“Mummy, do you and Daddy play when Bob and I are at school?” asked the ‘Dactyl recently.
Swallowing my stifled snort, I looked upon her little face and wondered if she wanted the truth. Did she want to hear that on Thursdays, after Mummy and Daddy have waved goodbye to the Piha bus, we race home to our respective side of the house, mounting keyboards and researching and tapping and clicking and sitting with grim looks on our faces, fretting about getting the groaning list of jobs done before that bus comes back down the hill at 3.30pm.
We barely have time to remember to be civil. Not really what you would call play.
“Sometimes” I lied.
Then I felt guilty about lying to my five-year-old because I didn’t want to face my own truth.
I’ve taken a plunge recently, negotiating a four day work week so that on the fifth day, which happens to be Thursday, I stay home to work on my writing career.
Career might be a bit of an exaggeration. It’s possibly more of a charity.
When I met the Dimple on our world woo, I told him I wanted to become a writer so he made me write WRITER under occupation on our immigration cards. I loved him for that; for believing in my dream so easily. Little did he know that being with somebody who wants to become a writer means they are constantly sneaking time on their laptop, often walking around not fully present as their mind is stuck in some viscous paragraph, they use up all the ink printing out pages of words which are constantly left lying around the house with scribbles on. And after years of such behaviour no published book in sight. Not even a pamphlet.
I’ve contemplated giving up but it makes me happy. It also makes me doubt myself as I’m a bit crap at it. I’m an atrocious speller, I can never figure out whether it’s its or it’s, and recently I updated my LinkedIN profile with my new title at work–Chief of Propaganda–but I accidentally put in Chief of Progaganda. I didn’t notice until some helpful git pointed it out. I wanted to sling back: N: Progaganda [PROG-O-GANDER]: a contagious social media boo boo that instantly gets attention! Instead I quietly burned in shame.
I’m a fraud.
Which is why I have no time to play with the Dimple.
He won’t mind, I tell myself. He knows I’m fabulous. I don’t have space for fun right now.
This morning I was lying in our bed, with Bob, and he asked, “Why do you have to have THAT there?”
For once he wasn’t referring to the stubbles under my arms. THAT was a picture of the Dimple and I kissing.
“It reminds us of when we first met,” I told him.
“Ew, you kissed him when you met?”
“Oh no,” I said, lying again. “On the third date.”
Looking at the picture, our heads tilted, eyes closed, jaws locked, it reminded me of that overwhelming, thumping, mind-stealing, life-consuming moment. Love is ridiculous. And essential. It’s all I dreamed of at the time.
And then it hit me. I’ve hedonically adapted to my husband.
Hedonic Adaptation is when we take experiences – usually positive ones – for granted. We move into a beautiful house, get that dream job, shack up with a brilliant partner, and we’re there, right where we hoped to be and should be ecstatic, and we are, but only for a time. Then we take the improved circumstances for granted.
In my haste to reach my other dreams I’ve forgotten where I am.
“You already are something,” the Dimple likes to remind me. “You’re you.”
Hearing this makes me we want to melt. Without him I would be a lot less me.
Thank goodness for five-year-old’s who don’t care about things like careers (or charities), or the destination; they live for the journey.
This Thursday I have put in the diary: 10.35am: PLAY WITH THE DIMPLE.
I won’t be reporting how we get on.
PS. Today in New York Mag a crazy New Zealander has come out of the closet….
Funny thing… I saw you and Ax the other day and realised afterwards, I must have met all you wonderful inspiring gorgeous people at the ripe old age I currently am now. You all in your late twenties, early thirties, working it all out. Struggling to find love, the answers, what it’s all for? The career, the balance, the propelling forward unknown on this crazy little thing called life.
All you wonderful women I, as a baby starting out, looked up too. Still do!
Lovely to ready your words dear Angela. And to of course see you the other day. Not sure I’ve worked it all out yet… But then had you all yet when you were me? Time I guess will unravel and tell the tale. Look forward to another random bump into you soon lovely lady with the infectious smile and sparkly eyes ;)
Xx not so Lil’ Viv
Ah clever, gorgeous Liv, Thank you for your words and reading my words. To answer your question, no we hadn’t figured it all out in our late 20s, we just pretended we had. The only difference now is that I no longer pretend I have life remotely figured out. As some smart person said once, enjoy the ride baby.
I started writing ‘writer’ on my immigration cards after my brother said he always put something different ( lion tamer, biscuit designer etc… ) and I thought that actually…I probably could be an author before he ever got to be a lion tamer…and it came true! (Me being published at least, lack of Lions in Canberra for my brother). Love your work!
Hey, thank you Deborah. Nothing like brothers to inspire us – and other writers. Love your work too.
I love you, and I fucking miss you!