Me: Hi, are you still there?
Diary: Huh, are your talking to me?
Me: Er, yeah, sorry?
Diary: What are you sorry for?
Me: Well, let me think…I guess I have not confided in you in well over a year?
Diary: Well, yes. Why not? Where have you been? I’m not upset, just a little disappointed and to be honest not sure I trust you.
Me: I can understand that. The longer I left it the harder it became. You are a diary, just an extension of me. So why do I feel so guilty?
Diary: You tell me?
Me: Where do I start?
Diary: Just begin…
Diary: Wherever you wish…
Me: Gosh, this feels like a therapy session
Diary: Does it? That’s how you interpret it, I’m just here to receive your words. You can continue if you wish?
Me: I’ve struggled to find the words, so much has changed. Maybe I just needed time to understand what and how much? Another decade came round, I turned 50 and it really unsettled me. I mean a trail of self-tarnished, tainted, and shattered relationships behind me, broken homes, poor decisions and what do I have to show for it?
Diary: Wallowing in it a bit, aren’t you?
Me: Yes, guess I am but I look at others, friends, colleagues even my ex-partners and they’ve achieved so much, maybe I’m a little envious and have some regrets. I need to remind myself that I’ve kept going, I’m not the man I once was, am I? As my children tell me, they are happy and proud of me, they enjoy my company, we have a happy home, I’ve a career I enjoy and can make a difference in. My hopes should be high for the future, if only I wasn’t so old!
Diary: You are what you are. Just enjoy it and remember we are all human; we all make mistakes, whatever you are going through remember ‘this too will pass.’
Me: Thanks Diary. I am still anxious though. What about Covid? I am struggling every month.
Diary: What are you struggling with?
Me: Well, I couldn’t work, what idiot opts to go self-employed the week before the first lockdown? My voice is one in millions crying to be heard. When the first lockdown came, I tried to help by offering to do shifts for my previous employer Serco as a Night Cleaner at the hospital. I delivered pizzas for Dominos, I home-schooled. Since then, I’ve helped make reinforced concrete panels, driven for a nursing home, been a Census Officer, a laundry operative.
Diary: Doesn’t that tell you something? By the way did you know the lockdown was coming? Did you not hand your notice in over a month before the first lockdown? Maybe you should cut yourself some slack. You tried to do something for the right reasons didn’t you? More time to organise yourself, be your own boss and spend more time with your children?
Me: Yes, I know but maybe I’ve been too romantic, too dreamy, too naïve, too hopeful? Now you are going to tell me that I’ve shown resilience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like it as I’ve not taken the opportunity to improve myself by writing, running, learning an instrument, any online learning or anything, I’ve vegetated in front of the TV on my days off.
Diary: Maybe you needed it?
Me: Maybe, but the guilt of wasted hours, wasted time.
Diary: You are allowed to relax, aren’t you? Questions for you, are your children happy? Are you the father you wanted to be?
Me: Difficult to admit but I think so yes, and we do enjoy our time together.
Diary: So maybe you are achieving the success you wanted? Take the time to smell the roses.
Me: Okay, so it looks like we are both right? Perhaps? I should enjoy life as it is, appreciate what I have, after all it has taken ages to come to the realisation that success is more than the fake trappings of the wealth I have never had, the respect I perhaps didn’t deserve and the crazy behaviour I used to exhibit. A cup of tea and a slice of cake, a walk in the woods, a kickabout at the park, pretending to be a hair model in my daughter’s salon, my son beating me at chess, a story at bedtime, hearing my children laugh, bicker, shout, and chat at the dinner table. What more do I need? I know the answer already, I should run, not out of guilt but for the reason I enjoy it and helps make me happier, I should write when I have a purpose and I should just be, because I am. That’s enough, isn’t it?
Me: Diary, that’s enough, isn’t it?
Me: Diary, that’s enough, isn’t it? Diary? Diary?
Diary: Time will tell…