Monday, October 15, 2007

Time to say Thank You

There are days where looking forward terrifies me. I was in bed this morning and wondering how happy I would be with my life in ten years time. Will I feel I have achieved something or simply stagnated? Am I just going through the typical mid-twenties, existentialist blues.

Various things have brought this to a head of the last few weeks. As some of you may know, my mother has a growth which has now been removed with a complete hysterectomy. Quite an operation but, thankfully, all the tests have now come back clear and all we have to do is help her on the way to recovery. As my Father has pointed out, this sort of event really does make you re-assess what is important and what you want from life.

Mother told us that she was going into hospital whilst on holiday in Alsace. Despite this we had a very good few days together. On one day we visited Dachau near Munich. This was the first political internment camp and formed the basis for later camps at Auschwitz. Some 200 000 were interred there and when the camp was liberated there were some 32 000 there. In total, the number of people who died there is relatively small: ‘only’ 25 000 at the camp and a further 10 000 in near by ‘sub camps’. The scale, though, is still hard to imagine and the number of people lost hard to contemplate. It makes you realise how lucky we are to be able to disagree politically and to live in a country and era where you are (relatively) free to express your religion, sexuality and, indeed, your individuality. Knowing that mother had this ‘thing’ inside her at that moment seemed to make me realise how lucky we are to live now. By that, I was once again struck by the need to live for today though not forgetting what comes tomorrow.

Since my return, work has seemed to dominate life though I am trying to get some sort of balance. The stories I have heard from the students about conditions in their own countries and what they are trying to achieve there is a little awe-inspiring. There is the student that is trying to set up Special Education Needs training across her country or the student that wants to campaign against Human Rights Abuses in China. All very laud-worthy stuff. I want to have such an impact on my world and country.

Another thing that has been making me question life is a ‘friend’. He’s just got a better-paid job than me, moved in with his boyfriend and seems to be getting along great guns. I seem to be stuck and I feel sad … jealousy is a great thing. And whilst I know the green-eyed monster is at work, it does not help you feel any the less dreadful or worthless.

I have been trying to start buying a house which is all meant to be rather exciting. I’m finding it tough to find anything I could afford despite the utter generosity of my parents. Indeed, the other day I had an evening looking at social housing at Wandsworth Council. It was disheartening to learn that I did not earn enough to qualify for the shared equity scheme. Not exactly helping the needy!! There are possibilities open to me … other schemes, saving hard and looking hard for a job that is better paid.

I was driving home from the housing event listening to Elgar’s Enigma variations and, specifically, Nimrod. As is widely written, this piece should be seen as two people discussing earnestly rather than some patriotic work. I sat there listening to the arguments and realised that despite the issues in my life and the horrors of the world around me, there is an awful lot to be grateful for. An income, a job I mostly enjoy, some good friends, people I care about deeply and, above all, my family. Simply knowing ‘worshipful one’ is ok makes me smile and the problems ease that little bit.

With love and blessings to you and those you care about,