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Not a word that leaps out at one – sort of concertina’d in the middle and rather blurry vowel sounds.

I’m so tired of it – not the word, the concept. I’m not sure if it is because of some prevailing zeitgeist that we – and when I say that, I probably mean ‘I’ – are (am) plagued with true-life stories of people who have overcome thousands of odds, worked all the hours God gives, pushed on through the seemingly never-ending and deeply frustrating and debilitating hardships to arrive at some place that makes them feel triumphal and the rest of us blessed and privileged to be inhabiting the same planet. And there are the worthy-celebrants who say it all for us – take the very words out of our mouths: “Isn’t she MARvellous!”, “What an inspiration!”, “If only everyone had that attitude!”, “You have restored my faith in whatever!” Ringing applause and awe-struck looks abounding as groveling and robe-touching threaten to subsume the new luminary. Tra-la and so on ad nausea – m.

I remember, many years ago back in the days when I taught English Literature in a high school, going to one of those ghastly “team-building-get-the-most-out-of-your-staff-and-optimise- their- futures-and -their -job- satisfaction- by -making- them- play- daft- games- and- use- a- lot- of- coloured- markers- to -draw -their- “ideal- self” events. The jolliness and energy and back-slappery and bonhomie was unnerving, to say the least. Then we all rallied around making SMART objectives and cheering each other on, being very, very positive and very,very motivated and very, very bright-eyed rowdy zealots. The net result of this, or so we were told by our by now heavily-perspiring, but still messianic leader, was that we would be Happy and Enthusiastic and Energetic and Fun-filled and Productive and, ergo, much more Useful Members of Society – in other words, WORTHY!

I don’t want to go out there and proselytise about my struggle and my life and how, since shaking off negativity and pessimism and attacking the world with joy and hallelujahs has turned me into a happily grinning maniac. I don’t want to work all the hours God gives, I don’t want to shake my fist at Fate and defy all the odds, I don’t want to attack everything that comes my way with vim, vigour and unstoppable exuberance. I’m about sick of hearing that I can go as far as my imagination allows; that if I can dream it I can BE it, that I need to aim higher and dream bigger and that the only limits are those I myself impose. I want limits, I want circumscription and boundaries. I just want to put in an honest day’s work, go home to my little house, enjoy my music and my telly and my soup and do some sewing when the mood strikes and visit friends and go to bed early and be happy in my own company.

Stop with making me feel guilty because I’m not out there making a difference, changing the world and generally being an all-round, high-achieving, wickedy wicked worthy person. Contentment may not have the same eclat or resounding ring of approval, but it is as worthy of pursuit and as necessary to cling to – if not more so – as the clamour and chase and the forever elusive goal of bigger, better, more and more.


4 responses »

  1. This is what I call authentic.
    Loved it.
    Tweeted it.
    And now going to enjoy my read.

  2. How do you put up with this tripe? Are you forced to attend?

    • This particular event took place many years ago – it was in fact this particular event that made me forever despise such things. I was an inadvertent witness to another such which made me wonder seriously, if we had all gone stark-staring. But that’s another story for another time.


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