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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The longing to return home

Having had five days off work, using up holidays before the end of the year, I really did not want to go back to work today. My mind had gone so peaceful and so still and so quiet, I did not want to leave that space and go back to constant background noise and distractions.

I have been thinking about why it is that I seem to have so many problems with jobs. It is as if, for as long as I can remember, each job that I have had rapidly wears thin and I just lose all interest. It is a novelty to begin with, but the rot soon sets in and I start to get resentful about the little things, until they escalate into something big. I resist moving from where I am by kidding myself that I am comfortable until eventually things get so bad that I am forced to leave in order to protect both my health and my sanity. If I still resist, the universe finds another way to oust me from that rut, either by getting me the sack, closing the store or branch that I work in, or making me redundant.

It occurred to me tonight that perhaps it is not the jobs themselves that are the problem, but rather, what they represent. Work to me is a symbol of being tied to the physical, material world, of being shackled and bound by others rules, unable to do your thing and be truly independent.

After my mother died at the end of 1999, I gave up work for a while in order to concentrate on myself. Three years later I found that I had qualified as a crystal therapist and to my surprise, started to write a book. I then developed a bad case of procrastination and fear, masquerading as writers block, and so returned to work part time. I worked initially as a temp for a company that serviced air conditioning units, and then later on for a major supermarket. After about a year of working there part time, my partner became ill and I changed my hours to full time. It was then that the problems began, and I eventually left that job in August 2005.

I then worked flat out to finish my book, doing a complete edit and rewrite in just under 5 months. The first edition was duly published in June 2006, just before I went off to Lundy for three weeks. In between promoting it and doing other forms of writing, I did occasional exam invigilating work and market research, until in November last year I got my current job.

On the surface it is everything that I need - the hours suit me, being able to work four days a week, I get free parking, thanks to an arrangement with one of the local pubs, and I get on for the most part with my colleagues, yet there is still this vague feeling of dissatisfaction, that I should be doing something different. Until I started to write my book, I did not know what that 'something different' was, but since I made this discovery, my life has taken on new purpose and new meaning. I told myself that the dissatisfaction was due to not being able to do what I really love, and yet when I do spend time at home and have the opportunity to write, I spend it doing other things instead - browsing on the Internet, going for walks and cups of tea, shopping etc.

Maybe it is not about not being able to write at all, but more to do with the fact that I do not want to work full stop, since it is a symbol for me of being tied to the physical, material world. I wish to spend time at home doing what I want and when I want, and not be tethered by company rules, time keeping and politics. What really lies behind the dissatisfaction is not any of these things, but the need to return home and the longing to transcend this physical existence and return to source, where none of these things matter and there are no rules, just life in all its glory.

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