My brain’s rebelled. It just won’t accept nice things happening to me. It just keeps fantasising… horribleness!
Rimmer, Red Dwarf (S2E2: “Better Than Life”)
I seem to be right where I want to be: doing a job that’s not too hard, has nice hours and a location I can get to on the Tube, with money coming in; while it’s a contract job, and I haaaaate working as a contractor (what Satanic hellspawn came up with the worker-punishing idea of the umbrella company? A politician, I’m sure!), and the pay’s pretty lousy, the company is good and I’m told there’ll be a chance of longer-term or even permanent work there — the whole reason they needed me in the first place is that they’re setting up a new team, so you never know…
Despite living paycheque to paycheque for the time being, I’m still able to do the things I enjoy — going to yoga, being personally tortured, climbing, hanging out with “best mate”, or just sitting at home playing games. Yeah, I need to cut back on my social activities and concentrate on studying (I wonder if it’s a record how long I’ve been putting off doing my Server 2008 exam!), but I can certainly do that. The weather’s also improving, and soon we might not need the heating on at all — spring is always a time of renewal, and this year it’s very welcome.
But am I altogether too lucky to have what I have at the moment, and is it a precarious situation that could end in the wink of an eye? What have I done to deserve, for example, such an easy journey to work when so many people have to endure longer journeys, possibly by multiple forms of public transport? (My boss, for example, has to come all the way from the outer reaches of the Metropolitan Line…) Do I deserve a job I like and can actually perform reasonably well, after my utter failure to commit to the shift-based job in November that led to unemployment? Why should I be able to afford to eat at Nando’s now and then when people in this country are going to food banks? Should I resign myself to a miserable “adult” life, put away childish things and suffer along with everyone else?
Stupid, innit? I’ve got to stop feeling unworthy of a good situation and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I’ve got enough money for now, as well as the support of my mother and grandmother if anything goes wrong, and they haven’t fired me at work yet (indeed, no-one’s complained about me at all so far, which has to be some kind of record). It’s wrong to tell someone they shouldn’t feel bad because someone else has it worse than them, so it should also be wrong for me to tell myself I shouldn’t feel good about my life!
Don’t worry, though, there’s still conflict: remember the day of work I did in December? The agency still haven’t paid me, and on the rare occasions I can get an answer out of them, they continue to insist it’s because the council where I worked haven’t paid them yet. I’ve escalated it to an official complaint, which shouldn’t be necessary for £100 (less tax and fees), and for the first time actually got something in writing; I’ve let them know that it’s not good enough, and depending on what information they give me, I’ll be going to the financial ombudsman… it’s enough to really irk me, but if I can focus all my hatred on this agency (who I’ll name and shame in another blog post if they still won’t pay me), maybe I’ll stop feeling instinctive quasi-racist anxiety against people who don’t deserve it.
What I really hope for is that this year will be a rerun of 2012: it wasn’t the best year of my life, but it enabled me to recover and begin building a new life. I started climbing, which was a big improvement, and I also started earning more money at work, which meant I could afford that amazing holiday in 2013 that changed my life. I’d happily go through 2012 again — the highs and lows — just so that next year I could go on another great adventure, but I’ll need some employment-related stability first, as money sadly remains important. I just have to hope that my fortunes are cyclical, and that I’ll have the chance again… but do I deserve such luck?
(Oh, shut up and stop worrying, Dave-ros!)