To infinity and beyond!

I’m sure I must have mentioned on AgencyG1r1 at some point, that I have been writing another blog to do with my adventures in running, whilst raising money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Anyway I ended up doing the Edinburgh marathon, which was, for this less-than-enthusiastic runner, quite an experience. Pictures and posts are here.

Anyway, whilst lots of people have since said stuff like “I don’t know how you did it”, my answer has always been that I was incredibly determined and very stubborn, which were vital characteristics, because I certainly wasn’t that fit. The hardest thing about the marathon, heat aside, was that I didn’t know if I could finish. The furthest I’d ever run before the marathon, was a half version, so just over 13 miles. Everything after this was an unknown….

…which leads me to other areas of my life where I am running a long distance, without knowing whether I’ll be good enough to finish.

I’m in the final stage of a permanent resident/skilled worker’s visa to Canada. It’s been three years since I originally applied, 14 years of paperwork, over $1000 in fees and almost £300 in medical expenses. The last letter from the High Commission of Canada said nothing has been confirmed… so it’s not a yes, but assuming it will be a yes, I now have less than 10 months to make the move. You must act on the visa within a year of your medical, which is about six to eight weeks ago for me. In the middle of all of this, I’ve also decided to move flats in Edinburgh, since it’s difficult to have friends for dinner or stay in my current place (and if I do leave, I am going to make the very best of my last six to eight months here!). Still making the best of everything isn’t proving easy!

So yes, mood swing central…. It’s times like this when I really miss my artistic years because when I was younger I invested all of that emotion in my art and by the time I’d finished a piece, whatever emotion I began in… would level itself out into gentle fatigue. I snapped at work today because I’ve been trying to get a meeting to talk about these plans for Canada and again, the meeting fell through. I shouldn’t have snapped, after all I am the only one to blame for making my life complicated. Edinburgh treats me well and I have little to complain about; great friends, nice colleagues, good job, diverse social life and yet still Canada haunts me. I sometimes get stuck between daydreaming about opportunities on the other side of the Atlantic and then depressing periods of appalling self-doubt, where I playback people’s concerns over the difficulty of getting a job over there or my misguided optimism that the grass is greener. To be honest, although there are some push and pull factors involved, I’m pursuing this on gut instinct alone. I don’t know anyone over there, I’m not moving for a relationship, I just want to work in Canada. At the age of 32, this is by far the closest thing to crazy I’ve ever been.

This ambition amplifies local experiences: if I have an awesome night out with friends or receive positive feedback at work, I become sad deliberating on the practicalities of this gamble. Alternatively if I have a bad experience, struggle with work (or one of the various networking groups I attend) or fall out with a friend, I’m eager to write Scotland off and suddenly want to fast-forward my way to Ottawa. There’s little middle ground, especially as I’m packing everything I can into evenings, weekends, lunchtimes and any other pockets of time that become available. There is minimal opportunity for spontaneity and sometimes just as I want to fast-forward time, I also wish there was a pause button so I could take a few spare moments to think, sleep and reflect.

The fact that I may eventually become an immigrant myself also makes me more aware of immigration discussions over here and as some of you may have read on my Facebook profile, I was fascinated by Question Time last night as people talked about hundreds of thousands of immigrants rushing in to steal our jobs and rob our benefits system. Naturally there may be some illegal or even legal immigrants who aren’t making a positive contribution, but as someone who’s worked hard in life for academic qualifications, experience and a healthy support network, I resent being lumped into a big melting pot of throw-away people.

Anyway, it’s way past my bedtime and I have a very early start tomorrow (and a Saturday too!). Rather randomly, I’ll leave you with some lyrics from Keane for “Spiralling”, because every time I hear them they seem to sum up all of the feelings above.

“I’m waiting for my moment to come
I’m waiting for the movie to begin
I’m waiting for a revelation
I’m waiting for someone to count me in
Cos now I only see my dreams, in everything I touch
Feel their cold hands on, everything that I love
Cold like some, magnificent skyline
Out of my reach, but always in my eye-line now
We’re tumbling down
We’re spiralling
Tied up to the ground
We’re spiralling
I fashioned you from jewels and stone
I made you in the image of myself
I gave you everything you wanted
So you would never know anything else
But every time I reach for you, you slip through my fingers
Into cold sunlight, laughing at the things that
I had planned, the map of my world gets
Smaller as I sit here, pulling at the loose threads now”