Friday, November 07, 2008

Nearly everything

Had an interesting time back in England in all honesty it was great to be with friends and do great things but there was also a deep sense of not being comfortable.....

I have nearly everything I want in life, nearly not completely. I live with a certain degree of restlessness, I love the U2 song “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” but unlike Bono I can’t sing and he really does seem to have found something.

I guess we where just experiencing what many immigrants feel. Having lived here for over 3 years we are in that place of being caught between two worlds the old world and the new world.

The old world was familiar but it’s gone, it’s changed, it’s moved on since we left, even if we return we will never be the same. Then there is the new world that we have for ourselves here in Ibiza; a world that promises much, a world that is tough and insular, a world that on one level isn’t that welcoming to new comers.

I wonder if even after you have learnt the language the correct way of being here, if you are going to fit in?

You have to become like them but even if outwardly you become like them there is always a piece inside you that reminds you that you are not one of them.

In many ways once you are displaced you may always feel displaced. You ask yourself "what have I done to my children?"

Now before we going any further and you feel this is a self pitying monologue about how bad it all is that’s not how it really is.

This is an inner hidden dialogue, a background tape that runs alongside the pleasure of a great house with a pool, much better weather, a great country that feels safe and loads of beautiful and helpful people who we have become friends with. A real sense of fulfillment and what can only be described as one of the best jobs in the world.

This is just the tension that I live with. I'm happy living with it.

I wonder if we will ever have everything we want out of life, right now I have nearly everything. Still I am restless. I guess it is generally happy restlessness more something to be experienced and enjoyed than feared.


Rachel A said...

You say some profound things, Brian ... "The old world was familiar but it’s gone, it’s changed, it’s moved on since we left, even if we return we will never be the same."
I am recovering from a severe breakdown this time last year - and found the metaphor of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly a useful one in negotiating the changes associated with trying to 'find' key things associated with my identity and self-perception. The first thing it does once it's in it's chrysalis is digest itself from the inside out and become caterpillar soup. There's a few cells left that have always been dormant, that mastermind the building of a butterfly from the soup. The butterfly is made of exactly the same stuff as when it was a caterpillar, but it's all different now... does a butterfly remember being a caterpillar? Does it miss the familiarity of eating all those leaves? does it find flying scary? does digesting itself hurt? was it scared of embarking on the process because it knew things would be irreversibly different?... perhaps the new world seems tough sometimes because we're not really confident or comfortable with being butterflies yet. But the caterpillar is all gone and we can't go back...

I know what you mean about living with the tension of a background tape running alongside real life...change and growth can be bewildering processes, incorporating loss, risk, adventure...its the same but everything's different...some changes are positive but extremely difficult and temporarily de-stabilising.

I really enjoy reading your for thought for a butterfly in the making such as me! Rach

kiwipaddy said...

a brilliant and timely post. thanks!

Mark G said...

Thanks, Brian. Maybe restlessness is a gift?

Thanks, Rachel that is a great illustration. I am struggling through a time of change and have found the blessings in John O'Donohue's Benedictus a great companion. In "For the interim time" it says "the path you took to get here has washed out; the way forward is still concealed from you." A bit like walking along the shoreline as the tide comes up is where I am right now.

Sheena said...

I think much of that tension has to do with the new paradigm that comes from absorbing another culture's world view. As with anything, once that perspective is seen or that thing is learned, you can never stop seeing/knowing it. It's forever a part of you and there's no undoing it. Which sometimes feels isolating, but is in reality a beautiful thing unique to the individual privileged to be able to take the best from both worlds.

Hannah said... will never completely fit in and you would never feel right if you went back. You took the one-way trip to outer space.

Home sickness makes me think of returning sometimes but I stay because I know my daughter will live the childhood or better that I lived in the 70s. Ibiza is at least 30yrs behind the UK. The kids play outside, the sun shines, the people trust each other, there are less tyrannical rules...

She will not feel like an alien and that makes my alien feelings more acceptable.

Brian said...

thanks Rachel, great analogy. The best of both worlds is great sheena, restlessness is a gift Mark and hannah you are right if your children are happy it makes it much easier my boys love it here. So do I most of the time just have the occasional moment of looking back.....