29 Jan 2013
And so it begins. For reasons fairly obscure even to myself I have recently made the following decisions. I have quit my job as a teacher in a rural Secondary school. I have left my beautiful partner of 7 and a half years, Laura, together with a gorgeous leafy 3 bed house in Brighton that I have renovated from the ground up. I have decided to stop writing the films scripts that have obsessed me for a decade and I have bought an open-ended ticket to Bangkok. I have no intentions of coming back. This might appear rather rash, perhaps hinting on insanity depending on your view, but whatever it is, it is not sensible. No, not sensible at all. Except, after almost desperately trying to settle into that life for the last 3 years I finally had to concede that I simply couldn’t any longer. There was a calling too strong that kept waking me up in the small hours and drove me to stamp in circles on the pavements. Try as I might to rationalise it away I simply couldn’t. I suspect this is because it was a feeling, an instinct almost, and you can’t think your way out of feelings. It simply doesn’t work. The world seemed too large, too unknown, and the the world was calling. I am 34 years old.
I am not unaware of the fact that this fits snugly into the bracket of early mid-life crisis. Man with commitment phobia freaks out and shakes his life upside down. I am also not unaware that this could be seen as indulgent, very likely selfish, and certainly individualistic. But I make no apology for that. In fact I think it is more selfish to enter into a contract for a life your heart will not concede too. Selfish for the embittered man it threatens to make you and the resentment that may lurk like a black hole towards those in your orbit. ‘You should just get yourself by the collar and give yourself a damn good shake’ I have heard offered, and ‘you can’t run away from growing up forever you know. It’ll be easier once you’ve made the leap.’ Or ‘no one ever feels ready for these next steps and it is the doing of them that makes you ready.’ But you see I don’t believe that. I believe that all you have is your inner drives, your own quiet voice, and without listening to that, well then you lose yourself amongst the throng of society.
I have always been a believer in the aphorism ‘you regret the things you don’t do’. And if you will forgive me a second aphorism the idea that ‘you have to let go what you think should happen, what you try and dictate your life to become, and trust that if you follow your path then it will rise to meet you.’ Or some other such pre-wrapped self-help trinkets. Except I have found that there is a world of difference between liking the shine of these sayings and actually wearing them. Hence you have the ‘laissez-faire hippy’ who’s so wracked with food allergies they have to ring in advance to insist you use corn pasta. Or the ‘marxist-slogan, system-hating hippy’ who’s finally managed to borrow the money for a deposit from Mummy and Daddy. Or the yoga-teaching hippy who needs to plan an hour by hour activity agenda for her Summer retreat in January. Not that I want to be down on hippies at all, I just don’t believe that they believe what they say very often. Perhaps this is because I have not hitherto believed it myself. In fact almost everything I’ve ‘achieved’ was inscribed in stone on the tablet of my life a long time ago. Systematic steps, slow dedication, refusal to veer off the course set at the start, regardless of prevailing weather conditions. Eventually I have come to a place where I finally have everything I have ever wanted. Only to find that I don’t want it anymore. Shit.
And so I have been forced to concede, very painfully, that it is time to take action. To actually live by the maxims of trust and surrender I have long professed to believe in. And to sail out into the wide seas of the world (apologies for this extended maritime metaphor). I do not say this with a smug glint of satisfaction at the friends I have left behind in their high-functioning lives. I try not to profess what is right for anyone (try). In fact, the simple truth is – I am terrified. But what the hell. YOLO, as even my students say with lashings of irony. Double shit. I am not sure what I am expecting to find, or indeed if I will find anything at all. But at least it is a sword of my own making with which I will have bludgeoned out my own guts.