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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Fear

It's always nice to be woken up to find yourself invited to a social happening. A movie, gigs, the beach... the permutations are endless. However, it's a sign of the economic times that for every text message I get inviting me to a gig I get another one inviting me to an event in a totally different country and wouldn't I like to move there altogether?

Alright, friends, you want me to leave the country. I get the picture. Thanks a bunch. In the past month alone I have been invited to New York and London (and, inexplicably, Tokyo), but, through the fatal combination of inertia and a paralysing fear of change, I find myself unable to leave. We daydream endlessly, but all we seem to do is play a weird cyclical game of Chinese Whispers, where we start out in Sydney and end up in Beirut, then decide that it's too confusing and that we should just stay where we are.

I would love to go to New York or London (The main incentives remain a subterranean train system and the ability to buy cheap food from a tiny silver cart on the street), stay there for a year or two and return with a richer life experience and hopefully, a nice fat wallet. My friends, generally speaking, are all the same.

Most of us have been traumatised by the economic goings-on of the past year and have been working very hard. So hard in fact, that if we even get the slightest sniff of a better job prospect that we cling to it for dear life like a limpet to a slippery rock in a hurricane. What if we left, then came home to find that every job in Ireland had evaporated and we were due to die alone (and poor) because we made the foolish step of emigrating?

If we as a nation are emerging from a recession hangover, then people of my generation all have the Fear. For the uninitiated, the Fear is the paralysing anxiety that usually accompanies a queasy stomach and an inability to remember what happened the night before.

Unfortunately for us, we remember all too clearly what insalubrious happenings we were subject to. Ironically, it is the past that is holding us back from barrelling into the future head-first, and any other country that might hold a different future for us.