Often, it seems everyone else has so much life – to live, to give – whereas I lack that vital spark. Obviously, my body keeps to its own regular rhythm like the tick-tock of a wall or bedside clock and my heart beats, somewhat silently, but beating all the same like a slow winged creature, of the sort a natural world documentary deliberately puts in slow motion so that we, the viewers, appreciate the sweep and curve of its feathers. It looks so effortless, just like our own autonomic functions which only trip up when we fail to care for them properly or focus on them to such a degree that they jump out of sequence. Flutter and miss their timed spot.
slot when I could have done something, anything, I feel has gone. And
I say that personally, because friends that are older (and much
wiser) than me are still doing what I consider real living. Heading
out there and giving things a go. Holidaying alone or dating.
Participating in supposedly what life is all about, in all the life
there is on offer. Some get those kind of kicks through or from work.
Once I guess I did too, when the spirit hadn't left me or I felt this
was what you had to do to get on, but that now feels like another
lifetime. A different person did that.
although I'm not unhappy or discontent, those comparisons always
start. You think you'd reach an age where you'd be beyond that, and
mostly I have as I certainly care less about how I look and dress,
though I think a date would be mortified should I suddenly decide to
re-enter that playing field, yet still these feelings of inadequacy
creep in when you least expect them.
know I've let things slide and removed myself from scenes that no
longer held my interest to return to my core: that firm point of
being I'd denied or temporarily forgotten about, but now there's very
few pursuits I enjoy which require another. That suits me, in the
sense that I like my own, often quiet, company, and yet, frequently
I'm reminded of the disadvantages. By others, though not of course
with any intent, just in passing. What others do is fascinating;
sometimes there's common ground as mostly as a species we associate
with those that are similar, but then there's also those
dissimilarities which occur due to age, experience, taste or
differences in character. I like hearing of these exploits, thinking
I could never do that, be that bold, but it does leave me feeling, an
hour or two later, somewhat lacking.
doesn't it motivate or inspire? It can, but the sensation is so
fleeting that it's gone before it can be acted upon, largely because
dreaming up a plan and then putting it into action are two very
separate things. A plan can take months to materialise and by then I
will have lost that buoyant energy or nerve, so that what will likely
come to pass will rarely be the happy event I envisioned. Also, I
know deep-down, though I might be reluctant to admit it, I'm not that
person, even if I thought I was or fooled people that I was at one
feel more true, and yet my quietude keeps me somewhat contained,
either to my flat and my books or to brief exchanges in the street,
in shops, and in the library which can leave me feeling awkward if
the question is asked, as it always is: what have you been up to?
Whereby I fumbled around as if someone's suddenly turned out the
light or a bulb has blown, and try to switch the conversation back
around to the enquirer who obviously has much more to say. I'm sure
some mistake this as secrecy; the case, however, is usually that my
world is unchanged since I saw them last. I haven't been anywhere nor
do I have anything planned. Nothing exciting has happened. And if
anything untoward has I'm less likely to report it, unless our
friendship is in that zone where nothing needs to be withheld or
never, however, mention my inadequacies. Why I'm doing so here has
perplexed even me? But then this is just one-sided talking, as well
as, possibly, an attempt to understand why I analyse myself in the
way that I do (not that I ever get very far) and hold myself up
against everyone I come into contact with too! How can I be enough
for anyone else if I'm not enough for me out in that big, wide,
baffling, and over-exhilarating world?
Picture credit: Woman With a Fan, 1919, Amedeo Modigliani, stolen from Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris