not-so-Great Expectations

Despite being a voracious reader as a child and teenager, one author I could never appreciate was Dickens. Despite my efforts, I found his prose style impenetrable, like an over-cluttered Victorian parlour, and his characters either grotesque caricatures, or flat puppets. In particular, I thought that his female characters were either demented or drips. And I had little respect for the male heroes who fell in love with soppy heroines who had less personality than a picnic basket.

I am abashed to say that I found much more to relate to in Jilly Cooper’s jolly romps in tosh like Emily, Imogen, Octavia and Bella. Those man-mad heroines always got the lantern-jawed, thrillingly stern hero in the end, and had no end of fun on the way…

So Dickens was left on the shelf while I grew up a bit. Nowadays I still cannot read his novels but am prepared to sit through film or television adaptations. The photo above is Gillian Anderson giving a brilliant Miss Havisham in the BBC’s 2011 version of Great Expectations. (In case you have the same Dickens allergy as I do, there is a plot summary here.)

Miss Havisham is a splendidly crazed old woman who was jilted on her wedding day and stalks about her closed-up house wearing her moth-eaten wedding dress. This is how she has chosen to deal with the gap between reality and her expectations. Elsewhere in the novel misunderstandings arise because of assumptions made by the hero, which turn out to be grossly incorrect. As (ex)boozers, didn’t we deal with the gap between expectations and reality by trying to fill it with wine? And didn’t that work just as badly as deciding never to take your wedding dress off again?

When I was replying to comments on my previous post this morning Β – aw, shucks folks πŸ˜‰ – I noticed something that post had in common with what I posted when I reached 100 days. I commented in both posts that the experience was not what I expected it to be. So, is that a thing for me? Expectations?

I know that other life experiences – working life, marriage, parenthood – have very seldom been what I expected. Not worse, exactly. Just different. Different in the same way that an actual house differs from a child’s drawing of one.

actually, this is not far off πŸ˜‰

When I drafted my 180 day promise I intentionally made very specific committments about what I would do to be sober. I wanted to be precise about what I wanted to achieve and how I would go about it. I hope that when I get to 180 days I will be able to look at how I have spent my time, and say, “Yes, I achieved that. No, I didn’t do that.” Because I want what I am doing to be considered, and measureable, so that I know whether I have achieved it, or not.

One of the things I promised was to create mini-milestones and celebrate those too. So I am delighted to report that I am doing that right now.

I AM FOUR MONTHS SOBER TODAY.

Good golly Miss Molly. This calls for another necklace! (You’ll have to scroll down the page on the link to see it.) You’ll see that it’s a charm necklace with a vintage pink crystal teapot and silver teacup, symbolising my newfound love for raspberry herb tea.

Four months, you guys. I am pretty proud of myself. Thanks for being here.

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