There is a recurring dream I have, albeit one that has become rarer in recent years. I am standing on a long, narrow road, silky black, standing in a void. All around me is darkness, except where I am. The path behind me fades into darkness, a single route. However, in front of me, there are myriad roads, all stretching into the unimaginable. And I don't know which one to take, so all I do is stay in the same place, first moving towards one road, then hesitating, drawing back, then moving to another, and so on, yet I do not know which path to take; And I end up staying the same. Well yes, it's very obviously a dream reflecting my uncertainties and hesitations in real life. Yet it's still a problem - which way next?
As the more astute observers among you may have noticed, I am nearing my 40th birthday, always a time when people are expected to take stock of their situation, wave goodbye to their hair and youth, and say hello to a widening waistline and a collection of pastel-coloured pullovers that increasingly become polo-necked as one begins to acquire a wattle and collection of chins. At this age, I should be somewhat more comfortable, not only with myself, but also in terms of personal circumstances. Instead, I find myself completely broke and wondering what the hell I'm doing at work.
The point, I suppose, is: Is it worth it? There are days where I find teaching an utterly fascinating exercise, others where i turn with weary disgust from the idiot mounds of bureaucracy on my desk and the ton of stress I feel under. Last year, had it not been for my timely jaunt to Corfu and having to do jury service, I am sure my health would have broken because of the stress of managing the exams in my department. Certainly, I do not want the same this year, but I find myself worried about a whole raft of things: money, study, preparing a paper for a conference, money, debt, work, exams, money again. My sense of discouragement at my current predicament is palpable.
However, in the last sentence, the word 'current' is important: I do not know, and cannot see, what's round the corner, and this is both a comfort and a worry. A comfort, because it may be better: A worry, because, it may be the same or worse. This invites the question: Do I stay on this same path, or go down another, or a different one? And so I hesitate, move towards one road, stop, move back, move towards another, hesitate, draw back, stop, and so forth. Perhaps it shouldn't be a case of my moving along the road: Maybe I should let the path flow under me.
However, all this to-ing and fro-ing doesn't solve my current fiscal dilemma. I need to clear our debts, and currently I'm in danger of sliding further backwards, clearly undesirable. It is an enormous pain in the arse. I need the directions to Mr. Fiscally Happy Land.
Who knows? If I find it, I might even end up with enough money to buy myself an Audi with which to try and kill EFL Teachers on bicycles.