Giving up or breaking free?

As the new year unfolds, I’m considering dumping the dead wood in my life. In particular, I’m revisiting the idea of permanently abandoning the hobby that has consumed much of my life for the last decade or so.

I’ve had that thought off and on for years. Some days, the urge is very strong. Other days, it barely exists. But it is almost always there in some respect. The hobby, and the people I’ve met through it, energizes me but it drains me at the same time. At some point, a point quickly coming closer, the balance between the two is going to shift for the worse. I’d thought the friendships I’d built while pursuing this hobby might outlast the hobby, but most of them are already gone or so nearly gone that it makes no difference. So, what else keeps me there? And is it enough to make up for the soul leeching, the negativity that I can’t escape or avoid? Those are questions that I need to think long and hard about because, if I leave this time, I don’t think I’ll be back, and I’m not sure I’m prepared for the hole that will leave. My Jonathan Cainer horoscope for today:

The year is yet young but you are contemplating a plan that might move it on very quickly. If it succeeds, much will change. If not, well, how happy are you with your place on the current boat? Are you really ready to sink or swim? Might it be wiser to bide your time and play it safe? I only ask the questions. That’s the easy bit. You have to come up with the answers. That’s harder. One thing you should know, though: you can just as easily decide next week or even next month, as this weekend.

And my year ahead horoscope from him:

Imagine yourself, in 2009, as a locomotive going down a track. The line stretches out ahead, seemingly into the endless distance. Actually, though, around June, you won’t just come up against a set of points. You’ll effectively meet a giant turntable, capable of rotating the entire train. There will be new lines running off to all points on the compass and if you aren’t ready for this much choice, you may pick the most obvious, least exciting route. To be properly prepared for the impact of Mars in Taurus you need to start thinking now about why some things matter more than others.

A lot of your current plans and expectations are being set by your sense of limitation. Every time you think about where you would like to be and what you would like to be doing, you are brought up short by a sudden, uncomfortable recognition: ‘That can’t happen because of this, and that’s unlikely because of that.’ Your train has too many carriages attached. Instead of condensing their contents to make yourself more manoeuvrable, you just trundle along with your long load in tow, even using it as an excuse when there’s something you don’t want to do, ‘Oh, I’d love to attend your workshop on radicalising my railroad but there’s not enough room at your station for me to stop.’

That’s why you may initially miss those empty trucks when later this year, you encounter the ability to remove them. You’ve been travelling like this for a long time. You’re used to it. Your friends and loved ones are too. If you reduce the amount you take responsibility for, some folk may feel threatened. Especially the hobo, down the back of the line who has made a home in one of your outlying goods wagons.

He doesn’t want anything to alter and he’s going to do his best to send messages of fear, doubt, even betrayal into the ear of the controller of your inner engine room. Be ready for that. Be ready too, to stop thinking of yourself as a train and to see yourself as a swift, sleek car, capable of running where there are no rails. Coming up in 2009 is a chance to choose from options that would once have sounded like distant dreams. Prepare to head off, considerably less constrained and encumbered, down a wide open road towards financial stability and emotional fulfilment.

Latest update: Have you ever lived an easy life? Has there ever really been a time when you have not been ‘up against it’? Could 2009 let you off the hook? Actually, it could! The ‘it’ you keep coming up against changes every so often. Sometimes, it is ‘time’. Sometimes it is ‘money’. Sometimes it’s ‘authority’. Or ‘trouble’. Or ‘challenge’. We know what form it has taken for the last year or two. We really don’t need to say much more about that. It’s enough to know that soon, the old problem won’t be a problem any more. Or, at least, not a problem of the same magnitude.

And those solutions you have struggled so hard to find during 2008? Some are about to start working. Then, there’ll be a gap in your life where there used to be an almost constant source of stress. So tell me, please. What are you planning to fill it with?

Careful. Remember what happened last time you got yourself out of a hole! Remember the spade you grabbed and the new hole you determinedly dug. Remember, too, that spades, and holes, aren’t always easy to spot. Life covers them in glitter. The cosmos makes them seem tempting. ‘Oh go on… you know you want this…’ You can have a lot of what you want in 2009. You can change a lot that’s wrong and fix a lot that’s broken. But you’re only going to get the quieter, calmer, easier sweeter life you say you want… if you’ve had enough hardship!

We’ll see how that plays out.

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