They say a week is a long time in politics, but frankly that’s nothing compared to a year on shifting sands. To be honest it’s more than a year as it all depends on what I decide to use as the baseline. Do we pick the moment of departure from Contrary Towers? The moment we arrived in Split. When I left? When I returned home? When I moved? When I finished moving? Or even when I turned 49? Impossible. Each and every one of the above is steeped with meaning and more than a few tears.
But here I am, four weeks off when I turn *50, but 61 and a half weeks since we scampered in posh frocks to Sky Lounge to avoid packing and depart on the now legendary road-trip.
A rubbish name for a film. Though if would be great if Sandra Bullock would play me, I’m not sure about who should play the other contrary one. Suggestions needed.
They have been a traumatic 431 days. Admittedly there have been good days to counter the bad but I find myself somewhat adrift. Not in the literal sense as the boat I’m on seems to have the full use of both its rudder and engines. But rather in the honestly-everything-else-sense.
The first part of the year went reasonably okay and it looked like I was finally going to get various things resolved but now the sea is providing a perfect metaphor for how things are as we rock and lurch sickeningly over the disgruntled Adriatic. Circumstances changed which meant my funds and reserves all disappeared in a puff of being needed to be used elsewhere.
So much so that when I return from this current trip on Saturday there will be no more for a very long time. Unless things change.
The truly exasperating thing is that I have glimpses of where I would like to be. As I wrote in July I’ve found the one place I feel at peace and want to make my home. Unfortunately the depletion of funds and the retarded decision to leave the EU means that my hopes of living quite literally on an island are largely in tatters.
It’s been a year of upset too. A number of people have died, the most recent being my mother-in-law, all of which have left me feeling decidedly unsettled. Especially as in the case of two I was unable to see them for best part of five years. Not my decision but one that I pay for daily. Similarly I was unable to attend their funerals thus depriving me of an opportunity to say goodbye. It’s not something I wish to dwell on as I really don’t want to sit and cry in the coffee salon of the **Premuda.
Isolation is becoming a problem. Given that I usually live in London with its estimated 8.63million population it might come as some surprise to learn that I feel less alone on an island with a population of ***436. It’s taken me a while to put my finger on why this is and I’ve realised it’s in the little interactions. This morning I had brief exchanges with six different people as I crossed from Clare’s apartment to the Premuda. Six. That’s 1.3% of the population given the number above. Most days in London I am lucky to manage one or two people.
Yes one can go out and meet people - though that is somewhat limited now owing to lack of funds - but that’s not the same. It is the feeling, fleeting in my case, of being part of a community. Oh. And the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Old Contrary Towers wasn’t just about me and missy, it was about the neighbours we would occasionally natter with, something I’ve simply never had since moving. It matters and it takes away the feeling of near total isolation. Don’t get me wrong, my current flatmate is lovely but that’s not quite the same, he has to talk to me whereas others choose.
I’m probably not making much sense.
Ignoring the fact that it’s fairly unlikely I’m going to have a relationship anytime soon - which I’d probably run away from - the other big problem is work. Work has always been the one thing that could make me feel valued on some level. Trouble is recently it’s gone from being something that enriches my life to a harness that defines it. And I’m really not enjoying things. It’s not what I do per se, it’s how I feel about things. It doesn’t help that there are a number of prosaic issues that are gnawing away at this on a constant basis.
I guess it doesn’t particularly help by the fact that I also know that as a fifty year old woman in technology things are going to be even more difficult than when I was 45. Rest assured dear reader this has the positive effect of me not having a hissy fit and stropping off in to the sunset - which given my lack of a formal contract was always a possibility. I’ve only been there four and a half years, no need to be hasty about these things. The reality is I need to be paid to pay the bills. Unfortunately in the time I’ve been there my costs have risen to the point where it’s unsustainable. That and no longer having any reserves.
So what now?
I have no idea. I’ve lost a lot of sleep worrying about how achieve something approaching if not happiness then at least to lower the sadness and frustration. I feel I know what my ideal is but I also have no idea how I can achieve this without a massive change in circumstance.
And I’m scared that the next change in circumstance will make things worse.
For now I think my best choice is to quietly rebuild my sense of purpose as only I can fix this and I am keenly aware of the fact that fix this I must.
Watch this space.
* And I have no idea what I shall do as what I'd planned is no longer possible.
** Postira was conspicuous by her absence
*** According to Wikipedia