Parallel Universes

While I was on holiday in Venice, or rather, while I was in the aeroplane on my way to Venice, I was thinking about how life is compartmentalised. It is split into various boxes and, while sometimes these boxes sit next to each other, quite often, the contents never cross the barrier into the next one 

We have our work life, our home life. These days we often have an on-line life. More often than not, these are entirely separate, with the people that we know and love in one “life” never interacting with those in another “life”.

Take my life, for instance.

I have worked for my current firm for nearly seven years. I think that my wife has met my work colleagues once in that time. She has worked at the same place for ten years and I have never met any of hers. Now, apart from having a spouse who works in a particular organisation, I have nothing in common with her work colleagues, nor she with mine. Only on very rare occasions, it seems to me, do two worlds collide. 

It’s as if there really are our own parallel universes, between which we can jump, but others can’t. I jump into a parallel universe the moment I get into my car to go to work and jump back into the first one when getting out of it at the end of the day. Occupants of the “home” universe can’t follow me into my “work” universe, nor can I follow them into theirs. Yet, for most of our lives we share the same universe. The big question, from this mindless wander, is “Which of these universes is the real one?” Does it really mater?

Much depends upon how you see yourself. Are you a “Live to work” or a “Work to live” person? Whichever is the more important or dominant aspect of your life will tend to be the universe which you inhabit the most.  I would put myself firmly into the “Work to live” box, these days. (Have I ever been in any other?)

Occasionally, if we let them, the universes get fuzzy at the edges. I have blogged earlier about prepping to go on leave and on taking a Blackberry or iPhone on holiday to keep up with emails and the odd voicemail while away from the office. We allow the “work” and the “home” universes to overlap for a short time, before putting them back in their proper place.

None of this matters particularly, of course, unless one prefers being in one universe rather than another. Sometimes, we may want to be in an alternative, but circumstances, life or work prevent us from being able to. We have to learn to live within those universes that we have created for ourselves and over which we have some element control. No matter how much we might wish to be able to stay in one, or move to another, there are very few of us that have the privilege of being able to choose our universes for ourselves.

This is a great pity, really. We are only here once and we only pass this way once. How much better would it be if we could all choose the life we really wanted, rather than the life that we have?

This makes me sound dissatisfied with the life I have, which is certainly not the case. I have a good life. I have a loving family and good friends. I have a good and interesting job that pays the bills and allows me to take weeks in Venice every now and again. I have my cancer, but there are some very clever people looking after me the best that they can on a personal basis and more clever people trying to find better tools for them to use to help me. There are plenty of people who don’t have any of these things. But that doesn’t stop me thinking that having a choice about, for example, needing to go to work, might open up whole new worlds of possibilities for us all.

Perhaps what I really want is to win the lottery…

Venice, Buddies, Edinburgh, Snow

It never rains…

Had a great trip to Venice (again), with thanks to Mum and Dad for looking after Betsy. The weather wasn’t great for the whole of the week – it turned to rain when we went to florence for the day on the Wednesday and pretty much stayed like that for the rest of the week. It was more showers than full-on rain, so we didn’t do too bad.

The Palazzo Stern Hotel, adjacent to the Ca’Rezzonico vaporetto stop, was very good indeed. We must have had one of the cheaper rooms, as it didn’t have any windows, but this didn’t really matter. The lack of view was more than made up by the comfortable room,  excellent breakfast and friendly staff. Thanks to B&C for the recommendation.



Florence was a disappointment, but the weather may have had something to do with it. We had pre-bought tickets for the Uffizi Gallery – not a place I need to visit again. Once you have seen one “Madonna, Child and St John the Baptist” painting you have seen 500. For one of the world’s best galleries (allegedly), it’s surprisingly devoid of variety.

The Duomo is far better looking on the outside than inside, where, apart from the inside of the dome itself (which is spectacular), the church is almost undecorated. Very odd.


The Baptistry was closed, but we did walk up Giotto’s Campanile, which offers some great views.


Half a day is more than enough to see Florence in poor weather. I am glad we went, as we will no need to go back.

All in all, it was a very good week. Just a shame that some of my films have been lost in the post on their way to the processors… such is life. They are probably the Burano ones, which will be a real pity.

Having got back into the UK on the friday night, on the Saturday I attended my Buddy Training Day at the Lymphoma Association. a very interesting day, I must say. Very good to meet the other newbie-buddies as well as the team from the Association. I am now looking forward to my first buddy contact.

The following weekend involved a trip to Edinburgh to see daughter and boyfriend. Always nice to see them, especially since we didn’t see them at Christmas and it’s always nice to spend some time in Edinburgh – one of my favourite cities in the UK, if not Europe. The journey was made somewhat more interesting by some heavy snow as we got into the Borders – BMWs are terrible in the snow and the road to Biggar was not pleasant at all.

So, that’s March done for another year – I am rather hoping that Spring might deign to show its face some time soon. 6 inches of snow on 22nd really isn’t playing the game…