'Odysseus and me' by Andrea Goldsmith

I have always believed that, at a personal level, anything is possible, that if I desire to be a particular someone or do a particular something, I can. All my desires have been realistic: no hankerings for time travel or reinvention as a theoretical physicist, although both have enormous appeal. My desires have been possibilities: working as a volunteer in Africa, joining a choir, mountaineering, falling helplessly in love, winning the Booker. The only impediments would be lack of ability, lack of application, and/or lack of courage – all of which, given enough time, could be overcome.

Time, once as abundant as air, is now suddenly in short supply. One day everything seemed possible, and the next, my life wasn’t exactly on its knees, but neither was it leaping with anticipation.

When did it happen that all the things I planned to do became the things I will never do? I will never climb a mountain, I will never win the Booker, I will never sleep alone in the outback under a big Australian sky; even the choir and the hot love affair have gone the way of all flesh. The list of things not done, so recently sparkling with possibility, had turned to sludge. Hard not to feel a failure. Harder still not to wallow in self-blame for so much unused life.

Then my spirits lifted.

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Published in April 2018, no. 400