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Are You Addicted to Change - And Allergic to Commitment?

Posted: 26/02/2012 23:00

Since a child I was know as the butterfly. Or by my father as a fee spirit. Flitting round, full of life and enthusiasm for all things different.

I loved going on trips, detested going back to school and loathed routine. I adored any form of change. Dramatic ones especially. Arguments made me feel alive. Hurricanes energised me. World crises the ultimate fix for a change-a-holic.

Yet underneath it I was constantly restless. Falling in and out of friendships, never sleeping and never sure about what I wanted to do.

When I was younger I blamed the nasty old world. But soon I realised I attracted all this unstable behaviour because it came from a deep phobia of standing still.

Change defined my early childhood days.

I left Greece at five to live in London. The culture shock was huge. I switched orange groves and American Embassy pools for rain and greyness.

Ever since then I had left behind a life of greatness and everything that followed paled into insignificance. It made me feel on a deep level that I was always missing out on something or others were having a better time than me. It was a nagging ingrained feeling.

At work I would start a task and 'flea hop' to another without finishing the first. I'd never feel deeply satisfied at the end of a work day or a date. I'd go on holiday and feel energised yet lost at the same time. I'd return home and stare glumly at the flight boards wishing I'd go somewhere else. Its no coincidence I studied modern languages at Oxford, a way of opening up even more possibilities of places to live. Being bilingual means I'm never fully in one culture.

Four years ago I did the ultimate runner and fled to Australia. I went for three weeks and stayed for a year. I had a great time, basking in an Athenian climate, but it was never going to be forever. I went home eventually and it then became my escape plan if the going got tough. I'd threaten boyfriends with 'going back to Sydney'.

It all came to a head when my dad died. There is nothing more final than death. And nothing more grounding than taking care of someone you love, that will very soon leave you.

I looked at my life and realised nothing was solid. I had some real stuff, a house, projects. But I wasn't building for a future.

It was at this point I met my rock. One of the greatest loves left me and another took my hand. A safe and stable place for the butterfly to land.

Commitment-phobes either choose softees who are easily rejected or bad boys who run first.

My beau was neither. He had the stabilising force I needed and yet he would not get caught up in my flakiness.

It was stick or twist.

We started to build a life together. It involved his kids - it was the ultimate anchor. Every time I got itchy feet I'd just remind myself of the family life we had created.

I got pregnant last Christmas and lost the baby. I believe that my deep subconscious fear of being trapped made it happen. I learnt a lot as a result.

We now have a lovely home and life which make me feel protected. But it is still hard sometimes to keep that panicky fight or flight instinct.

Only just recently we went to Dubai. I love the city. Not many do. For me it is the belly button of the world. Hundreds of nationalities reunited in a form of Sim City. Expat lifestyle and constant stream of visitors between East and West.

We visited the resort of Atlantis and I felt instantly at home. Happy as a sand-girl. It was as if I had found that chimera. That life I had to leave. Of course Atlantis is exactly that - a lost city, one that no longer exists if it ever did at all, a mirage.

It all left me disconcerted. I longed for the real wood floors, the plants in my garden and 19th century walls of our French home.

I am certainly not cured of my fear of being tied down. But I know now that fantasising about a life that 'could' be means you miss out on the life you have.

Head in the clouds is fine but feet on the ground is better.

 

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