Friday, March 06, 2009

Deja vu 

I guess I should just do it. Start; put pen to paper; write again. No matter, for the moment, that there seems little to say. After all, no-one has to read it.

Why? Because expression and identity go hand in hand. Without expression, identity fades; without a voice, the self becomes mute. I can feel it happening.

A few years ago I made a deliberate decision to put more effort into my work. Or to be more accurate, into my employer’s work, since I’ve never considered it to be mine. For a couple of years prior to that, I had had a job whose demands I could satisfy easily in little more than half the nominal working hours. That was when I began blogging, and much of that activity took place – ahem – in ‘working’ hours.

Then a few things changed. An office move to a totally open plan environment meant that blogging at work became a non-starter. In any case, the time available evaporated too as result of a change in role.

I felt I had to decide where my identity lay. Ever since I started blogging, I felt a conflict between my work persona and an ‘other me’ I was only just getting to know; I wrote about that several times in those early days, in fact the inner conflict was so intense at times that I went to counselling to talk it through, thinking I could resolve things in half a dozen sessions - and was still there 18 months later, only quitting when I finally understood that whatever help counselling was giving me wasn’t enough; there was still something I didn’t have access to within myself, and without that nothing was really going to change.

For a while, I had real hopes of developing something – although I could never identify exactly what – out of the creativity, the self expression, the companionship that was blogging. But in the end it didn’t seem to be going anywhere in particular, and as with so many things that I do, I never really had faith in myself.

So it was that three years ago, after dreaming vaguely for a while of radical life changes, it seemed to me that the reality of my position was that I’d be in my current job, and most likely in my current suburban-like location, for the rest of my working life – which probably meant until I was 65, since some poor pension choices mean I’m unlikely to be able to afford to retire any earlier – so I’d better make the most of it. Try and get some satisfaction, some self-esteem out of the hours I’d be spending here.

I was going to say “But it’s not working”, but that would be too simplistic an assessment. Some of the consequences are good, some aren’t. I seem to be reasonably well respected at work, but the ‘I’ in that last phrase feels like a role that another ‘I’ is playing. Playing so well that the one has almost become the other, and the ‘I’ of those early blogging days is little more than a memory.

So unless I do something to change it, here’s how the future maps out: I mutate gradually from a middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income mediocre nine-to-five wage-slave to a tired old cynic, and one day wake up to find myself in an old age filled with might-have-beens. Or maybe I don’t wake up; maybe the transformation will be complete. Hardly an attractive prospect, either way.

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