I seek to be seen as I’m growing older, and I now realise that there are separate yet connecting thoughts here. I’m always growing and getting older, and I have allowed my Self to become invisible. For more than five years I have been ‘becoming old’. The aches, pains and grumpiness are all symptoms of frustration at the increasing inefficiency of my Self. In 2004, by agreeing with this view, I went back to one of my easy occupations: driving a taxi. It was not too lucrative, but the work load was bearable – if you didn’t mind 50-60 hours of unpredictable income generation each week – and the scenery was quite attractive, at least on Australia’s Gold Coast. So what has changed and what must change?
I’m endeavouring to re-enter the world. For the past year, my wife wanted to return to her home town of Christchurch to be with family and to regain her ‘Kiwiness’. Like all self-identifications, this is a feeling – mere observation just leads to confusion and incorrect conclusions for the beholder. Yes, I am now an admirer of New Zealand. After our arrival in February 2011, just after the worst of many earthquakes, we went on a whirlwind camping ‘ticky-tour’ of the South Island. We moved into a new home and began job-searching. My wife is now settling into her new job, managing administration for a building company (a true busy-ness in this earthquake-ravaged city). I have the luxury/anguish of unemployed inaction and penury. I have to try to balance the obligations of home duties with the imaginative exploration of new possibilities and the necessary striving to combat evidence of myself as being ‘unemployable.’ Despite many applications, I have not been asked to attend one interview.
The world that seems to reject me also contains much that fascinates me. I live in a macro/micro consciousness of geo-political chaos (Arab Spring, tsunamis, earthquakes) and personal challenge (indulgence in self-pity) to make and find meaning. Night time listening to the BBC World Service leaves me anxious over the lack of debate and reasoned argument on major issues. Internally, I have this constant battle over personal nutrition and fitness. I do notice that I must do something creative – whether writing or video editing – each day, or I will overeat. Not a desirable outcome on my minimal food budget. However, there are many positive things to fill my day.
I apply for whatever jobs appear to offer possibilities of income, no matter how small. I am a social media practitioner: I post on Facebook, I Tweet, I embellish my LinkedIn profile. I extend my general knowledge with quizzes and internet surfing. I make the bed (not previously something that enthralled me, now I find it comforting). I tidy and wash and sometimes clean. I read in the afternoon sun, whilst the cat curls up beside me and enjoy that. I work on turning twenty hours of film footage into an amusing summary of our 2004 holiday in Vietnam. I get more and more immersed in the technicalities and challenges of Civilization V. I take walks when I can overcome my laziness – I have to keep reminding myself that walking is the greatest source of sanity and inspiration.
At least I know how to proceed for the next twenty years or so. Money would be nice.