It feels like I’m running late this morning. But I’m not. I was at my desk at 06:50 putting together more documents and uploading them for the annual audit in my day job. And I’ve had my coffee and breakfast (seedless blackberry preserve on bread baked my M). I’ve done my stretches. I made a note the other day that said “The question always is dare I be happy?” That’s the thing. Sometimes daring to be happy takes a lot more courage than being unhappy. Daring to be happy often feels like tempting fate, that to be happy risks being doubly unhappy when something troublesome arises. Like the twinge in my back ten minutes ago – was it the memory of pain or a warning that my “happiness” means I’m pushing things too hard? Does being happy invite feeling unhappy? Does enjoying my re-found pleasure in coffee mean there will be some backlash again. Always Newton’s Third Law of the emotions. This is inevitably overthinking.
I think of commitments I have. There are too many. Being a hermit has so many advantages, although social contact is something I sometimes crave. But on my terms. I had a panic attack of sorts in the local supermarket yesterday, sparked, I think, my two particularly annoying young girls and their annoying ineffectual father. All that noise for nothing. Grumpy old man territory. Misanthropic thoughts. I like to retire into closed rooms and regenerate, and play word puzzles, and turn my thoughts inside out and upside down and round and round until I have them in the shape I want them to be. I like to browse in shops without people pushing past me, without the disturbance of petulancies and boasts.
Except of course my thoughts rarely end up being the shape I want them to be. Except of course life is rarely quiet. Except of course nothing is really ever the way I really want it to be. That’s partly my fault because I want everything to be perfect all the time. But there is another fault. The fault line that runs through all of existence. I’ve not talked about Bregman for an age, but the paradox, even in his hopeful book is this – why do we allow despots and tyrants, psychopaths and sociopaths to become our leaders? And why don’t we do anything about it? The state of the UK (and the world) is such that in any healthy society, we would all be on the streets protesting, that civil unrest, non-violent civil unrest, would be prevalent. Where is it? And it’s not just us writers and creatives who are sitting in our garrets typing words and painting pictures and writing poems and scripts rather than being on the streets. Where is everyone? The left tears itself apart, the extreme left becomes as right-wing as the extreme right. I tried to explain to my grown-up children that the best path to suppression by governments is for those governments to starve the populace of food and money, and thereby diminish any will or energy to protest. And that’s what’s happening.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 80