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Posted by Philip on 6 August 2016, 1:19 pm in , ,

Is this my life?

I've been saying to people lately, "I feel like I'm living someone else's life." Do you ever feel like that? If you do, you'll know how unsettling it is. My attempts at working out what's going on have been in the main unsuccessful, but I have a few theories.​

I wonder if it's my age – a mid-life crisis perhaps. After all, I do turn 50 next year. But I have no compunction to buy a red sports car.​​

Perhaps it's related to my work. Last year I closed Diversityworks Trust, which I ran for ten years, so the project work I used to initiate, find funding for, implement and report on have gone from my life. I also ​​​took the job at the NZ AIDS Foundation in mid-2014, which was a totally new environment and subject matter for me. I only lasted for six months being employed, confirming my self-diagnosis of "unemployable".​ That turned into a year contract, which also ended last year.

It's occurred to me I may be pining for the adrenaline rush and attention paid me when I was performing. ​​So maybe it's just a malaise of ego. I may just be a wanker who likes to be noticed and I'​m not that notable anymore.

Or maybe it's the anxiety I suffered in 2011 and 2012 because of those bloody neighbours Housing New Zealand​ managed to inflict on me. I've been chronically anxious until, quite recently, I ​remembered how mood-enhancing St John's Wort is and discovered the anti-anxiety properties of turmeric. But I'm nowhere near as laid back, nor trusting of people, as I used to be. ​​

It could be that I drink too much – a hangover from self-medicating the anxiety, as well as a private protest against the hysteria society has developed against alcohol and any mind-altering substance. A couple of decades you weren't an alcoholic/addict until you were drinking/using from daybreak to sunset. Now you've got a problem if you even admit to liking a regular drink while, in my case, running a business and managing the complexities of living as a non-heteronormative man with unique function​ in the 21st century. God forbid I should enjoy life as well.

Speaking of the 21st century, perhaps it's the Trump/Brexit effect, as I like to call it – the backlash against every social and technological advance made in the last half-century. The world is pretty crazy at the moment, ​if you haven't noticed, and I ​despair about the next couple of decades. Hopefully I'll be long gone before society really bottoms out, unless​ that's what's happening right now. If Trump gets elected as US President, we may just have to admit we've hit rock bottom. My only consolation is someone I ​heard saying that rock bottom provides a solid foundation. That's a positive reframe if I've ever heard one.​

I guess another thing is that I'​m not fully satisfied with my living situation right now. I'd like to live somewhere a bit more rural (I'll pass on the five grand though, Paula Bennett, thanks all the same). As much as I love where I live,​ ​I'd prefer to be living in a "designed village"​ – like-minded people sharing land but with individual dwellings and no meetings about who puts the rubbish out.

Oh and I ​want to reinvent the wheel. Watch this video and tell me wheelchairs aren't woefully outmoded. I want to design a walkchair. I've emailed a few university folk and even the robot company featured in the clip, but my emails have been met with a resounding lack of enthusiasm. So if you or someone you know is into robotic innovation, do get in touch.​​

So is this my life? Seems so right now. A time of change and uncertainty. Good job I'​m ok with the discomfort they bring. My work has come home to roost.

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