Aside from holidaying and general busyness, the reason I have been away from blogging has been fear.
Fear that I will not complete what I want, will not achieve the goals I have set, will not have lived the way I want to live.
It is not a fear specific to blogging, nor even writing in particular, though I guess that’s what has brought it on.
This year marks my fourth year at uni and as it is, my honours year. I’m expected to create a thesis, 15 thousand words of something meaningful and impressive. Something that I can study for a year and something I, alone, can create.
But I can’t. I am paralysed with indecision and emptiness; and with that I am full of fear.
I work at a retirement village, it is my first and only job, one that I have keep for over six years and I like it, I really do. Sure, the primary reason I have it is to pay the rent so to speak, but I do find joy in it besides the money. I really like talking to the residents about their lives. I like learning their names, their perks and quirks and I like hearing about their day. I like thinking I make a difference (even if it’s a small one) by smiling and laughing with them each week. I like learning from them.
But, as to be expected, there are quite a few sad and unavoidable things that come with working at an aged care facility.
Though I do not work in high-care (like a nursing home, yes there is a difference) some people who live here do suffer dementia, some Alzheimer’s, some Parkinson’s, some suffer from different types of depression, anxiety or disorders. Quite a few have physical disabilities.
But, I want to be clear. Despite all of this, the village is a mostly a happy place. It is not a cage where the elderly are hidden away. It is not a prison or a cuckoo’s nest. It is their home, just like yours. What makes these people incredible is that they don’t focus on what they lack or the problems they have. They do not focus on the years they have lost. They do not dwell on what makes them unhappy. They just live like the rest of us; better than most of us really!
But yes, there are some sad things.
And yes, some people die here.
But this is not what I fear, really.
I mean yes, it does terrify me. Death, dying is terrifying, but I think the reason I’m so petrified is that I will die having completed nothing.
I avoid thinking about it. I concentrate on frivolities, like fashion and current trashy television. I rigorously follow the plots of several dramas, comedies and crime shows. I fill my day with chores, errands, meaningless nothings, but nothings which feel important enough at the time. And when the fear nibbles my toes, I pull them tight up into my bed and hug the sheets till my fear melts into the shadows unable to reach me.
But my fear is there, and it is furiously strong. Strong enough to wake me up in a sweat, so that my panting wakes my partner in worry. Strong enough to chill me while I wait for a coffee and overhear another person’s ambitious plans. Strong enough to make me write about it, again and again. Editing. Always editing, hopelessly wishing I could edit my life too.
And it reaches me at the most unexpected times. On the train, in public; I strangle my tongue so my tears aren’t noticed by the stranger’s backs across from me.
I ask, what to do?
I ask it again and again and again. As a question, as a plea, as a silent prayer and as a resignation.
What can I do?
What do I do?
I do not want to finish incomplete.
And as my deadline for a thesis steadily draws nearer, the only thing that is clear is that I cannot do nothing.