Thursday, 3 April 2014

When the fog lifts

This is the second day of highly polluted fog over the UK and as I gaze out from my balcony at the murkiness below just one thought comes into my mind. It is a thought I once had and was reminded of this week.

The fog from my balcony this morning
'Silk', a UK legal drama ended this week. It does not have the tongue-in-cheek humour or quirkiness of the US 'Suits' or 'The Good Wife', it has a heady reality and its protagonist Martha Costello kept me enthralled for all 3 series. She is a strong Northern woman with the heart of a lion and the temerity of a champion for the underdog and it ended quite unexpectedly. Her colleagues continued their chosen path, one slowly drowned it in drink and another reluctant to let go of the only path he ever knew, but Martha? She woke up.

There comes a point in real life when the whirlwind of a high-pressure career is blown away by something quite unexpected. All the relentless striving, effort, sacrifice in the pursuit of personal satisfaction or doing 'what's right' is swallowed by the politics of the workplace or that once-loved whirlwind becomes a treadmill and your feet so used to walking, it was never noticed. For those without the reward of self-satisfaction or stuck in a job out of necessity then the treadmill was always there and difficult not to notice but, with a whirlwind or not, the sudden monotonous whine of the treadmill awakens a part of you that has slept in ignorance.

"Is this me?"
"Is this all that I am?"

This epiphany, this absolute conviction that you have missed something along the way is difficult to live with if you do not pay heed.

Looking out into the fog, covering the farmland, distant hills and tree tops I usually see from my balcony, I remembered the expression on Martha's face when she awoke to her epiphany, her absolute conviction. It was the same expression I once saw on my face when I turned off my work laptop at the office and caught a glimpse of it in the black lifeless screen. It was the same expression I saw on Sam Tyler's face at the end of 'Life on Mars' (UK series).

How many of you said as a child: "I want to be....a fireman / ballerina/ pop-star / artist / daredevil stunt-driver.... "?
How many of you did it? If so, then congratulations - was it really all you ever wanted it to be?
How many of you put away your childish things and dreams?

Fog can be cold, damp and cheerless or a muffler, a cosy blanket to disguise what is really there - I do hope it lifts soon.