Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Making the right decision

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
    Anatole France

I ran across this quote today and it seemed to be remarkably apposite. Since I finished work at the end of February, taking the redundancy money and walking out of the college for ever, I have been gradually dismantling the whole apparatus of my life.
I have given away most of the contents of my home, barring a few things that I couldn't bear to part with that have gone into storage. Only today I have put my house on the market. Sometime this afternoon a charity shop is coming to take most of my furniture.
And of course the changes are about to become even more profound. I have my regular summer job in Harrow to look forward to but, unlike every other year , this time I won't be returning. Barely a week later I shall be on an aeroplane on my way to China where I have accepted a teaching post. It's a strange feeling.

Of course I have travelled in the past - travelled for long periods, when each new day was in a new place and  home was a tent or a hotel room. This is different though because all of those travels had left behind me somewhere that had been home and would, sooner or later, be home again. This time that won't be true. When I return from China I will have no home to return to, no comfortable, familiar surroundings, no base. Instead I shall have to change everything again, have to retrieve the tiny portion of my life from storage and create a whole new life around it.

Before that I have create a new life as a teacher in a country where I will be in  a position similar to many of the students I have taught in the last ten years. Living in a country where I don't understand the customs, where I am effectively both illiterate and innumerate, where the most mundane aspects of daily life take on a new difficulty. It's an exciting and a rather frightening prospect.

At the moment I have a lot of time on my hands and perhaps that is adding to the almost overwhelming melancholy I feel. I was six years old when we moved into this house, almost half a century ago. Over the years its been decorated and redecorated; we have had half a dozen changes of furniture. The windows and doors have been replaced. The layout of the garden has changed as often as my father's whims about how it should look. None of that matters. The house - the home - has been part of, more or less, my whole life. Even when I was at University for three years this was still here, an ever-present refuge looming in the background.

And soon it won't be.

When I trained to teach, my original plan was to teach in China but plans change and somehow I never made it out of England. Well what can change, can change back and my plans have changed back. As the quote above implies though it does feel a bit like dieing. The whole life that has led me to where I am now will be gone and something new will have taken its place. I feel less as if I am leaving part of me behind and more as if I am surgically removing it and discarding it in a container marked "Incinerate: Human Waste".

A week or so ago, a friend asked me if I though he had made the right decision about something - who and what don't matter. My reply was that there are no wrong decisions; that whatever decision you make is always the right one. The important things are to make some kind of decision and to accept that everything you do has consequences. You can never know what the consequences of the decision you didn't take might have been and it doesn't matter.

So now my decision is to discard one life and start another. And that's the right decision, melancholy feelings or no.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A deep bow in respect of your entry.