But, at the same time, I feel I am close to a realization about my self image. Close, but not quite there. I have been doing a lot of thinking. As an eternal pedestrian - the world is a much safer place without me behind the wheel - I get a lot of time to think... Often lately it's been about me, and my place in the world.
It's strange that, for many years, I felt I was exactly the same person, inside and out. Then for a while, I felt I had become a lot snappier and intolerant to others, but was still the same person inside. These days, I often feel that I'm probably a very different person inside to the one I felt I used to be. My internal voices now chatter away quite differently, in so many ways. It makes me wonder how gradual this change of inner voices has been. Would it have happened if I'd stayed in the same job, or house, or support networks, as before.
Sometimes it doesn't take much to dislodge one's internal paradigms about The Way Things Are. For a long time, it felt as in my job as a teacher-librarian, and my voluntary position of president of two science fiction media fan clubs, constantly required me to make important leadership decisions, and also to be a role model to other potential leaders. Only some of these leadership opportunities faded away due to action on my part.
Filling in the Australian Census form last week made me recall that, five years ago, I was satisfied by almost everything in my life. As I filled in that Census form in 2001, I was keenly aware that my job, at the time - editor of a professional journal for teacher-librarians - was so unique; that noone else was filling in their forms with exactly the same occupation information. I restrained myself from putting "Jedi Knight" down as my religion. Not too hard to resist that one, being a Star Trek fan and all that. I had also just moved house, and had plenty of empty space for All My Precious Stuff.
So here's a diversion from this flow-of-consciousness: my other house. A quaint little clay holiday house, originally from the old Bandi City on a planet called Deneb IV. It's no longer located on Deneb IV, of course. Somehow it was transported backwards through time and space - and is situated on a plot of grass from the Genesis Planet. Yes, it's my Little Bandi House on the Prairie. I wonder if they require Census forms to be filled out for that?
This time, on Census night, I was back being a primary school teacher, a job so common it was regularly printed as an example in the Census form. Physically, I carry less mass than I did five years ago, but there's nowhere on the form to record that factoid. I'm at the same address as last time, but have filled up most of the empty spaces in the house in just five years. Some cardboard boxes of My Precious Stuff are yet to be unpacked from when I moved. (And they say that if one hasn't unpacked a box in five years, then its contents are no longer needed...)
In a few weeks, I find out if I'm moving back into a teacher-librarianship role. So, will it immediately present me with leadership opportunities again? And will the inner voices revert to a previous state, or is my old self gone/transformed forever? It's scary, but it's exciting.
Bloody Census, making me all introspective. Bloody blog.