M and I drove down to South Norfolk today to see L&F who are over from Belgium with their 10-week-old daughter, B. Cue broodiness, from me, as always when babies are involved (though I can never quite understand it, because I honestly couldn’t do with nights interrupted by crying babies, and never have been able to deal with them to the extent that I very rarely woke up when any of our cried – that could be the reason I worry about them endlessly now, to the extreme that I have sleepless nights because of it). It was so lovely to see the three of them, to hold B, to see M hold B, to see how first-time parenthood is affecting our young friends, how it takes the edges of people, even if those edges hadn’t been very sharp to begin with. It did make me feel extremely old, I must admit, a touch closer to the end of the road of useful ness, a bit nearer the generation I had always never wanted to be a part of, a generation that of course we all end up joining, because time, biology, the universe, transience.
Although it’s still summer, strictly speaking – I ignore meteorologists because I think it’s lazy to divide the year into its four seasons by convenient months rather than going by the age-old solstices and equinoxes – the cold has taken me (and M) by surprise. We were saying last night how we’ve suddenly been reminded of how much we hate the cold, how much it weighs on our moods and motivations. In short, it’s vile, and another reason to aim for this dream we have of moving to Agios Nikolaos when we retire or can afford it, although there are many mountains to climb before then. The serious side of this of course is that literally (and I am using that word in its true meaning) hundreds of thousand, if not millions, of people, face the prospect of being very cold this winter because of the greed of the energy companies, because of the unwillingness of this government (which is pandering to the monarchy, its bed fellow, as we speak) to take care of the people of this country, the unwillingness of the government to renationalise national utilities which should be owned by the public, the refusal of this government to impose huge taxes on the profits of the energy companies (and any other large private enterprise you may wish to mention). I find it hard to be cheerful and optimistic in the face of this reality, and the perpetual gaslighting of the British public by the Establishment, because that is exactly what we are living through right now.
But, I reflect now, in the darkness, on L&F&B, on the beauty of seeing their family life blossom, and rejoice in the fact that new beginnings are possible. They are always possible. We just need to be able to see them, and see beyond everything and everyone who would deny us happiness.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 213