Thursday, 29 April 2010

"Modern Malaise"

Let me paint a picture for you:

I'm sitting here in a polka-dot bikini top and a jauntily tied pink sarong (okay, not relevant but like I said I'm just trying to paint the picture for you) on my completely tiled blue and green front porch, feet up on a chair, surveying my usual landscape of picturesque coconut trees, screeching beady-eyed black crows and the huge sandy expanse separating our house from our landlords large red concrete one.

I've got before me a white ceramic bowl full of sweeter than sweet papaya pieces and chunks of gorgeous watermelon. This is my breakfast. Earlier I started the day with two strong cups of freshly brewed espresso flavoured with a touch of Baileys. Nice.

So what's my problem?

In my 'other', parallel life (ie. the one I left behind...the one I shall be returning to at some point) I am in a queue at Marks & Spencer's, trying to keep a squealing Dumpie from loading up my shopping basket with multiple packets of Percy Pigs (pink, rubbery sweets), and yelling that he wants crisps. It's overcast outside, and after a few more stops to get the days groceries, I'll walk all the way back to our home at the end of the road, unload numerous bags and look forward to a morning of tidying up, making Dumpie lunch, and doing a million tedious and thankless 'domestic' tasks.

At some point I will stop and wonder to myself, "Is this all there is? Has my life been condensed down to a mere shopping list of sundries, the paying of bills to all manner of rip-off merchants (British Gas...I mean you), and the drudgery of always being the one to pick out bits of gloop (or is that the name of Gwyneth Paltrow's 'lifestyle' website?) from the clogged drain in the kitchen sink - which no one ever seems to take responsibility for except ME......

But I digress.

What I mean to say is, "WHAT THE HECK IS MY PROBLEM?!!"

(Why am I not happy right now? Ecstatic even? Why, why why?!)

Much like an adrenaline junkie, I crave the next high....the next adventure....I get bored with daily rituals. Seems to me that all I've done here in Paradise is exchange one group of rituals for another. So instead of crowded buses, overpriced taxi's and packed trains, my daily commute involves trekking through the local dump to get to the internet cafe...trudging down sun-baked roads in scorching heat to get to the beach...hiking myself up behind the husband on the back of his motorcycle (okay that bit rocks!)...

Instead of buying groceries from Waitrose, I'm purchasing our daily foodstuffs from a tiny little cement hole in the wall beside the local chai shop - a place where the proprietor tallies up my purchases in pencil on a little pad and tells me what the total is (much more reliable I must say than the bored check-out staff back in London who are forever putting things through twice and making mistakes on my orders).

Instead of making dinner in our kitchen while sipping a glass of wine and wishing desperately the husband would come home from work and break up the wrestling match Egg and Dumpie are having in the front room....I'm hustling our little famiy of four out the door to dine at yet another beach cafe or local restaurant, where we will sit there dumbly looking at the menu and trying to figure out what we should order given that we've been dining out for the past almost three months and have grown rather tired of the predictable Indian/Continental menus.

You see? I'm utterly ungrateful for where I am right now, despite knowing that if I were to fly home tomorrow, after a week of London life I'd be ACHING to be back here among the palm trees, swimming in the ocean, and breathing the beautiful fresh air.

It's a modern disease: "Spoiliticus Modernus Bratticus".

I'll never forget an interview I read with the esteemed character actor Richard Dreyfuss many years ago, reflecting on his great career. He said that he's suffered from depression for much of his life because the only time he was truly happy was when he was trying to achieve success. When he actually accomplished his goal, everything went downhill from there and he found himself at the top of a hill, looking morosely downward wondering "where is there to go next?"

I wish I had a 'RESET' button which would jiggle the contents of my mind and jolt me into realising how beautiful life beautiful MY life is at this present time....and stop me from constantly craving the next high...the next adventure.

Will I ever be content?

(Stay tuned...)


  1. I think the problem is that life with small children almost HAS to revolve around rituals - no matter what the location, it's difficult to be spontaneous. I don't know what the answer is, but keeping thinking of that overcast British sky and the Waitrose checkout as you bite into that next delicious papaya....

  2. Your life does indeed sound glorious and is what I can picture our family doing in 10 years of so - living close to beach and eating mangoes for breakfast then strolling to beach watching hubby and son playing football in the sun with locals... joy! I'm already getting sick of routine and the false smiles and questions at the checkout - Do they really care what I'm up to this weekend of have HQ insisted they ask a series of 5 questions..? Enjoy it while it lasts and perhaps when you do get back you'll live a little differently!

  3. The "same ol' routine" goes hand in hand with young children. But think of it this way BETTER the same ol' routine and lack of spontaneity when in a sunny, hot place on holiday than when in a rainy gray place and "working".
    Trust me on this
    Fran in SW London
    PS it is pi**ing it down here at the moment and has been all day.

  4. thanks for all the comments :)

    sometimes i need to hear what is so obvious...

    and you'll be pleased to know that i've (almost!) come out of my funk..



Let me know what you think!