When I’m at home I often wrestle with guilt. It’s fairly inconsequential guilt. A middle-age, middle-class, Generation-X kind of guilt. Not really worth writing about. Yet, I have.
It goes something like this. I want to sit in front of the TV with The Husband watching TV, but also want to spend a bit of time in the home office scribbling things down. When I choose to spend time doing ‘my things’ I end up feel guilty: if I was a proper husband I’d not think twice about sitting on the sofa with the other half. Conversely, when I sit watching the TV I end up feeling as though I’m being forced to deny myself the things I’d really prefer doing.
If I wasn’t aware of the benefits of self-deprecation (thankfully I am), I’d describe this conflict as ‘complex’. It’s not. Not at all.
What surprises me is, in comparison to how I marshalled my free time when I was out in Serbia last week, how the conflict I’ve just described actually helps me achieve exactly what I want.
Last week, I didn’t write (over and above these journal entries and the occasional post about Eurovision), I didn’t read any books, and I didn’t catch up on any of my personal emails. I went to bed late too. In fact, where my personal endeavours were concerned, I failed to achieve anything. And yet last week — with all that free time and no husband to tug on my emotions — I was free to do exactly as I wanted.
It’s only now when I’m back home that I’m writing, reading, and emailing.
It’s as though relative freedom actually hampers free will. Who knew?