Horoscope for the week ending tomorrow, 30 April 2010

Tomorrow is going to be the best day of the week.  And if this was a good week or you, that could be really something.

It’s not just going to be fantastic because it’s Friday (that may be part of it, but it is not the key factor).  The real reason it’s going to be so wonderful?  Is it the fabric of the day itself – the threads too snug to let in a draft of wrong headedness or dispirited feelings?  Did the day weaver make this one particularly lovingly, thinking of her fella and the time they will spend together at the end of her shift, when the night crew take over, those mysterious ones with their heavy velvets and whispering moonshine?  Or perhaps it’s something a little more prosaic and yet equally unknowable – the weather makers shook a little more sunlight on to the beam belt, cos they were laughing too hard at that one about the rain wranglers and the too-wilful lightning lasso.

Or maybe it’s because you read this blog post, and it made you chuckle and only wince a little at the forced metaphors, and so you walked out the door, straight into a

smile waiting for you in the air, right where

your face goes when it’s raised high enough to

feel the sun on your cheeks cos you

just read something about sun sprinkled like pepper

and even though that doesn’t really happen, still it got into your

sub-conscious and made you

look.

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’m bursting out wishes for a lovely one, for you.

Through a glass, brightly

What a month.  And not just for me, but for a variety of friends of mine, near and far.  It’s been a month of …what do I call it?  Realisations?  Taking a good look at ourselves?  The hard, cold light of day?

This month has been about being very grown up for me and several of my loved ones.  Maybe it was something about moon cycles, or tides, or some such.  Maybe it’s because we are all, well, technically, grown-ups, and just now are learning what that means.

An example.  I had to realise that I just was not cut out for freelance consulting, not without some sort of back-up plan.  I haven’t been so stressed out for at least six months (since we bought a house and got married in the space of three months.  Why did I not think that was going to be stressful?!)  Basically, the realisation involved me accepting that I was just not the ideal version of myself that I had hoped: the version that is OK with uncertainty, who can rationally and emotionally cope with risk, the one who sleeps well at night, not knowing how we were going to pay the mortgage next month, but simply trusting it would all work out.

It’s the sin of my generation to not go with the flow.

I do not go with the flow.

Figuring this out involved taking a good, clear eyed look at myself, accepting my weaknesses, and working with them rather than against them.  Accepting I am not the version of myself I would like to be, but am instead a cut-down, bleary eyed, farting version.  A version with limits; a version without the built-in, raft-like quality of so many pretender-hippies of my generation.  I just can’t be as easygoing as Jesus and his sparrows, or Buddha and his alms.  I might reach enlightenment…but until then, it’s like this: I’m human.

And that’s OK.  I can keep trying to be the hero of my own life; just not the superhero.

My husband also had to take some tough love from his mentor this month, about managing his creative work and balancing it with paid work.  And my best friend had to accept that the ideal version of herself, the version who is so blithely relaxed about moving in with her boyfriend and the tensions at work at the moment that she might as well quit smoking too, just does not exist.  Another good friend had to accept his limits as a boyfriend – the type of limits which are involved in being a breathing human being and not a punching bag.

Hard realisations.  Hard to accept that one is not the person one believed in, cherished and nourished in the overly commodious apartment in one’s head for fantasies.  There is a difference between dream and fantasy; between hope and manic ambition.

I have had to accept that I am not the girl I thought I was. But I may just be the kind of woman I would like to be friends with.

The 41st day of the rest of my life

I have been a little bit absent from the blogosphere, and that is because I have been rather busy, gnawing my leg off in anxiety, since I left my job.

I like leaving jobs.  I do it regularly.  But I had been I this job for three years, and they were three good years.  I liked the work. I liked [most] of the people.  What happened?

I was reading Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson.  This woman has written three books in her life.  I don’t know much about the first, but Gilead won the Pulitzer or the National Book Prize or something fabulous, and its sequel Home won the Orange Prize, and I do like reading Orange Prize winners.  Not a bad track record, hey?

Anyhow, so I was reading this beautiful, calm book on the train from work.  And I was beautifully calm as a result.  And in that beautiful calm, I knew.  It was time.  I was tired of the commute, and I was tired of working in an office, to office hours.  I had been denying that for a while, but reading Robinson’s meditative graces, following the ruminating paces of an old man writing a letter to his son because the old man is dying; well, let’s call it perspective.

I resigned the next day.  When I told my manager, he smiled and asked, “For real this time?”  which indicates where my head had been for the last few months.  I said, yes, for real this time.  I meant it.

And so, on 26 Feb I started not-working.  Or to be more precise: freaking out to the tune of the ocean crashing 1 km away from my mortgage.

The plan was to take a month or so, finish my book, then start looking for some consulting work.  What happened was, I became immediately obsessed with finding work.  I applied for something like four different contracts in the space of ten days whilst still working for my previous employer in transition mode.  I was staying up late, let’s put it that way.

Then a good friend of mine visited from Canberra.  She smiled politely when I told her I had changed my plans; that getting consulting had become more important than finishing the book.   I muttered about a “pipeline,” and she didn’t say anything.  The next morning, when my husband had headed out to buy breakfast for us, she took me in hand.  She said, and I pretty much quote, “Is your credit card maxed out?” [No.] “Do you have money saved so you can do the writing?” [Yes.] “You have a university education, a massive amount of experience and a great reputation.  You’ll find work.  And your book is going to be a best seller if you finish it.  How much certainty do you need before you’ll be happy?  Do you need an investment property first, is that when you’ll be satisfied?”

Part of me thought, yes…but that part was wrong to have the floor, and I could see it.  By the time my husband came home, I had agreed with her to fulfil my current commitments, but to focus on the writing for a month and then get more consulting work.  Get the book finished.  Stop avoiding the real fear, which is that I’ll finish it and

NO ONE WILL LIKE IT.

Honestly, being a writer is sometimes like being five years old and in a new school; standing in the playground, with your new cowboy belt and gun, and suddenly having the sinking realisation that maybe here they don’t know about cowboys; and worse, maybe it’s actually a stupid game, and you’re actually an idiot, even though it was all the rage back where you cam from.  It’s a terrible shock when you first learn that what you always believed may not be universal.

Anyway.  So this is the 41st day of the rest of my life.  I’m giving it a determined go.  I am not shooting for any prizes like Marilynne Robinson.  It’s not that kind of book.  I just hope that I can get it finished and give the labour its due.  And remember that if someone shoots it down, they’re only using a toy gun, after all.