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Warning Sign

The fear of being left behind is an instinctive feeling that first appears in childhood; we are in a unfamiliar, crowded place, entranced by the chaos of light and sound around us. It is only gradually that we realise that we don't know anyone we're seeing. Once the seed of that dread takes root, it flowers rapidly, killing off any joy we felt earlier and replacing that with a cold, heaviness in the pit of our stomach, a feeling that suffocates as each second ticks by. Then, out of the panic, we will see our loved one or hear them call. Relief will wash over us and life will go on but we'll never be rid of that all-consuming fear.

When colleagues announce their resignations, having secured better jobs, we'll have mixed feelings. Genuine gladness that their hard work, suffering, tenacity and talent have paid off, is often shaded by the familiar fear; That we're getting left behind. In this case, other feelings will join in. Inadequacy, self-doubt, ennui (apparently pronounced onway), a little bit of self-directed anger, a surge of adrenalin, desperately critical evaluation of the pitiful portfolio, self-recrimination, yada yada yada.

A combination of emotions similar to those shared by those poor sods in the movie 'The Great Escape', who don't, instead watching McQueen, Attenborough, Bronson and the rest mosey out of there.

At the end of the day, they're leaving and we didn't even think about digging a tunnel, never mind come up with creative warning signals.

Moving on.

When you've been single a long time, you do tend to confuse infatuation with genuine feelings of liking someone. It makes you blind to almost everything that is and could be wrong with the person. And speaking from personal experience, no good ever comes of it. It does not evolve into something more healthy; instead, it will burrow into your head, and turn your rational self into a blathering idiot. It is an unfortunate situation, but will only leave you picking up whatever is left of your dignity, pride and heart and attempting to glue them back together. Time heals wounds and all, but even it can't do much if you repeatedly keep stabbing yourself in the same place.

Of course, you only realise it is infatuation in hindsight. But, when you've been single a long time, infatuation is often all you have. Then what?

Song for the moment: Don't panic - Coldplay

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