Have you ever tried to be happy all the time?
Do you think we are fooling ourselves if we think that it's possible to live life in a, if not blissful, then cheerfully contented way?
Is there really ever a time in our lives, be it as a child or adult, when we can live without worry or threatening anxiety? Or is it cyclical?
These days, in my unequivocal middle-age, I am beginning to question the assumption I have carried all these years that once I reached my 40s, I would simply coast on my talents and the education and life skills I had acquired, and settle into a peaceful routine. I would live life encumbered only by new exciting challenges and quests that I alone had chosen to consider.
I think I've been wrong all these years.
Now, before I go any further I should emphasize that I'm not sitting here with razor at vein. Some things have happened (or not happened) recently that make me doubt I'll ever achieve total contentment.
Aspects of my life are phenomenal right now, especially when it comes to the personal connections I have with others. I have a loving partner and a marvelous step-son. They accept me for who I am, and I love it when I'm with them.
Also, for a couple of reasons that I'll leave to another blog post, I have (re)discovered the ability to relax and enjoy the company of others without feeling so threatened by insecurities or competitively mistrustful. As I've mentioned before, I have met some wonderful people in Sydney, and they have all had a part in helping me see that personal interaction with others is an integral and happy experience of human existence. I owe them all a lot in that regard.
Before, as a performing musician with this or that supplementary job, I was always working during my waking hours. When I wasn't working, I was studying. When I wasn't studying, I was practicing. And when I wasn't practicing, I was often hanging out with the two or three close friends I had...or with my partner. There were few parties, aside from an occasional dinner gathering or post-concert receptions. While my career was on a trajectory, my social life, as well as the connection I had with my family, was far from satisfying.
Here in Sydney, it's the opposite with me. My personal life is on the mend. With the help of others, direct or indirect, I have removed the "in-" from one or two of my insecurities and begun to realize that, no, it's really not so difficult to relax around people. I've become less formal and contrived. I know that I can mix what I've learned and acquired throughout my life with the country-boy from Arkansas that I am at heart, and come up with a relatively decent product.
Now if I could just get a job. That's also where the equilibrium has shifted. I am cut off from the artistic and professional side of my life. I have had a couple of nice opportunities in Sydney, but nothing has been permanent. Moreover, nothing has paid nearly enough to qualify as professional income. It is frustrating, demoralizing and depressing. I told Mark that I want to run to an isolated cliff and scream as loud as I can, unworried about the damage it was doing to my vocal cords.
There have been only four positions open since I migrated to Australia to be with Mark and Zane nearly three years ago. These are professional jobs, ones that my 10 years of higher ed, a doctorate and a Fulbright scholarship have qualified me for. Only one of them ever contacted me after I applied and gave me any kind of information...even a simple notice that they'd received my application. Apparently, from what people tell me, that's not uncommon in Australia. Whether or not it's tradition, to me it is still rude and unthoughtful.
So I wait. I wait for a job to come along. And I wait for that elusive time when I am happy in all aspects of my life.