Sunday, 12 September 2010
My Big Fat Mid-Life Crisis - and what I'm going to do about it
I need to find the party bags.
Then it dawned on me, rather sheepishly, that I really should pull myself up by the bootstraps and get my life out of cruise control and into a higher gear (okay, so that’s a tortuous metaphor, but you get my drift). I’m not quite ready to put on my house-coat and let my roots grow out. I’m not quite ready to drop the aspirations and settle for coming second in the jam competition.
I’ve written over twenty self-help books, for pity’s sake – so how come I’m not helping myself? Because I’m all too good at dishing out the advice; all too crap at taking it. Do as I say, not do as I do. *whistles quietly and has the grace to look abashed*.
So, from now on, I’m going to take my own advice. I’m going to do all the stuff that I’m always telling everyone else to do. And I’ve made a start.
‘Clear your clutter’ is one of those irritating phrases I trot out with monotonous regularity. But really I live in a tip. So today I’ve cleared out several bags of stuff (clothes James has grown out of; books I really didn’t enjoy remotely; bits of flotsam and jetsam that can go to the charity shop and clutter up their shelves instead of mine). I’ve shifted my office round (again) and this time put myself in the ‘power position’ (cater-corner to the door). Why didn’t I do it before? Why didn’t I do it three years ago, come to think of it? No idea. Maybe I’ve been scuppering myself.
Anyhow, it’s done and by heck it feels better.
I think that’s probably enough for today. Baby steps.
What I’ve been reading this week:
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (Vintage): how can I describe how much I loved this book? It’s been a large part of my wake-up call actually. It is a fairy story for people who hate fairy stories; for those who don’t quite understand that they explore the deepest parts of our psyche. I almost don’t like to use the phrase actually as I just know it will put many people off. Think instead of Alice Hoffman maybe, of Joanne Harris but way way deeper and more thought-provoking.
What would you do if you lived in your heaven? A perfect, safe haven? Would you stay? Should you stay? Should you keep others there with you? Or should you, after a period of healing, come back and engage with the rough, tough world? Isn’t it funny how synchronicity works? How we find the books we need often at exactly the right time? This one really gave me a nudge up the backside.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: this dark fable of life in the flipside of London gave me major déjà vu – maybe because it has huge similarities with China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun – but I much prefer Gaiman’s take. Interestingly, it offers a similar message to Lanagan’s – should you settle for a life half-lived? Or should you take risks; live a little recklessly; push the boundaries? Hmm, my book choices are not pulling their punches, are they?
The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln): beautifully illustrated and rather poetic book for children. Again, a book that touches on the myth of who we are – the split between our “civilised” and instinctual natures (and how the two should ideally be in balance). I rather loved it and James enjoyed me reading it to him (love that he still loves being read to on occasions) but I am not entirely convinced younger children would get the subtleties.
So. That was my book therapy this week. Do you always read the same type of book? Do you listen to your psyche when you browse the bookstores or slither around on Amazon? Sometimes the most surprising books can lead you to interesting places of the soul.... Do let me know any books which have made you shift your way of thinking; that have nudged you into different life choices.