I was in Dubai recently for the night. I flew down to catch up with a mate. The pommy ex-pats were what I expected in Dubai. Pleasant and happy, they live in a bubble the Pan-Arabian Enquirer brilliantly sends up. Their lives are parties and somewhat empty. Everyone knows this is transitory and so why not enjoy it. No one stays in Dubai to old age so it remains a hedonistic hairdown place, relatively for the Middle East.
I revelled in the party. Being an outsider and with an even greater transitory lifestyle (hey, I was there for one night), I talked openly fearing not what they thought. I was funny but direct, holding court according to reports! James, my mate, need not worry. I was in my element. This was just another travelling night except with a less interesting audience. When they asked me where I worked, my reply, Qatar, brought a slight recoil and look of fear into their eyes. ‘Isn’t it a bit strict there?’ I replied it felt no real different to Dubai. But what they were truly fearful of was a premature end to their pampered life.
The next day I spoke to Linden on skype for 2 hours. She is back in the States and so while she ate breakfast and I chewed on dinner, we shared a coffee and a tea and Linden proceeded to put on one of her wisest performances to date. I know she cares a lot about me, dare say loves me as a friend. We’ve been through a lot together, at low points and some remarkable highs across a range of countries. Our relationship has now matured to the point where we think of each other and know what really is digging at our souls. Right now she is clearly on an up. I am fluctuating.
I’ve decided to leave Qatar for the right reasons and feel much happier for it. Only the odd thing could change my mind. Where I go next is just to be arranged but there are plenty of options. However Linden clearly dissected everything else that’s nagging me. She took on my hypocrisy head-on, telling me what I knew and confessed but am unable to rectify, unable to get my head around. The pill I just can’t swallow. She worked point by point and came to a conclusion with two possible answers. As we all know, it’s time to put up or shut up.
Being a Libra, I am meant to be indecisive or more accurately, take time to reach decisions. However I don’t believe that nonsense despite it’s uneerringly accuracy. Linden’s choices are stark, honest and true. They are also tough, heart-breakingly so. It’s going to be a break from past behaviour. It’s been coming a long time. And my head feels lighter for it. I’ve watched my friends get married, have kids or start their own businesses with pride but no jealousy. I still don’t long for any of that. But I no longer see them as traps.
I remember my friend Nev sitting back with his drink outside his cafe discussing life as ever. ‘I’ve never owned so many shoes mate.’ His life had changed. He know owned non-disposable objects. He had his cafe, his boyfriend and his shoes along with everything else. He looked out at life with a different perspective. Linden gave me an option to take a step back from my life cut all looser ties and focus on myself, stop with the games and bravado and simplify, taking time away from the show. That show is me and it’s been travelling, cutting in and out of lives and skipping around elements for as long as I can remember. Its time for a change.