Do you ever step out your front door and a soundtrack begins playing in your head, as though you’re in a film? I do it all the time. It happens sometimes when I slam the car door shut, the music starts, something’s beginning. Often I am actually hearing music through my earphones. I see a lot of my life as a film, like I’m an outside observer. It’s full of cliches; both my life perceived this way and the actual act of doing this. But whatever. Before I did that unit on scriptwriting I thought I’d be really good at it, but it was such a disaster. It was part of my Grad Dip in writing. I had this teacher whose experience seemed to revolve around having written Neighbours episodes and she was one of those people that I just clashed with. Not in an angry way, we just didn’t really get each other. I felt like everyone else in the course was cruising along and writing up all these great ideas and mine was just poo, awful story about nothing written like a kid, terrible. It was such a rude shock, that scriptwriting could be a total disaster. But that’s actually what writing was for me for a long time, a total disaster. I always had talent, and I’m good with languages and spelling and grammar, but I’ve always been very immature, a late developer.

Anyway, I digress. I actually wanted to write about the future, or the next steps. I am about to complete this MA and I really don’t know where it’s going to lead. Potentially nowhere, which is a bit freaky really. I think the reason that’s possible is because I’ve never done study with a view to getting work. I was explaining this to a Walmart lady the other day, when she badgered me about applying for a credit card and I explained that I’m not eligible for a credit card because not only am I not a permanent resident of Canada, I also don’t have an income. She asked what I was studying and I explained and she asked where that leads career-wise. When I told her I wasn’t sure and that I’d never done any of my study with a view to getting a job, she was shocked. It was like it had never occurred to her that people did this. When she realised it was about happiness, she calmed down a bit and seemed to understand where I was coming from. But when I walked away, I realised I truly didn’t know what the hell was going to come of this degree, and that was because it was never what I really wanted to do. And what I really wanted to do, writing, was not what I got into. Because I haven’t shown myself to be good enough at it to warrant doing an MA. Italian, yes, I’m good at it, and this degree has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding from a personal perspective, but I don’t want to do further study in Italian. I never wanted to do any study in Italian! Gosh that’s a hard thing to admit openly. But it’s true.

Regrets are a waste of time and I refuse to entertain them for even a moment. All I can do is look to the future, to where I want to be, and work towards that. It’s not Italian, and it’s not writing. I’d like to continue my editorial career in a freelance capacity, which will take discipline, and I think my study this past year has helped with building that. So that’s something. But as for my long term career, I’m not sure. Will it be teaching? I’m told I am good at that. I did a presentation a few weeks ago on King Lear and my fellow students all commented on the way I read the Shakespeare, how I engaged my audience. And I really enjoyed it. But teaching, that means I’m more like my mum than I’d like. That freaks me out. And teaching requires energy, giving of oneself. I don’t know if I have what it takes.

For now, I have less than a month left of classes before I finish this MA. So I’ll keep walking to my soundtrack, writing my snippets of stories, my to-do lists, my goals. One thing is certain: I will write a book one day soon.

A lesson in inner peace

When it comes to organisation, honesty and living a peaceful life, I don’t have a very good track record. In fact I don’t  have a very good family history either. My family on both sides were immigrants and this upheaval, coupled with a lot of emotional complexity and layers of issues never being addressed has made for a very tumultuous and messy life. Not that I’m blaming my genealogy or family for my inability to sort out my life, far from it, but I feel that has made it hard for me to know balance and learn how to be in a harmonious way.

Trying to find an image that just showed something beautiful, I found this one I took of a roof in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2008. I'd just discovered the sepia setting on my camera. Not much to do with the post but it's beautiful, don't you think?
Trying to find an image that just showed something beautiful, I found this one I took of a roof in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2008. I’d just discovered the sepia setting on my camera. Not much to do with the post but it’s beautiful, don’t you think?

I tend to be pretty neurotic, and I have a very lazy side. So if there’s a problem in my life – a big bill arrives that I can’t afford, I need to handle a delicate relationship situation, or I need to motivate myself to address something practical – I wimp out. I procrastinate. I don’t just stuff about for a while and then eventually do it. No, I leave it until it’s really hard to deal with, and then I end up being screwed over. So I leave the bill until I’ve been sent a final notice and a whole lot of interest has been piled on and my credit is ruined; I don’t confront the delicate situation and end up pissing everyone off even more because they think I don’t care because I never said anything; I leave the cleaning til the last minute so it’s impossible to do it in the time I have and end up feeling overwhelmed by it all and everyone sees just how much of a lazy grot I am. And in turn, I feel slack, tired, and like life is a hard slog.

You could say it all comes down to motivation and discipline, which is true, but there’s another layer beneath that: why don’t I have the ability to motivate and discipline myself? It’s hard to work that one out, but I think it’s my basic disposition coupled with influences growing up. I often lament the fact that I have no passions, nothing gets me going. But writing is a passion, right? Yeah, but when I’m in a slump, even the prospect of writing or reading isn’t enough to pull me out of it. Nothing fuels my passion. These days I know that’s actually a form of depression, that feeling of hopelessness and lack of any meaning in life. But I think I’m moving past that, especially since having my son and being forced into routines, being given no option for slacking off. And in turn, because I’m forced into action, I feel better and I want to do more.

On the weekend I was at my friend J’s house. I hadn’t seen it in over a year and was absolutely blown away at how much work they’ve done to it and how beautiful it is. J has put so much energy into making that space beautiful and exactly what she wants in every respect. Obviously there is always more to do in any house, but clearly this house has had every detail attended to, and because of this it is the most relaxing space I’ve been in. It is light, bright, comfortable, convenient, aesthetically pleasing and a genuine pleasure to be in. I guess it helps that J and I have similar taste, although I think I found it so lovely to be there simply because she’d taken care of every detail. I just wanted to freeze time and stay there in that perfectly comfortable space with good friends and amazing food forever.

I was so inspired, and being there made me realise for the first time just how much I’m longing for my own space. In 2005, when I bought my  house in Canberra, I finally did have a space with which do whatever I wanted but the depression didn’t let me do everything. I couldn’t see my way clear to making it amazing and a lot of time was wasted eating icecream and watching crap tv. I did things to improve the house, but they were mainly superficial and a little slap dash. Maybe it was a lack of maturity as well but there was a lot left undone in that house, and I’ll soon be paying for it and my general neglect of it since I rented it out nearly six years ago now. It’s another element of my life that has suffered as a result of my neurotic laziness and bouts of depression. Interestingly enough, when looking for a post to link as an example of my low moments, I read through this one and realised I’ve come so far since then and my life is no longer like that. Working at home a few hours most days helps, but somehow, something has really shifted.

This year, for the first time in my life, I feel as if things are really changing. There are a few factors affecting this, but getting out of debt is one of them, as is my new-found ability to motivate myself to actually do things instead of just think or talk about them. I’ve wanted to do this for many years but I think this time there are extrinsic motivators where there were previously none. My son, my family, my husband, my maturity, my increasingly positive outlook, these are all things that are moving me towards a new phase of life. And what better age than 35, which is what I’ll be this year in October. I love it when things sync with the seven year cycle!