Friday, 16 May 2014

Home is where...?

I'm rekindling my love affair with the philosopher and writer Alain de Botton - he doesn't know about it and I'd forgotten how much I admired him until recently.  I've just read his book "How to Think More About Sex", which has made me laugh aloud and also think very deeply about past relationships and how I might approach things differenly in future ones.  In one of his TED talks, he exhortats us to ensure that our ideas are our own, to own our ideas, and this struck a chord with me.

He says; "it's bad enough not getting what you want, but it's even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and to find out at the end of the journey that it isn't in fact what you wanted all along".  When I came to Rum I was full of hope and trepidation, and joy - I'd landed my dream job and couldn't quite believe it was really happening.  Now the Trust has recruited a new Development Officer, and he talks about the job with such enthusiasm and positivity that I'm reminded of myself, back then.

Somewhere along the way it stopped being a dream job, and became kind of a chore.  I think it's important for me to work out what happened - was it the place, the people, my own unrealistic expectations?  If it was just down to the nature of the job I've been doing, then I need to find something different to do.

In the meantime, I've been pulling together content for the new Rum Guidebook which hasn't felt like work at all.  This is my goal for all my future jobs; things I'd do anyway for free, but for which payment is a nice bonus.  It's also made me fall in love with the island all over again.  I'm terrible at being idle, and spent a whole day procrastinating this week - only to realise that there's nothing actually that I needed to be doing / avoiding.  This sudden desire to be "busy" is sometimes an attempt to drown out something which is desperately trying to make itself into my consciousness, and I ought to be better at sitting quietly and hearing it out.  At the moment there is a low hum of anxiety which I think is generally about having no "proper" job and very little income, but which if I'm not careful will spin out to become an existential angst that I still haven't figured out what my ultimate purpose in life is.

It's an immense relief to step out of everything here on the island - all the politics, the things that go wrong, the sudden crises that we just don't have the resources to deal with.  Yet I'm acutely aware that by staying here I'm becoming part of the problem.  I occupy a three-bedroom house because it was the only one available when I came here; it's my home.  I've provided accommodation to 6 people in the nearly three years I've been here, but right now I'm enjoying having my own space and I'm reluctant to give it up.  Our bunkhouse is going to be finished soon, we'll need to recruit a manager for it, I'm not interested in the job and there are not enough houses for all the people who already live here, let alone the ones we want to attract.  Nothing is easy.


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