Thursday, 14 January 2010

Adding to the Equation

This week I have been alone in my huge house with absolutely nothing to do. The books I talked about previously still have yet to arrive, I have been reliably informed that these should arrive on Monday. I knew I was going to be alone this week for a year now, and at the time I had high hopes that I would actually make some progress with my work during this free period. It was a year ago this week that I travelled to my hometown of Adelaide to see Tegan and Sara put on a terrific show. Although that was the primary objective for my trip, it was partly a whistlestop reunion tour for my parents. Catching up with old friends and family was important to them, given they had resided in the city of churches for over four decades, whereas Adelaide had only occupied a comparatively small fifteen years of my existence. As they conducted the majority of their tour I spent my time reading Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. As ever I remained keen to look forward, not back.

Sometimes to my detriment I have always been a planner. I knew I wanted to be involved in politics at aged 12, initially as a Federal politician, and eventually to become Prime Minister. Although I wouldn’t be opposed to that eventual career path it seems more likely that I will become a political strategist or academic now. A slight change of plan yes. That may come with age but its also largely due to my inherent pragmatism. If you were devise an equation that illustrated my life it would be pragmatism + planning = the future.

And so with a lot of time on my hands and no Twilight Saga to read this time, I have actually had time to think about what my future might actually look like. The big picture stuff is easy for me, I know what I want to be doing, I know where I want to be living and so on. Readers might notice that I again refer to the individual and myopic aspects of the future, no mention of the people who will surround me as I carve out this path.

Every single person who comprises the G6 I mentioned a few months ago has disappeared this week for various reasons. They say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and whilst this may be true to a certain extent, it has highlighted what an important role they play in my life. I’ve begun to think of them as just as important in my future as the ALP, and as hard as it is to believe they never really entered into this thought process before. They existed as vaguely abstract notions, I took it as a given that they would play a part in my life: I didn’t need them, they were just an added bonus. I realise now I need them more than ever.

I understand more than ever I need these friendships if anything just to keep my sane, but some for more than that. I have just spent the afternoon carving out a realistic portrait of what a future might look like post PhD completion in 2012. We’re not just talking about what a twelve month period would look like either. They all might be at my Parliament House to see my maiden speech. They may well see the dawn of a Winther government as I address party faithful. I know that they all will feature in the acknowledgements section of my first book.

To see decades into the future terrifies most people. It is why they prefer to take trips down memory lane and try to indulge in past glories that can never be recaptured. It is easy to do that. The past teaches us things yes, but the future some say is uncertain. I believe that is bullshit. I could die tomorrow perhaps, but I have always held the belief that we make our own future. I know that I am destined to be involved in social democratic politics that is easy to predict. It is much tougher for me to recognise that I needed my people, but more importantly how much I love them. That love is what I know will carry me through the halls of parliament or academia. Them and Tegan and Sara. At least Adelaide confirmed that much.

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