mercoledì, agosto 26, 2015

Life/life balance

After five weeks back in Canada it's almost obscenely nice to be back home, and to feel like I have come back home. It's a first, actually. Going back to Australia from Canada always felt like eating a big plate of ratshit, and going back to Belgium not much better. And my peregrinations before that to Italy and France and the UK, though years long in some cases, never felt and were never planned to be permanent. Back to the F-word and to our lovely new kitchen full of fully functional appliances and excellent knives. Back to milky European air, forests, and bakeries all over the place. Back to mattresses we spent a lot of money on. Back to a place where all the problems on offer are my own, and are modest.

Some of my close family members aren't in terrific places at the moment. One is living out the end of the chapter of what could have been with his estranged child, who is suddenly grown up and leaving town; it hasn't been loud or messy, but I think the way things have turned out over the last three years has made this the great tragedy of his life - let alone the child's. It's something I used to be angry about, but now that it's resolved as a tragedy it's just unutterably sad. You can be mad at a drunk driver for causing an accident, but seeing them living with a missing limb afterwards is pretty pitiable no matter how it happened. Another close family member is going through a gruelling decision-making about where to be living, and another is dealing with the deep and fairly crippling depression of his spouse.

It could all be much worse and I'm very grateful it's not. And I'm very grateful that I was there for a good long stretch to share in these problems. But when you're out of your own element and fully in someone else's, the immersion is quite complete. It's the only way for me to do it, of course. And it's not a bad way to do it. I think I probably get more quality time with my brothers and parents than most people my age, because of these long visits. And because it's vacation time, it's fun, and doesn't feel like dragging myself dutifully to holiday get-togethers I'd rather not be at - God knows we got enough of that shit in Australia. But it is so nice, physically and emotionally, to be back in my own space, without caring any less about what's going on with my people.