Several days ago I told myself that if I'd heard nothing by lunchtime on Wednesday then I would give up, and then I would refocus and move on. And here we are.
Can't go into details, but details aren't important. This is more about a psychological trajectory.
I've been around long enough to rack up quite a few disappointments over the decades and develop various strategies to deal with them, some more self-deluding than others but all more or less effective. They range from 'You're not being napalmed' and 'Suck it up' through 'Oh well, I didn't really want it/him anyway' to 'Hey, it was a learning experience', or 'At least I won't have to [insert description of tiresome condition(s) attached to object of thwarted desire here], or 'Next!' which is pretty much the mood I'm in at the moment. Thank God I have a truly lovely major project to be getting on with. Can't really talk about that either, yet. Yes yes I know it's irritating, sorry.
Like the last biggish disappointment I experienced, this one is exacerbated by the knowledge that the process hasn't been entirely fair. Although I would say that, wouldn't I. And considering how often I admonish both of my sisters and some of my friends for talking and acting as though there were actually somebody in charge of the universe, bleating 'It's not fair' seems particularly pathetic and I'm trying to get on top of that one as we speak.
But the whole idea of 'getting past it' -- or, as footballers' managers say when their charges have been caught grabbing strangers' breasts in the street, king-hitting little drunks and/or doing lines of cocaine in the nightclub toilets, 'putting it behind you' ('Yes, he drugged and raped twelve virginal teenage fans, but he's going to put it behind him') -- has always seemed to me to be not just useless but positively harmful.
If you put bad stuff 'behind' you then you will simply do exactly the same thing next time. You can't learn, grow or thrive as a human being unless you actually take your failures, crimes and misdemeanours and their consequences in: assimilate and transcend, as I used to say many years ago to an earnest feminist friend who had no intention of giving up lipstick and perfume but used to agonise about it constantly. You have to let everything sink in and become part of you, or you'll just keep repeating yourself. Even disappointment and failure. Especially disappointment and failure.
One of the many consolations of ageing is that if you resist going into denial about the bad stuff, if you take it all in and process it, transform it into something useful, then the mind and the heart and oh all right the soul all go on growing even while the bod is in regrettable but unstoppable decline. It's the alternative to becoming a caricature of yourself as you age; you become instead a deeper, darker, richer and more complex brew. Certain good friends and certain favourite writers rise wraithlike before me as I write this and remind me of how true it is.
But one thing it did take me ages to work out is that this kind of internal process of assimilation and regrouping actually takes a huge amount of effort and energy. Like other kinds of psychological effort, it can make you really, really physically tired. So when I drag myself out of bed tomorrow morning feeling as though I have been hit by a train, I'll know why. I just wish it hadn't taken me half a century to work this one out.
In which the pond discovers Baxendale is quiet on oppression, and prattling Polonius feels oppressed ... - Others have observed the recent war going down amongst the more vicious and repetitive and simple-minded reptiles, as in Meade *here* ... *...Lisa Oldfie...
29 minutes ago