Ship on the sea

I remember when I discovered what the word society meant. I found it hard to believe that there was one word that could encompass something I viewed as so vast and in many ways so abstract. I thought of it more as a historical word. A word that might help when describing the hierarchical arrangement of a tribe or that one might come across when reading about the lives of Russian aristocrats. I have never felt part of my society and now as I get older it surprises me to realize that I am a perfect product of not only my society but of my time. Decrying my anxiety about technology’s lack of ‘real communication’ all the while knowing that the only way anyone will read what I write here is if I post it on my ‘blog.’

Anyway leaving all that by the by what I really wanted to talk about was planning. Now, it might seem strange but planning to me, is very strongly intermingled with the idea of society. I plan, in order to try and ‘belong,’ to make a good, solid home, in the society within which I was born and grew up: to elbow out a place where I can ‘be’ comfortably. By ‘planning’ I mean making life plans. I started making these about ten years ago when I realized that my life was like an untrained Dalmatian after a bone and I was a seven year old taking it out for its first walk. I needed to get it back into control. Back onto the path and to firmly and confidently steer it toward whichever predetermined destination I selected.

I made five year plans, I made two year plans, one year plans and then settled for what I could only call an outline. Which has since become a faded scribble on fluffy paper still almost decipherable after its been through the wash a few times. There were moments when deeply rooted in the middle of a half-executed plan I realized that well, in all honesty, the ‘me’ that had made the plan would just never be again … and that the then and there ‘me’ really was no longer suited to the outcome of that particular plan. Times, when giving up was not actually that, it was more like fessing up. At these moments I would have to pry my hands off the tiller and let the boat pitch and sway at the mercy of the great ocean for awhile. Until I spotted another beacon on the shore that I was damn sure I could get to and that would definitely, assuredly, be somewhere I wanted to be.

I’ve never been not able to know what I want before. It’s certainly an odd, frustrating sensation. But perhaps if I just ride on the tide a little longer I might just learn something really, really valuable, something that has always eluded me. Patience. Imagine – possibly she’s just around the bay.

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About duendest (Tina Cartwright)

Tina Cartwright grew up on the East Coast in the South of New Zealand. She lives and works in Melbourne. Her children’s picture book, Kiwi and Scorpion, was published with Penguin NZ in 2008. She edited and translated Taking Latin America Home – a self-published anthology influenced by Latin America which raised funds for the Sweet Water Fund in Nicaragua.

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