Posted by: eileenandrory | October 18, 2009

Circling Cat Revisited

I tried to start a blog a long time ago, and called it the Circling Cat.  You see the idea was that I feel somewhat like a Circling Cat, forever trying to find the perfect position in which to sit and curl up so that I might feel the optimum comfort levels.  I toy with ideas and I resist certain notions because I am looking for that right fit.  Does that mean that I reject certain chances because they don’t fit perfectly?  Maybe.  I find myself in the uncomfortable position of still circling, still figuring out what to ‘do with my life’ yet being at an age when I should ‘know’.  In the past I have used the analogy of the phoenix to describe the different phases of my life.  I tended to live in a certain way, for a certain length of time, then come to a crashing, blinding fiery mess, burn everything and start all over again.  I can think of 3 such definite moments in my life where this has happened.  It tended to happen every 5-6 years or so, so some would say that I am somewhat overdue for one given that the last was in 2000 – thats if I am destined to repeat the same mistakes!  I would like to think I am older and somewhat wiser, and this time it’s a little more difficult to run screaming away from the problems whilst burning everything in my wake.

So, where to from here.

Today, I felt the burdens were too much.  There are days where little things, the simplest things can make me happy.  But today was not one of those days.  Today was a day when I just wanted to hold onto my little girl and feel like I could be innocent again.  I didn’t want to think about the fact that life is hard right now.  I didn’t want to think about the possibility of Rory being made redundant and the changes that that might mean.

I saw a friend of a friend of a friend having a grand old time on Facebook, getting drunk, being ‘normal’, having ‘fun’ and for a moment I wanted to trade places.  Despite the fact that she quite probably thinks her life has its moments, for that one moment I wanted to be that person, with no cares in the world.  I didn’t want to think about the fact I have clothes that fall apart because I don’t have the funds to purchase new ones.  I didn’t want to think about the fact that when I look at the list of things to cut back on I find that there is very little fat left in the budget.  I get mad and angry at the friend who knows I find the money thing tricky and yet asks me out with her and her children and says ‘but its only $9 each’.  Does she actually realise what that means?  I ache to spend an evening out with my husband and to have a bottle of wine, but sadly that is beyond the capacity of our budget anymore.  I hate our dependence on money, I hate that we have to say no to so many things and then fudge the truth about why we are saying no.  ‘No, I’m busy’ is far more socially acceptable than ‘No, I have no money’.

I see Rory has already posted on the money thing… you see I think he’s a bit harsh on us.  We have not been irresponsible, we have not been splashy with our money.  We have simply been caught out.  Who would say that studying to advance your career is a bad spend?  Who would say that purchasing a new computer because the old one was on its last legs was excessive expenditure when that same study and the volunteer work that keeps me sane is all done on that computer?  We didn’t buy and LCD TV to put up on our wall.  We didn’t buy a flashy car.  We actually bought things that bettered our lives and the lives of those around us.  We have simply been caught out in these times where nothing seems to be certain anymore.  I listen to friends around us and think that either they are covering up, or they are living in la la land or they have hidden reserves of cash.  I see other friends whose family members bail them out time and time again.  And whilst I get a certain satisfaction from knowing that Rory & I do it all by ourselves I do feel irrationally and selfishly resentful towards those friends.  Why do they get the silver platter over and over again when I have to be content with the plastic plate?

I find myself reminding myself over and over and over again why I am doing this.  Why I do the volunteer work I do.  Why I do not work and put my kids into daycare.  Why Rory does not work stupendous hours for more money.  We do it because we care.  We do it because we want a better life, and these days do pass.   I do the volunteer work I do, because 90% of the time it makes my heart sing and I know that one day (and god I hope its soon) it will start paying me in cash rather than just the feel good factor.  Because even though the feel good factor is the main reason I do it, it doesn’t pay the bills and long term, it’s just not sustainable.  I don’t put the kids into full daycare and work because I believe that they need to be at home most of the time at this age with someone who loves them without being paid to care for them.  And Rory does the job he does because it means he can be at home when he is needed.

These days will pass.  My father says I will look back and think, gosh we struggled, but it was worth it.   It’s hard to see that now, but I know he is right.

So why am I circling like the cat?  Because I’m trying to seek a way out.  I am trying to find a solution that will keep me happy and will allow me to live in the way I wish to live.  I wonder if I choose to study, will that help me out of this place?  If I choose to start a business from home, will that help?  And each time I think of one of these things I circle a little more and adjust and wonder if the fit is right.  It’s getting better, and I am getting closer, and days like this, as hard as they are, help to narrow it down.

This dream I have, to ‘live with purpose’, this one of raising children in the way that feels right for me, of living in a community that cares, of living with my beautiful husband in a way that makes sense to us, of living in harmony with where we are, it’s a damn hard dream, and yet it’s got to be worth it, right?



  1. Eileen, I like reading your comments. You are a strong, independent, wonderful woman with problems not unlike many I know. Life is not easy, dare say if it was then I would of known about it. I or should I say we (as in Chris and I) do understand where you are coming from. One makes their own way in the world – “you make your own bed, now you lie in it” is what my grandmother used to say to my mother when she was crying out for help when she was being beaten by my father. Does this saying still apply. Not with me or my mother, but perhaps (it is so yuck) it does in some societies. Coming back from Kazakhstan with no money, no home and jobless was super tough. We came down to Wellington with nothing and we are trying to build our life again. Yes we are lucky that we have certain things like some nice pieces of bits and things but then we have been married for 27 years! Still we have a trade-me couch and chairs and a trade-me dining room table which I am embarrassed about – yes I know I sound shallow. I want nicer ones and they will come eventually. Yes my hair needs a cut, but then the kids need new shoes and clothes. We are paying off our power bill and phone bill which is huge. We do not use credit cards so what we earn we live on. Yes we have 2 properties – one here and the one in Auckland but the tenants are paying for the mortgage and here is the same as paying rent.

    I suppose what I am saying is that over the years we could of made better choices and would have had a lot of more money etc. But would I change any of it – NO, even living for 8 months in Kazakhstan – NO it was such an experience.

    Do I want to run away like you yes often. But that’s what life is about. Yes, it is hard but as you said it is a choice. I read what you get up to and you are a damn good mother and person. Rory sounds like a great man (having only met him a couple of times) and your children are delightful.

    Remember to hold your head high always. You made an influence on my life quite a few years ago – otherwise I would not be writing this now. Keep doing what you are doing, hold your children and don’t let go – I do that sometimes and they hate it (they are older of course).

    You have friends, ex-lovers and family who are out there who love you, don’t be afraid to let them in when needed.


  2. Of course it will be worth it, you know it will be. We all have days like this. You know we are in the same situation as you, and having to ask to borrow money sucks (as you know we had to do that last week). Hopefully tomorrow you will wake up feeling refreshed as it’s a new week, the sun will hopefully be shining (god help it if it’s not LOL) and you will have a fabulous day with your kids and remember why you are doing it.

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