Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
—The Beach Boys, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”
You can tell I’m feeling a lot of emotions at the moment, since this is my third post in a week, after a long drought!
If I metaphorically died in 2011, then 2012 would be the year I was reborn, kicking and screaming, into this terrible and uncaring world. By extension, 2013 would be a happy childhood (despite a few problems, I genuinely enjoyed that year), merging into my teenage years in late 2013 and the first half of 2014. Unfortunately, the past few months, where I’ve been made redundant and tried so very hard to get into IT, have been like the very worst parts of growing up and facing responsibility — because now I might have to give up the things that made the past two years of my life not only bearable, but spectacular…
Climbing at the Castle in 2012 started me on the road to physical health, and in addition enabled me to socialise to some extent (when you consider I essentially never went out in the evening otherwise). Starting to see my personal trainer in 2013 massively helped this along — under his guidance I’ve achieved things I would otherwise never have even suspected I could do — but I think of him as a friend rather than just a PT, and I think that if I ever had to stop seeing him (due to moving away from London, say), I’d feel like a vital part of me was being ripped out. Not visiting the Castle any more would certainly suck, but not having his guidance and support would be like losing a limb…
(Yeah, here we go, accusations of “bromance”…)
The same goes for the Meetup.com groups I discovered in 2013 — I sincerely doubt I’d find anything as good outside London — and my dating coach, not to mention being able to hang out with “best mate” for various adventures. Living out in Surrey, where my mother wants me to find work, would make it rather harder for me to get into the centre, especially in the evenings after work — meetup groups having helped me come out of my shell and interact with actual human beings (not to mention get the occasional date).
And then there’s this house: despite all the problems (for example, I’m going to have to ask the landlady if she can send her men in to clear out the loft so a surveyor from British Gas can see about getting us free loft insulation, so that it’s not always so COLD in here!), this is the house where I came back to life in 2012, and I’ve made my life here — and while I may bitch about the Northern Line when it goes wrong, it’s a Tube line I’m used to and can cope with, and indeed sit down and read on (using buses and the Overground to commute at the moment is very unpleasant).
I actually find myself — and I genuinely never thought this would happen — missing working at Camden: the job may have been below my intelligence level, and the annoying woman may have been, er, annoying on a daily basis, but it’s only hit me since leaving just what a rockstar lifestyle I was able to have, thanks to my take-home pay (over £1,700pcm when I was acting up). But maybe I was getting too comfortable, and sinking into another rut, like the one which culminated in my quasi-death in 2011…
Is it time to move on and get a “proper” job? Do I need to come out of my “second childhood” and commit myself to suffering along with all the other grown-ups, putting away “childish things”? Or am I just in this funk because I’m stuck in unrewarding shift work, just as winter sets in, and feel trapped, and am I under no obligation to give up anything since I could always find a decent IT job right here in London, and get my evenings and weekends back again? Indeed, am I just focusing on eminently replaceable things that I could actually find outside London, and worrying about losing things that I don’t need to keep?
To be honest, I doubt I could get a “proper”, mega-well-paid, high-responsibility job in IT at my current level of experience — I simply need to put in more hours as a bum, learning as I go. I also need to find a job at a big organisation, with room for progression and promotion, rather than a two-bit company like the one I’m at now, but I may need to do more jobs like this one in the short term. I reckon I’ll need to slum it as a Level 1 tech support for at least another six months, maybe a year, before I can get something more substantial — and thus, referring back to this post, I’m going to say that I want to stay in London, carry on doing the things I enjoy, and live in this house, at least until the summer of 2015.
Upheavals are always difficult, but in the dark days of winter they’re almost unendurable (as I know only too well) — perhaps by the time the Sun spends more time in than out of the sky, I’ll be ready to move on with my life, and bid a fond farewell to the things that made me happy during my resurrection, as I seek new challenges and rewards…
(I should confess, I’m tearing up as I write this… oh well, tears are just anxiety leaving the body — better out than in!)
As a postscript, I should apologise to my mother if she’s reading this (hey, someone has to be) and feels she’s gone too far in pressurising me to get a job outside London. I know she hates living in Worthing and wants to get on with her life as well, and that she feels she can’t sell up and move to Surrey until I have some idea where I’m going to work in the long term, so I can live there too and commute. I would respond that it doesn’t matter where I work, as long as the house is reasonably close to a train line that comes into London — and in any case, one day I’ll learn to drive and thus be able to commute anywhere I damn well please — so I would hope my mother could find somewhere we’d both be happy to live, and I’d find a way to work around it.
Of course, my real dream is that somehow I’ll be able to emigrate to the USA and live out my days there, but it’d require marrying an American woman, and much as I’d love to find such a wife, it’s not altogether likely — perhaps I need to be realistic instead, as I’m not getting any younger. But isn’t hope, however fanciful, our driving force in life…?