In between keeping my sanity, working, and trying to make dents in the piles of unread books and online periodicals I must confess I have little time for the popular pastime of keeping up with family and old acquaintances except in a very cursory way. To be honest I have managed to plod through life quite happily despite , or perhaps because of, this serious character defect. I actually don’t really regard it as a defect but more as a form of self preservation. I realised long ago that I am only able to keep tabs on so many things without fear of tipping myself off this little dinghy that I call my life. Where does this strange topic come from you ask? Well it has been largely precipitated by Peggy’s book which is, as I previously mentioned, now in my physical possession.
My Father comes from a large family that, in many years gone by, was a fairly close knit bunch. As the years passed and members died off or spread themselves across the globe the family has become more of a concept than a reality. Some members try and stay in touch with others but generally we exist as pieces of a former whole that has been shattered by our individual pursuits. I omit myself from the list of members who pursue this, no doubt, noble pursuit. Jahajin is, to me at least, very much about ties and family and, to an extent, the process of letting go of ties. Re-reading the book and having to suddenly realise I have family has been something of a traumatic experience for me but I am working on it. I think family is rather like Australia. It is great to know it is there but it will remain the same whether or not I visit it or even send the occasional card to the Postmaster General.
One of the ways I manage to survive life is to proceed as if I have blinders on. As I mentioned to Peggy ( the only cousin I actually communicate with regularly) insularity is a necessity for my survival. I have no need to jaunt down memory lane,to visit places out of nostalgia or, for that matter, to stay in touch with people simply because I am supposed to. It is not realistic for me given my psychological makeup to deviate too much away from my narrowly lit path. This may or may not be good but it is how my mind operates and I work with what I am given. I am honestly amazed that some people are so good at keeping tabs of who is sick, getting married or on death’s doorstep. It is a skill I am completely unable to even consider working on. It may qualify as a form of selfishness in the views of some but I am willing to take that criticism rather than have a total mental shutdown from having to visit, call and keep tabs on scores of people.
My approach may not be ideal but with the small group of people I manage to stay in touch with I honestly don’t feel any real lack in my life. Those who help weave the complex fibres of families together have my heartfelt admiration.