Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Meaning of Mount Misery ...

This is Mount Misery ...

although by now ...
it looks like this ...

About a week ago our neighbours, who live behind us, started to build another house next to ours. It means we will lose the lovely sea view we have from the kitchen and dining area. It will change into a View of a Wall. In addition we will unfortunately lose our morning sun as the new house will be built very close to ours.
Also, this week, a major project I have been relying on to provide work for the next two months was canned by the publisher.
So I have been contemplating the meaning of these annoyances and disappointments in one's life. These Blights on the Horizon of one's Happiness, so to speak. (Just to qualify - I am talking about average frustrations here, not true suffering like having a terminal illness or losing a loved one or having one's house bombed - I would not presume to have the insight or experience to philosophise about such things.)
I have come to two conclusions:
1) Everything is changing, transient, fleeting. When you lose something (like a sea view, in my case), it is a reminder of the transience of life. And that makes one's experience of it so much keener, don't you think? Now, when I wash the dishes, I lift my eyes not only to experience the joy of my Jesse Breytenbach print, but also to linger on the beautiful sea beyond. I am seeing it again, and seeing it properly, for the very reason that I now know it is not permanent, not 'mine', and indeed never was.

2) When something falls through, it is disappointing, true, but it means that one is now free to experience or do something else. A simple mind shift. There is no point nor benefit to focus on the could-haves and the if-onlys.
Dear friends, I hope you are having a great weekend - the weather here is glorious. Glorious! I might go for a swim later ...

13 comments:

curious girl (lisa) said...

you have the most amazing attitude about this GREAT loss! I would be devastated and mad and throwing frequent temper tantrums. kudos to you for your mature perspective and grace.

it is a beautiful view.

editor said...

a swim? that sounds refreshing.
a very healthy reflection on disappointment. i had some curves thrown at me this past week and i told someone, they are upsetting issues, but not so bad compared to the problems of others. perspective is a very priceless thing.

Linda Sue said...

That house in the way really chaps my ass! Perhaps there is a way to build another layer on top of your house, though I realize there are most likely height restrictions, that is the case here but also there's a rule that you are not to block other houses view of the bay. That includes trees! There have been a few who are piggy about it, less neighborly but the law usually spanks them...That is a wonderful freeing view from your window!

sunmamma said...

What an awesome attitude!!!

Mary-Laure said...

Great attitude. I would so kill me to lose a view of the ocean...

Anairam said...

lisa - Well, it is not really that bad - we still have a view from the front window (that is if Bob, who lives across the road from us, does not add another storey to his house, as he has been threatening to do!)

editor - In the end, I did not go for a swim (we live a 5-minute walk away from the beach) - I had to finish a proofreading job, but I did go for a long walk. Yes, everything is relative. It feels a bit ridiculous to make a fuss when many people in this country do not own a house, and many do not even live in one.

linda sue - When we bought the house, there was this stretch of lawn next to ours, which belonged to the neighbours whose house is behind ours, at an angle. I thought it would always just be part of their garden! At that stage the plans for the new house had already been approved, but the then owners of our house and the estate agent said not a word! Naughty, naughty people. (On the other hand, maybe it is good that they didn't, because that might have put us off, and it is SUCH a lovely little house, really!) And as I've said above, even though we wil lose much of our view, we will still have a view from the front window. And if we lose ALL of our view, we can still walk down to the beach! We are lucky!!

sunmamma - I have learnt in life that there is really no point in going on about things that you cannot change. Or mulling over stuff that happened in the past. Or pining for things you do not have. There is one life, THIS one, and soon it will be over, never to come around again, so better to make the most of it and enjoy what you have!

marie-laure - It is not that bad! (see above). Our beach is greatly appreciated by all dogs - Benjy would LOVE it!

kendalee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kendalee said...

Jeesh!!! Not good. I think you're entitled to feel a bit miffed. But you're right, it doesn't really help to dwell on it, and I too admire the attitude you're taking to it. If it makes you feel ANY better at all, my view looks across a courtyard into my neighbour's front room (when I even bother to look over there) and he likes to dry his underwear in front of the window (or parade around in it) - NOT a pretty sight!

Anonymous said...

Oy! I know exactly how you feel. Over the past 3 years in two locations we have had 5 (five!)sets of neighbours building, renovating, etc. It can be hugely stressful if one allows it to take control of one's life. Which I did initially. But I more or less adopted your attitude and decided to not participate in destroying my own happiness.

Khaled KEM said...

Thanks for your comments.

Khaled 3 is a long poem I started to write one line at a time or a short paragraph subject related. I named it 3 because initially I wanted to have only 3 words for each line bringing contrast, or same meaning with symbolism to think about it.

As for your post I know exactly what you mean because it happened once to me but I appreciate the way you made your conclusions and turned it all around, it shows how thoughtful and wise person you are.

Enjoy your swim while I am freezing here in Canada, it's - 16ºC.

My Castle in Spain said...

that is a bummer...i had the same problem when i first lived on the coast here in Spain...
perhaps you could grow a beautiful bougainvillea by your kitchen window to make up.
but it's so good that you remain cool about it!
Now about the work, hope you soon have a bunch of proofreading coming your way...
:-)

Freshly Found said...

How sad to lose that lovely view. Glad you'll still have some from the front window! A view is such a healing thing!

Anairam said...

mcis - Bougainvillea - probably not - there is just a narrow staircase on that side and then the wall separating us from the neighbours' plot. BUT I like your idea of plants of some sort - I can have some pots on the kitchen window sill - will have to gauge the sun situation first - there may not be enough light ...

freshly found - Yes, and I am appreciating it anew!