Life is all about change.
I am not a big fan of change, as a rule. I used to like to think I could handle all sorts of variance – after University, I was ready to throw my hat into the ring for working as an aid and development worker – my name was down with Australian Volunteers International; I went to all the talks by passionate people about causes deserving of passion that I could. That was until the fifteen hour bus ride in Nepal, back in 1999, with the only heat in the vehicle from other people’s goats, made me realise this about myself: I am not hard core. At least, not when it comes to being an aid and development worker.
Since then, almost all my friends from that era – good friends, wonderful people – have followed the path I met them on and in some instances, coaxed them on to, before doing a polite runner from it myself. They are workers of the world. They uproot and move to yet another part of this fine world of ours, every couple of years or more often. And they thrive on it. They get a certain glint in their eye, as if it were a mirror catching a reflection from the future of the adventures to come.
And I, on the other hand, am growing more and more like my father every day.
He was a man with a great deal of time, respect and patience with his favourite recliner. When I was growing up, I used to wish him more active. Out of the chair, I would implore silently. Let’s do something!
Now, on the brink of certainty of uncertainty for the foreseeable future, I can see why he found it so hard to move. He was soldered on. The pain would have been excruciating.
I know this, because I am feeling it right now.
We are not moving overseas. We are not chucking in our mortgage and becoming sprites of the spiritual trail.
But, we are starting a new business. And we just discovered that the nice little safety margin we had put aside for this daring activity is gone – poof! – an administrative bank oversight which swallowed up our savings, put them against the mortgage, then reissued the mortgage for the lower amount. Which is great, in the long-run – we have paid off a chunk of the mortgage. But in the short-term, it means all sorts of belt tightening, deep breaths and the occasional bout of tai chi in my study, just to remind myself that, even though we have no buffer
there is a good chance, though no certainty, that it is all going to be OK.
No buffer (no buffer!).
Once we did ever get Dad off his favourite chair, (“Grr. OK, all right. Gee. Never get to have a little rest around here.”) he generally sparked up. First, he would make a nuisance of himself, demonstrating just how out of his chair he was (“What are you doing! Why isn’t that chair over there? What have you done with the electricity bill?”). But then we would go out – to the shops, or to see a family friend – and he would spark up. Enjoy himself. The red welts from where the chair had been didn’t bother him any more. He stopped looking behind him, as if wondering where it had gone. Instead, he looked around, at other people; at the sky, the grass. Forward.
So that’s the direction I have to point my head now. Upwards so the sky catches me if I fall; and forwards, so that I can’t see my couch, awaiting my return.