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Of Mice and Men

“Life is no good without a companion to turn to in times of confusion and need”

Recently I attended an audition for the local theatre groups production of “Of Mice and men”. And it dawned on me that I felt really drawn to the play. I studied it at school (like so many) and I don’t recall feeling quite so, attached, to it then. I mean I enjoyed it. But during the audition and read through I thought I can really understand these characters and their motives.

Partly I think it’s because I’ve grown up enough to really understand the themes and the characters and the general plot line. But partly I think it really resonates with me as a carer. George is Lennie’s carer, and there are a fair few parts where George tells Lennie how much better off he could be without Lennie holding him back. He could work, then spend his free time living it large (not his exact words but a nice modern interpretation for you). I know all carers have these feelings, that there are times when we dream of all the things we could have done, would have done, should have done? But ultimately, like George, we know we wouldn’t be without our caree.

The thing it all boils down to though, is dreaming of another *better* life. We all dream of something better, but when the reality of a new life hits, does it ever seem as good as the dream? Is the grass ever greener? Reality is, dreaming won’t make things better. It’s a good place to start, but you have to work to make dreams come true. And be sure they really are what you want.

The book/play also has a resounding theme of loneliness, which was exactly how I was feeling when I went for the audition. Since I moved I think I’ve spoken to one person my age. And I just want some time to be young. Unfortunately there were no young people at the audition either, but it was nice to be doing something, and thinking of something that wasn’t caring. And to feel part of a community again. Much like Curley’s wife (the part I auditioned for) I absolutely crave someone to talk to, to flirt with, to feel appreciated by, to be young and reckless with.

Another thing the book made clear to me was that happiness can’t ever be pure. We may well achieve the things we want, dream of, but so often they can be tarnished by sadness, loss, grief. For would we ever be able to feel the happiness if we had not felt sadness?

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