Taking your mind off things…

This evening has been an exercise in distraction.  Curled up on sofa with some knitting & the episodes of Nigella & Hugh taped last Thursday, followed by curling up in bed with the same knitting & the last part of the Blackburn v Sunderland game on the radio.  By engaging & occupying myself, I hoped that the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach would subsided – that if I could distract myself for long enough then the sense of dread would dissipate.

What lies behind this ill-feeling?  I’m going to print & bind my thesis tomorrow and, dependent on how long this process takes, I will be submitting the finished document either tomorrow or on Wednesday.  More than anything else – more than stress or panic – I’m simply nervous.  There’s nothing else I can do at this stage, except trundle along & going through these final acts.  Theoretically, they are simple & straightforward tasks; if anything does go wrong, I still have ten more days until the actual deadline in which to sort it out.  I’m done even earlier than I thought I would be yesterday.  So there’s really nothing to be nervous about.  Having said that, I guess it’s normal – natural – that I should feel a bit jittery.  All the work, all the toil, all the blood, sweat and tears, and now – this is it.  It’s going in for the final verdict. 

Has the attempted distraction worked?  To an extent, although clearly I’ve undone all of it by writing about the very thing that lies at the root of it all!  The knitting in particular absorbed me – not just by the act itself, but by why I’m knitting the item that I am.  I’m making a stripey scarf, in heather pink and a lovely purpely lilac shade called Hollyhock.  It’s to go in a shoebox along with other bits & pieces like toiletries & small gifts for ‘Operation Christmas Child’.  The charity collects such gift boxes and distributes them to children in various parts of the world.  Mine is geared towards an older girl – partly because they don’t get as many donations for older children & partly because I felt I could best identify with what an older child might like to receive.  The organisation asks for knitted items & the act of making this scarf has really consumed my thoughts to a level far beyond the concentration required for the actual knitting.  I just keep thinking about how some children in the world still go without so much that we take for granted – like a scarf to keep us warm – and how unfair it is. 

Thinking about the possible recipient of my box also bought my mind back to Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review.  As more possible announcements get leaked, it is becoming clearer that it will of course be the most vulnerable & needy in our own country will be hit hardest.  It was ever thus – not that this makes it right.  And I suppose, as always, those with the greatest means will complain the loudest.  There is so much injustice, so much that it is just plain wrong about the systems and structures in which we live, that it makes me beyond angry – it makes me sad. 

What can I do about?  How can I live my life in a way that makes a difference, however small?  I don’t know.  I keep coming up with more questions than answers.  I hope, at least, that this blog will help me to continue in at least raising the questions & prompting me to think about how I live my life and what I want to do with it – the direction in which I wish to go.  Now I’m on the verge of submitting my PhD, these questions become more crucial than ever.  I can make choices & decisions, and I hope to make them wisely.  In the mean time, I will try to make sure that the thought of the girl for whom I am knitting the scarf (& the many nearer to home who will be so much more adversely affected than I will on Wednesday) will keep my own situation in perspective.  A printer breaking down or running out of ink is really not a big deal.  I suspect I will need to repeat this like a mantra over the next day or so.

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