Really it is time I left this place. What am I actually doing apart from buying legitimate backup dvds, enjoying the sunshine (and the rain, and the sunshine, and the rain), and watching my potential life in New Zealand tick by? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. This is a monologue, after all.
The potential life bit is interesting. I feel like I have come far enough (although I am as close to home as I have been since the day I left) and been away long enough that I am ready to go live up some of that potential. As if reality is something best taken in small doses. But then I think that travelling probably is too. Too many months and it all just becomes same same but different. All in moderation. Blah blah blah. I sound like an elderly aunt.
And Natalie just got home the other day. The Significant Other from Russia. Not that she is from Russia. Far from it. Very far. As far as me. But I met her there, and if you were paying attention (and given the emails I got about it, many of you were), you know about it. So why hang out here alone when I could go and kickstart a new old life back home? No reason. So go. Cheaper to buy a return than a one-way. An insurance policy in case Asia calls me back within a couple of months. Odds on I don’t come back. Time for a new challenge, me thinks. The real world. Bring it on.
That reminds me of feminism really. Seems to me there have been three stages (and I am sure I am not the first to say it – I was surprised to read about simultaneous invention and evolution in Guns, Germs and Steel, but it makes so much sense once you are introduced to the idea). The first stage was the pre-feminist state, the motivating force behind it all. You know, man goes to work, wife sacrifices own ambitions for him or for some boilerplate of perfect suburban life that, unlike Snickers, fails to really satisfy. Men are happy. The managers. The second stage is reaction, ur-feminism, perhaps? Dump your man, you can work for yourself. Throw away your makeup, burn your bras, your skirts, your high-heels, your hair, your perfume, your razor. Buy flat shoes. Men are persecutors. The enemy looking to reestablish control over the rebellious population. Stage three is where things get tricky. Because this is when women realise that femininity is itself powerful. Women don’t need to be men. They are not men and should not try to be. The pendulum swing back, but smarter. Women can exercise control by being women. Men are unaware, defenceless lambs to be manipulated. And just pleased to have women back, sort of.
Of course, this goes into the category of ‘crazy crap theories that have little or no relationship to reality’. But hey, it fulfils my purposes. Which is to draw an analogy with real life. Stage one, live in normal domestic happiness. Get an education to make yourself unhappy. Buy things that help to dull the pain. Buy more things. Get a job to help make time payments. Stage two, abandon all domestic trappings. Sell house, car, suits, furniture, and hair. Pack backpack with minimal equipment and set off to Asia (or whatever other part of the world seems most likely to harbour the opposite of domestic bliss). Travel for an extensive period. But eventually find yourself craving the company of others and food that you understand, and beer that is cool and refreshing. And realise one day that you spend most of your time kicking around in backpacker haunts across the planet. Enter stage three, return homeward, and reach a new accommodation with assets. Buy things, but don’t be owned by them. Work, but don’t choose it as your life. Get a car, but don’t clean it every day, and a house, but don’t worry about the mortgage so much. Think less about liquidity and more about value. Realise that things are not so much a bind as an opportunity.
My point is that it is time to find a more happy medium between travelling and working and staying in one place (I refuse to use the word ‘settle’ because that sounds like ‘sacrifice’). The next mission impossible? Hey, sometimes I like difficult.