Friday, 19 October 2007

The Philosophy of Malcontentment

Apparently, I am 'not satisfied with anything I have'. This accusation was levelled at me yesterday morning, and not for the first time, either.

It's got me thinking, and two key questions are begging to be dealt with.

1) Am I guilty of this crime of which I stand accused?
2) Would that really be such a bad thing?

Let's deal with the first one. I've given it serious thought and reflection, and I'm going to have to plead Not Guilty and ask to be acquitted on a technicality.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life, and I have no intention of forgetting that there are billions of people out there with far, far less. Put like that, it almost seems rude to continue posting. But I decided to blog about stuff that we all often think, but don't necessarily like to say out loud. It's my belief that a permanent state of low-level dissatisfaction with life is a lot more usual than you might think.

For me, as for many of us I'm sure, this simmering low-level grumbliness has nothing to do with being dissatisfied with 'anything that I have'. In case I wasn't clear the first time, I'm happy with all of it.

It's about what I don't have, and in may cases, what I used to have, but don't have now. All of these things are intangible, and some of them are no longer realistic or appropriate, but that doesn't stop me missing them.

For example, I can no longer expect the level of freedom and autonomy that I had as a single late-20-something living and working in London. I have a husband and a child, and I therefore can't just pop out for a drink, and end up rattling home at 3 am in a cab, realising as we pull up outside the door that I have no cash left, and I am too shit-faced to write a legible cheque, or even sign the one that the driver has written out for me because I am on my sixth attempt and he is getting a bit bored with me by now.

I'm not saying that given the choice, that's what I'd do, but I miss having the freedom to make that call. I miss spontaneous visits to concerts and galleries, popping out for lunch, 'popping' anywhere! I miss being able to go to the gym any day I like, rather than when I can get a babysitter. And yes, sometimes I do get pissed off with all the restrictions that security and responsibility bring.

But is that such a bad thing? Let's look at it this way;

I chose to do a degree in Music and followed it up with a diploma in Arts Management. This was for a reason - I care about these subjects, and get great pleasure from being around them in real life. Yet I live in a town which is a cultural and creative vacuum. There is approximately fuck all going on within at least a 30 minute car-driven radius. I simply cannot fill that gap with shopping and TV. It would spell disaster for my marriage if I did.

So, I'm sorry if sometimes, I come across as a bit miserable, I really am. But I am not going to stop trying to achieve some of the things that meant a lot to me when I had unlimited Freedom and Choices instead of Family and Security.

They are the clotted cream in the jam doughnut, the gravy on the chips, the freshly chopped mint in the Pimms. But settling for life without them would be Giving Up. It would be the first step on the slippery slope towards Really Letting Myself Go. It is a path than can only culminate in weekends spent traipsing round Homebase in leggings looking for the latest crappy niknaks to fill the emotional void that my brain used to manage before I let it turn to mush.

And that's just not the way we do things around here.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post. Well said.

Melissaria said...

Thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed it, whoever you may be!

Anonymous said...

I know this post of yours is pretty old, but am curious if you were able to "square the cirle?"

I'm feeling much the same since having my 3rd child - several years in between my then youngest, 13yrs old and the new baby who is almost 1.

There are days that I feel resentful and mopey because I can't get to the gym to lose the 20 lbs sticking to my ass, or go see a movie with friends.

How are things for you now?