‘Wherever you go, there you are.’ Its one of those lines isn’t it? You have to read it over a few times, let the words roll around your tongue and then you realise yes, yes! Thats it!
Ive been running for as long as I can remember, the years between finishing school and now have passed by without much thought. I stood at my twenty year high school reunion last week – a bunch of faces and names that clicked as soon as I saw them, I really like this pic a friend took of me socialising on the night. The stories we carried back then would be different to the new ones we have now. The familiar faces, with a few extra laugh lines, some free flowing conversation, some stilted. Like standing around outside a classroom, sans uniform. There is comfort in sameness. I spend a lot of time in my head, which hasn’t done wonders for the art of chitchat over the years. Im used to talking about dark matters, its the circles I move in. When the chatter lulled early on the night I asked if anyone had passed away over the years, as soon as it fell out of my mouth I wondered just what a fruitloop I’d become. My oldest friend laughed, shook her head ‘of course you would ask that‘ she said. And I had to agree, there I was again.
Looking back on the years is a blur of spaces and places, of people coming in and out of my life, of laughing, tears, gin, champagne, food, lots of food. Life basically. All of the experiences have been characterised by a sense of waiting, ‘only four more years and Ill be done‘ I remember saying on the first day of uni, the ‘when you get your visa we’ll come home‘ phase of my pitiful love life took up at least 5 years, ‘when I finish this job‘ factored heavily for about a decade while I meandered from position to position trying to live my life alongside it but failing miserably…these days the thoughts are bookended by ideas of finishing my PhD, waiting for my youngest to start school, thinking of high schools for my daughter, looking at my step-girls and wondering when the hell they got taller than me.
It will never be done.
There will never be a moment when it all fits into place, where the past (that incredulously no matter how hard I try keeps bloody creeping up on me and tapping me on the shoulder when I collapse into bed most nights), where all the emails will be responded to, where the chapters will make perfect sense, where my ideas of how I am now and who I want to be in the future will blend together in perfect harmony, where the face I see looking back at me will match the age I still think I am in my head, where the number on the scale will ever be enough, where it will all be where it needs to be.
But Im OK with that.
I’m, we, are all an evolutionary process in the making. The jobs we take on, the ridiculous institutions we become part of sell us this idea that it there is potential to complete the things we set out to do, but the reality is every time we get nearer completion another goal crops up. This year has been an interesting one for me – as it has been for many of us I assume. Im acutely aware that in all the media I consume there is a constant focus on the fear of the world around us – on the bad stuff happening but the older (and possibly, hopefully wiser) I get the more I notice that if I borrowed a piece of chalk from my kids and bent down and drew a circle all the way around me, that the space inside the circle is all that I can be responsible for at any given time. That the growth we long for is confined to who we are, that we cannot control the actions of others, change the ways things have always been done, that wherever we go, we will be taking ourselves along for the ride.
And how freeing is that.
Ever stopped running?