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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

C'est La Vie

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

The pithier and even upbeat French expression of the resigning ‘that’s life’, is all too often what I find to be my most adept way of describing the less inhibiting misfortunes, whilst clinging to what is left of my sanity as I enter the forth decade of my little life.

C’est la vie is one of the litany of clichés that I use all too frequently, as opposed to being one of the many ‘borrowed’ words (‘when are we then going to give it back?’ was the question that automatically sprang to my base mind; thankfully I refrained from ever actually asking) from another language. But I think that it’s a rather healthy sentiment.

In this context, although I’d class the beginning year as positive overall, I have directly been faced with several significant challenges; ‘unnecessary difficulties’. This is indeed what I hold as the best way to describe them.

Witnessing my girlfriend Sarah being forced out of the country, in having to return to her homeland of the USA. Whilst I cannot be bothered to go on a rant about Britain’s increasingly barbaric (I feel that the consequences of this will soon provide enough comeuppance in itself!) immigration policy, the realities of which were not pleasant to endure. Of course, I should not wish for a split second to impose that this ordeal was anything like as much of an ordeal to me as it were for Sarah.

Though we had known the unbending fierceness of the situation for quite some time, the reality of a distance relationship is a large adjustment. Having said that, things are working so well at the moment… Regular FaceTime sessions and already having booked a ticket To New York next month, all that can really be said is that ‘time will tell’ is the most accurate idiom to use. Whatever happens, I’m as sure as I can be, that we want to be in it for the long haul!

So with yet another of the realities that life so unerringly likes to plunge upon you, forcing you to grow-up some more – of course, without your say-so, behind your back – and I can’t help but latch on to whatever I have that seems sustainable. There is nothing that you should ever expect to rely on or trust anybody but yourself, is thealmost dystopian old adage that could recently appear to have been reiterated in my glazed eyes.

As my last post Shrinking rather than Growing explores, my first experience in having something that I could rely upon fail, was witnessed in the relationship with my therapist ending. In itself, this is something that I found manageable in itself. However, this was coupled with the stringent and dare I say, necessary, college bureaucracy.

London is awash with therapists. Finding a therapist sounds like taking a walk in the park, right?

Well not quite, as not only does my prospective counsellor (there really are hundreds, if not thousands to sift through) have to have a minimum of 3 year’s practising experience, but they have to be of my Integrative persuasion. This is not information that is all always so easily accessible.

Suffice to say that after numerous emails sent, I had already seen 2 therapists that it turned out did not quite fulfil the specialised criteria. Third time lucky I thought, going with a positive persuasion. Yes, I felt that I really clicked with this conveniently local (my previous attempts to commute to West Hampstead to afford some distance clearly failed last time!) therapist on Saturday. Only it transpired after around 40 minutes of a 50 minute session, that she in fact lacked sufficient experience. By only a cat’s whisker though at having over 2 and a half years of the mandatory 3 years of experience.

In respect of the requirement being clearly stipulated, I rapidly sent an email to my college to see whether any exception may be made under this circumstance. Never allowing myself to be deluded in any optimism, I still pledged to find another therapist. Within a almost a full working week, I had not heard any yay or nay from my college in relation to the query surrounding the latest therapist that I had found.

It just seemed to underestimate the pressure of having to ensure that as Level 4 Diploma Counselling Students, you’d receive no less than 30 hours of therapy per year. I’ve already got 11 verified, although there is some concern that they will not all be counted, as along with many of my contemporaries, unaware that my therapist would need to approved by the college before their hours could count. The fact that they cannot under any circumstances be backdated, would qualify as almost an antonym to holistic in my eyes.

Managing to find yet another therapist, we enjoyed another introductory session yesterday evening. Looking forward to establishing this relationship as I left the door, was tarnished almost simultaneously to my exiting the door on Shoreditch High Street. This was upon seeing a new message in the inbox that I have displayed on my iPhone telling me that in appreciation of my efforts and honesty, they will make an almost unheard of exception in my circumstance to me having so persevered with trying to get a therapist.

Talk about all or nothing. There then was a reversal from nothing coming at all my way, to then feeling as though I again had the luxury of choice. Like most of life’s little stresses, they are incredibly mundane, not to mention boring, when you relate them. Apologies.

The lesson here is that after numerous email back and fourths, all seems to be back on track. Though this took quite some time for me to digest, in light of the overall stresses that I have felt thanks to the obligatory requirement to find a therapist, do a 2500-5000 word essay for next month and attending the placement that I have been awarded tomorrow. So, nothing serious, but you know when life just seems to be playing with the ease of what should feel simp?

I’ll not tempt fate by talking about anything related to the placement that I shall begin tomorrow morning. Although all is then going well with my Counselling course at City Lit College at the minute, I seem to have an overload of angst within me and perhaps this is largely the residue of Sarah and I being temporarily thousands of miles apart… Ultimately though, a significant amount of the issues with my studies are actually getting solved.

Going with the old clichéd optimism, nothings perfect and maybe we should just celebrate more of the things we have that are going well. The rough inevitably comes with the smooth and our human condition simply does not allow us to take heed and appreciate things properly when they are all going well. Nobody likes a victim.

C’est la vie!

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