The things I have no control over…

…end up being the things that control me the most. It’s been almost funny how for the past four or five weeks I’ve felt increasingly anxious and sick about the house not selling and about the EU referendum looming on the horizon, both spelling disaster that I felt powerless to influence, and yet eventually what brought me out of fear most effectively was actually the rising problems that caused Jen to sink into the same deep blue funk. Even the respite I’ve created by exploring how I can influence the sluggish interest on the house – the marketing focus, the Twitter account, our flexibility on price – would eventually succumb to the obsession I’ve had about the possibility of an EU exit, reading Guardian articles, seeking out polls, checking the exchange rate. Yet when a real issue came along I actually felt enlivened by the opportunity to wrestle with something we could actually play our part in. I’m still afraid about the EU but in actual fact I notice things have changed in the last few days – calculating that we would lose hugely but still be able to make something work if the worst happened was cold comfort, but the referendum doesn’t have the same fatal weight. Instead what horrifies me is how commonplace the little england mindset seems to have become, how easily so many people confidently point the finger (“It’s the EU, innit” now replacing “It’s Health&Safety gone mad!” as the default knee-jerk reaction) and how many stories of people living in Britain but now afraid their immigration status will put them in danger (“I’m afraid to speak too loudly in case someone hears my accent”). Even if we do leave the EU it will only spur us on to leave the country and reminding myself that there is no obstacle that we can’t work our way around – perhaps beyond not actually selling our house. Although even then our willingness to do all it takes to sell up surely gives us the absolute best chance for success, which we might have to define as simply not living in the UK any more but which won’t represent anything other than a success if we achieve it. I’m lost now, writing about what I’m afraid of manages to overwhelm all of my thinking when what I wanted actually to focus on was how strange it was for Jen to be crashing and me to be rising, both reacting to the same developments in opposite ways, and how in fact it was almost the fact that Jen suffered that gave me the boost I needed to stand taller and think more positively.

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