Ties That Bind

And so I reach another ending. My final day in work yesterday put in me a very philosophical mood. The emotion content was low, apart from when I wrote a heartfelt thanks in a card to the people I’d been working with since September. But I know all too well that the time is right to move on, and so the day sailed by without much incident or regret. It has been a good academic year, and I’ve learned and seen a hell of a lot that has made me think. But the future beckons…

In the immediate future is the events of tomorrow, when I will say goodbye to my rented accomodation here in south east London, and move back to my home. The home I’ve moved from, and moved back to on numerous occasions now. Tomorrow will be another notch on that long list of the transitional stage of permanently leaving home. That’s assuming I will ever be able to afford to leave home!

My thoughts about life outside of work here in London are a little different. Begrudgingly, London has been better than I thought it would be, though given my extremely low expectations I guess that was inevitable. It seems I ended up living in a very nice area indeed, something I wasn’t quite sure about when I moved here.

However, it is a very quiet area. This rather fills me with dread. It is commuter land. There are no family houses. There are no children. There is no real diversity. I could go for a walk around the block and encounter probably one or two people in 15 minutes, despite the fact that there are thousands living in high-density apartment blocks all around me. There is no community, not through choice, but simply because you never see your neighbours, and the days of knocking on a neighbour’s door to introduce yourself, or being welcomed by them are long gone. That’s quite sad, I think. There is no doubt that in vast swathes of Britain society is dead, and probably has been for some time.

At home I belong to a family community, and the logical extension of friends and acquaintances that brings. In University I belong to a student community, and though I don’t engage with it much, it still is an identity that I enjoy. If only because it reminds me that I’m still young and carefree with very little to tie me down.

I am now beginning to see the future beyond that, which is very disturbing. This year has almost been a demonstration of what will happen to me if I don’t make some changes. I think I spent far too much time wondering what I was going to do with my spare time. And then not actually doing anything. There are opportunities to engage with society out there, and I didn’t get the chance to do that.

So, in a sense, this has been a lesson to me. An early warning shot which is telling me that the future will be like this if I don’t change. No matter where I live. This isn’t just a London thing.

In the meantime, I have another chance next year and hopefully the year after. But before then there are other ties that will be rejected. They are the cotton, silk and polyester things that hang around my neck which I will no longer have to wear. No more ironing of trousers to get the crease just right. Or shirts, which are always a nightmare. Yes – no more formal work clothes. Until I get a Real Job. Or a Real Job Interview.

So it’s goodbye to London. At least this gave me a chance to experience it, as I’m not sure how else in my life I would have been able to. It’s not quite for me, but at least I tried it.

Now – it’s time to pack. Urgh.

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