I’ve been feeling guilty.
Sadly this is not a new phenomenon, I feel guilty about something all the time, as a rule.
If you had asked me a year or two ago what I felt most guilty about, my answer would have included things like: not Skyping my family enough; not responding emails fast enough; that I was spending too much time in my regular day job and not being creative enough. If only I could get my act together, everything would just be…perfect…
The guilts are strong in this one.
Because I can’t work in England until I pick up some paperwork, I’ve been a temporary housewife for a couple of months. It’s been problematic for several reasons, not least because I feel guilty for not contributing financially to my household for a few months more. What it’s been great for is getting me focused on the renovation work we need to do here. I say need, the truth is we already have a wonderful home and I am so unbelievably lucky to live here, but there are some cosmetic elements we want to change to make it more ‘us’. Cue several weeks of tradespeople traipsing through the corridors measuring and delivering upsetting quotes that have commas after the £ sign.
I’ve spent an unmentionable amount of time on eBay, searching various combinations of ‘Victorian front door’ or ‘reclaimed Georgian door’ or even ‘Victorian/Edwardian front door with glass’. For a task that seems so
boring straightforward, deciding to replace one’s front door means deciding to offer up weeks of your life to the Gods of Time Wasting, who’s powers seem to miraculously focus on fast-forwarding the clock to 16:30. Another day gone. Another attempt at vanquishing guilty feelings before I can sleep.
On the one hand, I find myself excited by the work and recognise it as part of a recent spell of nesting, which I think is symptomatic of my impending wife-dom. I want our home to be finished, because then it becomes our home, not just the one Mr Hello bought (he’s kinda great like that). I feel like it is valid to be excited about this.
On the other, more insidious hand I feel guilty about spending my life in this way. I’m focussed on my home at the moment, and by default that means I’m not focussed on becoming an amazing teacher or creative businessperson, or writer of great repute. I feel frustrated because I don’t feel like I am achieving at a pace I expect of myself, and then I feel more frustrated because I can’t cut myself some slack. My attendance at local events has dwindled, and I’m not sure who I am if I am not that person who is at every arts event. That’s the core of it. If I’m not a creative ‘face’ around Kent, then who am I? Am I just like the colleagues I used to turn my nose up at, who came to work and then went back to their own lives without engaging in myriad extra curricular exploits? Or does nothing change at all? Am I still Sam, just the Sam who’s priorities have changed?
Our lives change directions so suddenly it seems, so why is it so hard for our expectations to keep up?