Family Decline

Since Christmas, there has been nothing but a relentless string of bad news regarding my grandparents. We’ve all done our best to cope with the situation, but it’s suddenly degenerated into a serious problem in the space of a couple of weeks.

What is clear is that, for years now, my nan has been keeping the situation hidden from us. She must have been struggling for such a long time to keep up appearances that she could look after my grandad and make sure we don’t have to worry about it. She clearly felt it was her duty to do so, being that it was her husband. She couldn’t bring the burden to the wider family.

We all knew things were getting bad. 2011 was difficult on that score. But all of a sudden she just cannot care for him any more. She’s developed a serious problem with her leg, and her arthritis is now excruciating. As such, my grandad has been put in some respite care to give her time to recover, but it’s abundantly clear that even if she does, there will be no possibility of her ever looking after her husband again. He is just too difficult to control.

So this is causing incredible tension in the family. My poor mum, already under stress with her own job, and the difficulty of still having two demanding teenaged children and my 22 year old brother, who is not much help either, all living at home, is now having to deal with this as well. We had a very long conversation on the phone last night, and she agrees, my grandad just cannot return home again.

It is depressing and terrible. I am, in some ways, lucky that I am not at home, and therefore not having to see the daily consequences of this. At the time this makes me feel a bit guilty. Out of sight, out of mind. But, in truth, there’s probably nothing I can do to help except support my mum. My mum, at least, has two brothers and a sister who are useful, and they are all pitching in to some extent to try to give care. But it’s not easy, and requires incredible co-ordination, which means endless phone calls and other delays. And it’s not as if my mum can ever have a quick phone call anyway. That’s starting to get my youngest brother and sister annoyed, because they’re feeling left out of the attention.

It’s just not a good start to the year at all. No one really knows what the next step is, but I know for sure things will never be the same again. And no one’s even thought about how much this could all end up costing. Isn’t society wonderful?


My business, and therefore my life (because my life feels like nothing other than my business), is taking some rather disappointing turns lately. Work, measured by quantity, is down. And no obvious reason for it; suddenly, the phone has stopped ringing with genuine callers. There remain enquries of sorts, but many of them are increasingly deciding not to bother with repairs.

Then there is the lack of any progress, any developments at all, on the “big news” front. Before Christmas I had thought that by now I would be striding forward by now, as we had expected a deal to be ready to sign with a big new client. Unfortunately, they are dragging their heels, and I’m starting to think they are about to go elsewhere. Ever the pessimist. I have spent bags of time last week putting together a proposal for another business, and that one has promise, but – again – it could be ages.

Then there has been a sudden spate of things going wrong. Yesterday I had to resolve three issues that were already fixed, but because of bad luck, and maybe a little carelessness on my part, they all came back. I sorted them for good this time, but there’s nothing worse than a retread.

Frankly, I need to move on. Yesterday my patience snapped. I’ve been doing this business now for three years, and though it is in a very good position really, I kinda get the feeling that I’m running out of time. I’ve had this horrible sinking feeling for a few months now, that I am not really going anywhere, and my life is not living up to what I had hoped it would be. Maybe it’s the early mid-life crisis. After all, something must have made me buy a bucket of Lego recently…

I think the other abiding problem I’ve got is where I am. My housemate returned from holiday yesterday, and it has been bliss without him being here. I’m fed up – completely, utterly, totally – living with him. I think it really is time I had my own place. But I can’t do that – financially – until one of these big projects comes in. Housing is not cheap.

Then there is the relative disappointment. On Sunday, I was lucky enough that a friend of mine came to visit. This was a bloody miracle, since a) I have so few friends; and b) the ones I do are all so far away they don’t bother. But for a change, someone did. He has just finished a PhD and is about to emigrate to Switzerland for a few years. He also has a girlfriend, and is seemingly quite pleased with the direction of life. I can say the same, too, for the rest of my tiny friendship circle.

I keep telling myself I shouldn’t compare my life with my peers, but I can’t help it.

If Only Something Different Happened

Life is a ceaseless procession of “if onlys” if you’re a negative person like me. Recent weeks have been another mishmash of them. I have spent most of my time working, and it’s only when I get moments like this, to look back, do I start to think how pretty sad the whole thing is.

In recent days I’ve finally got back to normal, as I spent yet another week away back at the Real Home. The real home is always good, but has very large depressing issues. The main one being the constant reminder it brings that I would probably prefer to be closer to my family than I am. But it’s only when I’m there do I feel this. I think I have observed this before, but absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder at all. If you’re absent, and you’re busy, your heart forgets.

That’s the devastating thing about humanity, really. It is actually rather easy to move on, and move on from something you may have thought was actually pretty essential to your life. We are great at adapting. We shut things out, mentally, sometimes consciously, sometimes wholly by accident, and other times our sub-conscious does the rest. I was speaking to a friend of mine yesterday who had spent the past few years after university living away studying for a PhD. The time has come and gone like a shot, and now it’s all over and he’s doing something else. He said it was weird at first, but it soon goes.

I understood perfectly. I have been back for just three days, and already it’s like I’ve never been away. I’ve spent all three days working pretty hard and earning a decent living. It’s nothing spectacular, but I’m happy with it. It could be better, and it might still be depending on what happens in the next few months. I’ve been saying that for ages now though. If only something might actually happen. Never mind something different.

But what grates most of all is that it’s so easy to just fall into a nice comfortable niche. The days all pass by without much relevance. You do stuff, you speak to people, you go to bed. Repeat. If only something different happened.

It’s in these times that time slips away. Time to actually do something different vanishes. You spend 99% of your life ploughing your well worn furrow just so that you can do something different in that shockingly-slim sliver of light in the remaining 1%.

That’s not life. Not really. That’s just existence. And, if we were all honest, that is what we do. We do it because we have no choice.

If only something different happened.