The ups and downs of doing this…

…continue regardless of how steady everything might seem. Until about 15 minutes ago I was feeling remarkably steady because, despite not succeeding in securing a new job (one that ironically began to look extremely appealing even with France on the horizon) I was hopeful that there was a more unconventional end to the story after talking with the interviewer. A temporary fix that might, might, provide me with the chance of turning it into a more permanent one – or as permanent as we might need. The Auction House meeting was positive, and although things are always going to be tighter now than we dreamed they would be, the fact I might have even a temporary job we could combine with a slower move meant working on smaller budgets was now possible.

Even the other night we’d gone through the four scenarios that will be our future: a) We sell the house on 19 Oct, and I get a job in Swindon – so we stay for around a year to get things up and running. b) We don’t sell the house, but I get a job in Swindon – so we go ahead to the next auction in Dec (hopefully extending the compromis) and we can at least pay the mortgage. c) We sell the house, but I don’t have a job – so we move up to the Midlands asap one way or another and then to France as quickly as we can. d) Finally, we don’t sell the house, I don’t have a job, and we wait until this happens to freak out about it – although in advance we might do some ‘oh shit’ planning. At least, unlike the frustrating experience of waiting on someone to discover our house, we would know one way or another and if things were good there’d be nothing to fear (because there’d be no pulling out) and if things were bad then we’d just have to deal with it.

But I hadn’t realised how much I was hanging on the possibility of this unconventional job solution working out until I just saw that, contrary to what I’d expected and totally without any update from the interviewing side, the job has been relisted. I’d guessed they’d be inclined to wait, given that the pool was exhausted and they’d not found anyone. I hadn’t anticipated that they’d choose to boost the salary as they have done. I suppose I’d hoped that I would have heard back from them as well, at least on whether they’d considered what we discussed and certainly if they’d now decided to throw away any short-term alternative and instead attempt to attract a higher experience level of applications.

I’d intended to write this post about ‘what is nudging the universe’ and focus on talking about how I see the book working, as reportage from the front line, experience from the coal face, rather than I think as how Jen might see it, which is as direct advice. I was going to say, here’s nudging: us allowing the universe long enough to find us a buyer but then making the decision to go with an auction, prompting at least some kind of result by 19 Oct at the latest. Then I was going to say, here’s nudging: me waiting a few days for the interviewer to get back to me about this possible temporary role, but then not waiting any longer and instead firing an email over to them to ask how things were going. In the event I have emailed, but I’m a step behind and the job is out there. I’ve asked if it’s worth me applying again, but that’s not even a nudge – it’s asking permission.

And now I’m flitting back to my phone every time it buzzes waiting for the response, furious with myself for fouling up the last time, scared that I’ve put us in the mess and depressed because, honestly, the chances of another job turning up in the next few weeks that doesn’t make me want to vomit my soul out, let alone one that excites me like this one, are very low. And anyway, to be actually honest, I don’t WANT another bloody job. I don’t really want to go back through the exhausting process of proving myself once again for the job I’d really quite like. So what good is nudging? What are we really writing about, what exactly is our book good for?

The biggest messages I want to pass to my kids (and for me I think the book is best if directed squarely at them, rather than anyone else) are that we can make things happen if we try hard enough, look hard enough, and that just waiting for something good to happen isn’t enough. I want them to see that often it’s just fear that can create blindness to what’s actually possible, that fear doesn’t have to be inescapable, rather that it’s just a fug that can obscure what would otherwise be clearly obvious. And I want them to know that there can be unforeseen rewards that come from trying to do the impossible that simply wouldn’t happen if we only chose to do what was possible – that even failing to do something that most people think can’t be done can still mean achieving something most people couldn’t even attempt. This is what nudging is – reaching and pushing and being active, pressing and committing and concentrating, so that when something falls out of the universe we can catch it with both hands.

Another element I’d wanted to cover had been my experience of racing along the cliffs of Moher during a work trip, 30 or 40 minutes of pacing towards a distant tower on the tip of the cliffline that I was determined to reach in the hour and a half we had there. I was never going to make it of course, the distance was huge. And even if I had, I’d never have been able to appreciate the tower itself before spinning on my heels and running back to meet the coach. But what I did find, what was hidden until I rounded the furthest part of the clifftop path that I managed to reach, was a huge gathering of cairn stones ranging over the different levels of the rock. Wide slabs stacked on top of one another or thin towers of flat pebbles. Hundreds of monuments made by passing visitors. I guessed I had about 15 minutes before I’d have to head back, and even then I’d need to run. Not nearly enough time to keep on to the tower. But more than time to sit and appreciate this secret stonesmoot. Time enough to build my own tower before heading back. Time to know that this discovery was, in the end, worth more than reaching what I’d thought I was rushing towards.

I’m afraid that we’ll get so little for the house that France won’t be what we wanted it to be, that we’ll be creating our own restrictions on a dream so that in the end we’ll have put ourselves through all this chaos for nothing but a millstone around our necks. But if I can take my own messages, and see that without this fear what we’d find is a new challenge, and know that we wouldn’t stop trying to make it work once we’d got ourselves out there, and trust that nudging really works, then I can stop feeling sorry for myself and instead look forward to the auction, just like I had been doing, and appreciate the solid pivot it gives to our future.



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