you want to be.

I'm all platitudes at the moment, I know; but there are very strong beliefs underneath the fridge-magnets, and they're what stop me going mad (most of the time).
beingjdc From: beingjdc Date: April 16th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's all inherently unpredictable for me. My relationship is brilliant but temporary, my job is good (pay | uses skills I have | not too hard) but not so good that I can allow myself not to think about moving on sometime in the next 18 months. I'm reasonably financially secure, but no longer own property, and am not likely to in London. We don't even mention health. It hasn't got any worse recently, which is something.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is the temporariness of the relationship a necessity, a decision, or just fatalism? Or something else?

Is owning property important to you? I don't think it is to me at the moment (that's partly rationalising necessity, but also assessing the risks and benefits).

I'm sorry to hear about the bad health -- I hope it gets better, or at least no worse.
beingjdc From: beingjdc Date: April 16th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is the temporariness of the relationship a necessity, a decision, or just fatalism? Or something else?

I suppose it's a decision. Either of us could make it be otherwise, but evidently we've both decided the price would be too great. Certainly for my part I regard it as impossible, unfortunately.

Is owning property important to you?

Clearly not, I wouldn't have sold up and moved to London if it was. It has merits in a rising market, though I've missed that boat for now. Useful though, to know that you don't have to move unless you want to, that the cost is fixed and predictable, that you can repaint the walls or get a couple of cats, etc.

I'm sorry to hear about the bad health

Oh I make a meal of it really. It doesn't limit me in any serious way, and plenty of people have it much worse.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't claim to understand what's going on with the temporary-relationship problem, but it sounds awfully sad. I hope you can both enjoy it while it lasts at least.

Useful though, to know that you don't have to move unless you want to, that the cost is fixed and predictable, that you can repaint the walls or get a couple of cats, etc.

The rent seems as fixed/predictable as a mortgage would be: they can't raise the rent until the next time we renew the contract, and it's more or less guaranteed that it will go up then, but probably not by very much. That's probably more predictable than a mortgage, actually. And if the rent goes up to something we can't afford, then we move to somewhere with a cheaper rent; whereas if a mortgage becomes unaffordable overnight, um, you're screwed, AFAICT.

And for me it's quite nice to know that we're under absolutely no obligation to even feel slightly guilty about not painting the walls. :-} I was a homeowner for a few years (well, my name was on the mortgage) and I think we painted a grand total of one wall -- and a small wall at that -- in all that time.

Cats would be nice, though, yeah. But for us not-having-cats is more to do with living in a first-floor flat over shops than with renting/owning/contracts etc (and wasn't it you who said they couldn't stop you having pets anyway?!).
beingjdc From: beingjdc Date: April 16th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Prima facie a blanket no-pets clause is unreasonable, yes. It would need to say something like "no pets which cause a nuisance to neighbours, or without permission, such permission not to be unduly withheld", but there still hasn't been a test case, and moving a pet in to a place you are is one thing. Moving to another place when you already have one might be more complex.

Rent vs Mortage predictability is I think dependent on the timescale you're looking at. A mortgage is more predictable over, say, ten years, because you'll always owe the same amount of capital or less, rents could go up significantly as they have during the period of rising house prices. The only long-term advantage if you have savings (I do) is that money in a deposit is in effect a saving sheltered from tax. That will become important if I save a lot more or move to higher rate tax. At the moment it's not a huge deal.
ultraruby From: ultraruby Date: April 16th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
My general operating principle is 'press on' since if I let myself think about crossroads and paths not taken I get incredibly worried and unsure.

I'm sorry if it was anything I said that was scratchy. i've been thinking about your comments a lot these past few days.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
You weren't scratchy, I just felt like the conversation had got to one of those "But! No! But! What I mean!" moments where everybody gets a bit awkward and nearly shouts and then someone goes and buys a drink or makes a rude joke and the conversation moves away. Not bad, just "right, that's enough of that, I am talking too loud and waving my hands around too much." If you see what I mean.

I was trying to explain in another comment that for me it's not so much "press on" as "you can't help pressing on, even if you stand still, so you might as well do so mindfully". I can't tell if that's a different way of looking at the same thing, or the same way of looking at a different thing. I'm not convinced that things actually exist independently of how they're looked at, though. See also: trees, quads.

Ach, head full of bees, at the moment.

classytart From: classytart Date: April 16th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't really think about that life stuff - too rooted in Just Now, perhaps? I've never been able to picture myself even a month or so ahead, in any real sense. Obviously I can say I'll be at that gig, or the other film, or such nd such a party, but beyond that? Nope.

The advantage is that I am very free of worries - I assume it's all going to be OK, because it's been OK, and it is OK.

The disadvantage is that I'm rubbish at motivating myself to do things for me - ambition, for example - yeah, I'd like to earn lots more and still be happy in my job, only maybe a more responsible one. But I can't picture it, so I can't really move towards it (tortured metaphor - want to be in an obscure village that I know is within driving distance of me, but not which way, and I have neither map nor road signs, so just have to coast and see what happens). Similarly saving money, or getting fitter, or losing weight - I can't see the results in any real way, so why not go for the instant gratification?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 16th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I could suggest practical ways of helping yourself to see the results, but it sounds to me as though you don't really want to change: and indeed, if you're happy to go on as you are, why bother changing? Who says you have to save money, or lose weight, or get fitter?

On the other hand, if you do want to be somewhere else, then you have to move towards it. Or move towards buying/borrowing/drawing a map, or finding a road-sign, or even asking for directions, or going a bit of a way down some of the possible routes to see if you can see any useful landmarks. You may not be able to see the results you want (ie "wow, I'm there") of taking the first step towards somewhere you want to be, but if you don't take the first step, you'll certainly see the results (ie not being any closer to where you want to be).

If any of that makes sense.
ewtikins From: ewtikins Date: April 16th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
For me right now it's all about getting my physical and mental health sorted out so I can do the things I want to do, and trying not to go broke in the process.

If nothing else, I'm learning a lot...
barrysarll From: barrysarll Date: April 16th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm surprised to be the first person saying that I think I'm on the motorway from Saturday's Doctor Who.

Tunnel one is closed.
Tunnel two is closed.
Tunnel three is closed.
martling From: martling Date: April 16th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Zooming out. You realised what the thing you were looking at was, where it fits, and for a foolish moment you think you understand. But even as you look at it, the view is widening, and you're lost again.
doseybat From: doseybat Date: April 16th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems a bit like I am out on a ledge, have walked some way forward but still cant see much ahead or to the left or to the right. compilerbitch moved to US nearly a year ago and I still have not worked out what the consequences of this are. At least I can avoid major decisions until the phd is over. Eek!
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: April 16th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, well; the link to the BBC story led me to the comments including one made by someone I know quite well - and her husband - and very timely, too.

That vertigo thang comes and goes. I keep wondering if I really do have to make the same mistakes over and over again, and if I can in fact grow up as much as I need to.
colinmurtagh From: colinmurtagh Date: April 16th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
working off my notice, moving 250 miles north, to a new job after 18 years with the same company. Leaving all my friends behind, to go to a town I don't know. Going to a job I've not done before. I reckon you could say I'm at a crossroads
1ngi From: 1ngi Date: April 16th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congrats! A bit scared is a good thing. It means you are about to stretch yourself. The important thing is to put in a safety net so that you don't get sprained. (sorry mixed metaphors). On day three - when you get a quiet moment, take yourself off for a coffee and write down the stuff you want to achieve - your informal objectives so to speak. (Your freshness is the most valuable thing you have right now and it won't last forever - capitalise on it and be proud to point out emperors nakedness and suchlike. In a nice way of course. Can't imagine you doing it otherwise). In that little lot should be some training on the stuff they said you you'd be able to learn. Make them spend their training budget on you. Keep the paper to hand and look at it often - it will keep you focused. Get yourself a mentor - someone you can really trust, who is older and who has met these kinds of challenges. Arrange to meet them at least once every two months. Breath. Deeply. You are going to be fine. Yeah you are gonna do the gliding swan/paddling furiously underneath for a bit, but it sounds like you've hooked up with the right people. You're gonna enjoy this one.

And it goes without saying that you can ignore everything I've said.

As for me, my face still smarts from the falling flat on it when I got made redundant. It smacked a big hole in the contact thing and I am only just managing a little trickle of interest both socially and work-wise. Gonna take a long time to get known in Cambridge. Thank god for Oxfam and the projects that they are chucking me. I sailed over here thinking nothing could touch me. I'm a bit wiser now. Work wise I have no idea where I will be in 12 months time, all I can do is keep casting bread upon the water and see what floats back. Seat of the pants time. It would be very very easy to go back into the security of full time employment, somehow I have to keep faith. Some days there is no faith, I go through the motions - making a significant gesture to going forwards. I've not yet reached the shore of positive thinking.

I once managed to think and act positively for 5 whole weeks - the last time I set up on my own - at the end of the five weeks, I was suddenly in a heap, faith had not been returned. I hit a massive downer. The only thing that rescued me was getting 3 offers all at once. Right now, I have to believe that it was the fruit of all the positive thinking and action.
rmc28 From: rmc28 Date: April 17th, 2007 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Um, I'm a bit worried this is going to come across as smug, but you have a pageful of comments of people who are also all angsty, and I thought it'd be good to have something non-angsty.

I'm happy. I have a lot of work: in my job and at home with my baby, but it's fulfilling work and I like it that way. I'm discovering how much work it is to keep my marriage from descending into purely administrative conversations when there's so little time each weekday to talk, but at least we're both putting the work in. I'm frequently tired, and I'm not getting everything done that I want to (but when has that ever been different?), but we're all alive, healthy and paying the bills. I don't see any crossroads ahead, we're on a good road and we're happy there for the foreseeable future.
julietk From: julietk Date: April 17th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Coming up to decisions about What Happens Next re professional psychology training. Although I've started thinking about this very early partly so that my brain has time to do background processing & settle things down without too much MUST DO THIS RIGHT NOW pressure.

I think I know what I'm doing next; although actually *doing* it is difficult (getting appropriate job, getting training place, all v competitive).

Everything else keeps being the way it always is, viz: there are *so many* things that I could do with my time, and people to talk to, and places to visit, and and and... And I keep managing it in the same way: try to fit in as much as possible, whilst also a) not wearing myself out rushing around & b) accepting that it ain't all going to happen. I'm getting steadily better at creating the balance, though, so that's progress. And I realised, recently: the thing in the back of my head that says "one day there will be TIME"? Not True. Because even if there *was* time, there's still so many more things that are interesting, and I'd just start shoehorning more of them in.

But I'm happy with that :-) Especially since the sudden realisation that this level of Busy *is* the way I choose to live, and that's OK. I like it that way. (That seems, written down, to be blindingly obvious, & in a sense I've known it for a lot longer than that. Maybe it's more to do with acceptance, or with the increased ability to get the balance right and be *happy* shoehorning in as much as possible.)

I think Martin's "zooming out" is kind of right; except that it's not so much zooming out and losing myself, as the proliferation of things stretching ahead. The Garden of Forked Paths, maybe?
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