Thursday 21 June 2012

Choices, choices...and slugs...and my inner Clive

God I hate choices.  It’s why it’s so much easier to say, simply, ‘I have no choice.’ Cos it devolves the responsibility of making what you hope will be the right choice, right?

But really, there is always a choice. Always. Bet you don’t believe me, huh? Well, let's take my example. Right now, I’m bitching about not having any money, about being stuck where I am.  And is that really true? Well, yes, it’s true I don’t have any money.  But I could have, if I really wanted. I just don’t choose to because I don’t want to work for scuzzballs (is that how you spell it?) anymore, churning out the same old crap day after day.  I could get my arse in gear and go out there and flog my books but, hey, I don’t wanna pimp my words to the world (and, anyhow, I wince when I read them now).  And, see, if I were really successful with my books, I’d have to write more.  I’d have to go and spout crap on television and radio.  I’d be expected to give talks and inflict my opinions on innocent people.  And… do I really wanna do any of that? Probably not.

So. What else could I do?  Well, actually that still leaves me with plenty of options – I’m pretty lucky. I could sell this house.  Move to Greece/Spain/Tanzania/Mitcham.  Buy a motor home like Jake Barton and tour the world.  Find a cave in the desert.  But, bottom line, I don’t.  My choice. Why?  I suppose because the responsible adult thing comes into play. One’s own choices impact on other people. Would James be happy to be tugged out of the school he loves?  Would Adrian be happy living in Greece?  Or Mitcham?  Nope.
How far do we have the right to inflict our own desires, wants, needs on other people?  Of course Byron Katie would say it’s not our business how other people react.  But it’s not that easy, eh?

Then again, often fear is involved.  Fear of leaving the comfort zone, even if it’s a discomfort zone.  
Take a guy Adrian knows.  He says his life sucks.  His wife is an alcoholic and he works pretty much night and day while his teenage son sits alone in his room playing Xbox.  The guy says there is nothing he can do, that his hands are tied. It’s cut and dried, he says. He can’t afford to pay two mortgages.  He can’t stop his wife drinking.  They’re trapped, in a hell of their own making.  But are they? 
'That is one huge house,' I said. 'They probably could do something.'
'Maybe he's worried that, if he leaves her, she'll kill herself,' said Adrian. 
'She's killing herself anyway,' I pointed out. 
It's not easy, is it?  I'm not saying it's easy.  
At which point, Byron Katie would unhelpfully add that our family and the people who piss us off are our greatest teachers.  She would also probably argue that, in this case, they’re both addicted, in different ways. At which point they and you would probably want to strangle Byron Katie, right? 

But she’s got a point, I feel. 
I do try to look at the people who piss me off the most and try to figure out what they’re reflecting back to me.  Like the guy who kept phoning yesterday. Jeez, he was one irritating tosser. He never got the point. He never shut the fuck up. He wouldn’t listen. He just kept on coming out with all this total utter drivel. He wouldn’t give up, even when he knew damn well he was on a losing wicket.  Oh Clive… Oh Jane.  Oh shit.  :-) (yeah, I know, the irony of this post, huh? It may not make the light of may not stay up long..I dunno. I guess that's gonna be my choice.)

And now you’re saying, yeah but. Yeah but…  You (me) have choices. I (you) have no choices. And I would say again that, in my not so humble opionion (I love that typo so I’m leaving it – peeling layers?), there is always a choice. Bar none. If you can’t change something (and, sure, there are times when it really is a stretch to makes changes), you can shift the way you think about it. 

You’re shaking your head? Saying mentally (or out loud) cut the New Age crap, Jane?  Well.  Maybe.  But let me give you the example of my friend John. John had MND and, by the end of his life, he couldn’t do ANYTHING on his own.  Nope, not even breathe.  If I’d been John, I suspect I’d have just lain there being breathed and generally loathing God, the universe, everything and spent my time visualizing flicking my fingers at the lot of them.  What did he do?  He started meditating. He figured it was ‘as good a time as any’ to learn.  Did it change anything?  Yeah, actually, it did. 

Anyhow. I watched a slug today. Quite beautiful really. Firstly it occurred to me how very much it looked like a seal.  Which made me think – seal…slug.  Aaah... uuugh. What’s the difference?  Eyes maybe.  We like being able to see eyes.  
It was coming down an old oak tree and its progress intrigued me so much I just stood mesmerized.  Slug meditation.  Slug as teacher?  My inner slug?  Yeah, well, I can be a slimeball, for sure.  But really... it did strike me... 

If you’re coming down a nigh-on vertical surface head-first, take it very very slowly. 


It's not just me, is it?  


Cait O'Connor said...

Never thought I would be shown the slug as an example of how to live but actually you are right. I do enjoy your words Jane. I don't know how to comment on this post but I think taking things slowly is always a good bet. I agree with you how writers have to do so much crap to sell their books etc and how you, as such an intelligent person, would be against that.

Rachel Selby said...

Why do your choices have to be so dramatic? Greece? Mitcham? A cave? There must be less drastic ways to bring in some more money? Why not sell the house and move into a smaller one nearby, or rent out part of your house. I am imagining you live in some rambling farmhouse type pile with land, but actually I dont know - you could be in a 3-bed semi with bed 3 being a box room. You are right there are always choices but the hard part is when none of them is the thing you really want. Then you just try to hang on as long as poss, hoping that a better option will arise. Oh, I think you are me.

Exmoorjane said...

@Cait - how lovely to see you! I'm not surprised you don't know how to comment...I wouldn't either.. :)

@MS - Mitcham is dramatic? Hmm. You could have a point. Nah, not a rambling pile - but it's big enough...four bed semi with two beds as offices. You're spot-on about the 'none of them being the thing you want' though...and the hanging on... :)

Rob-bear said...

"But really, there is always a choice. Always." Absolutely true. I left a good paying job to go back to school, when we had two young children and no income (to speak of). We survived. And did OK as a result of the added education.
I recognize that some people dismiss options without really considering them. That is part of the problem, I think.
And when you can't change something, you can change how you think about it, or what you are going to do inspire of it.
Brilliant post, Jane.

Ross Mountney said...

I agree Jane, there's always choice. Am in the same boat really - keep writing and informing people of their choice to home educate if school's not working for them - or get a job where you are actually paid for working! I found it quite enlightening when I read 'The Moneyless Man' by Mark Boyle and the choice he made to live without money for a year. I can't give up money - but reading it certainly helped me appreciate the little I have! x