Out The Other Side

I am pleased to say that after almost three weeks of non-stop work on the project I talked about two posts ago, we are coming towards the end of it.

It has been a difficult life for some time anyway, but I do now feel like we can look forward to better times…

Being on the other side of such a project is often an interesting feeling. You think that you’ve worked incredibly hard, and you’re proud of your efforts (usually) and the coming financial reward for it also makes you feel like it was worth it.

But, if you’re anything like me, with no real job security and no possible alternative, your joy is short-lived. The immediate question, the one posed by Jed Bartlett so often in The West Wing: what’s next? – springs straight into your consciousness.

I wish my brain activity towards things like this – a near-permanent state of activity – was matched in the physical realm, which is, these days, an increasingly longer and longer time spent in front of the computer screen. I didn’t think that was possible, but it is. I could now be in front of a screen for 15 hours a day, on and off. That can’t be healthy.

Something else which isn’t healthy is my diet, which I’ll probably come back to in a different post.

Emerging from this tunnel-like gloom, which was deepened by the Hair Crisis of September 2014, one immediately begins to see another tunnel. What we’re currently in is the brief glimpse of light prior to going back in again.

I write this post, freezing cold, in my home. I haven’t written a post at home for ages… mostly instead writing them in sheer repetitive strain agony on the train. This is much easier, except for the cold. Did I mention it’s cold? I’m not sure how we instantly went from summer to winter, but it was around about this time last week. There, too, we are out on the other side. I buried my head in the sand for the last month, basking in September’s warmth, with the continued t-shirt wearage. It came to a crashing halt last week, and it’s not coming back.

But I must resist the lure of the central heating. The energy companies, too, want me on the other side, but it is too soon. Last year I survived until November before first use. I must do the same this year. It costs too much to heat such a small space. The difference for them is that we are currently out in the sunny outdoors, but know we are hurtling straight long into a six month long tunnel of frigid gloom. Are we allowed to use that word any more in that context?

Who knows. Who cares. Language is fun.

Alas, it is early morning on a Sunday, and I’m wide awake. I also have to go into work in a few hours so that we can stay on top of things. Rubbish.

I don’t care much for what I’ve found on the other side after all.

Still, only 73 days until Christmas

The End of the Beginning

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet…

I am delighted to say that my housemate has finally got the message. We had a little “chat” and next thing I know he was looking for somewhere else to live. Within days he had done that, and a date was set.

January 9 is freedom day. It’s also the day from which my costs rise significantly. I will be able to cope with it, but I’m not looking forward to a sudden slow down in savings. It’s hard enough to raise a deposit as it is…

But in truth it is a fantastic development. I keep thinking about all the wonderful things I won’t have to put up with. No more random bottles of unfinished shower gel piling up in the bathroom. No more midnight snacking. No more radiators on overnight. No more of my housemate’s crap all over the house. No more having to think about not making too much noise because he’s gone to bed at 8pm. No more being woken up in the middle of the night by repeated visits to the toilet. No more nasty tobacco smell (a recent filthy habit). No more being woken up stupidly early (6am) on Saturday and Sunday because of his bizarre work habits. No more awkward conversations. No more angry thoughts about the situation as a whole. No more having to dodge conversations. No more awkward invitations to social events I have no interest in attending with him. No more moaning about not doing anything to help (cleaning the house, or in the garden especially). No more wasted space in the living room and utility room. No more irritating phone calls. No more irritating conversations about the contents of the DVD and bookshelves with visitors. It just goes on and on.

I keep thinking this is a major milestone in my life. It is the point at which I become the master of my own domain. I have no more excuses to try to move my own personal life forward. That bit does worry me a bit. But it might also mean I can feel a bit more confident about making this place look a bit nicer. It is far too functional. It lacks any kind of warmth or welcome. Not that I know exactly what I’d do about it, but hey…

It seems like this is the end of the beginning of life. Hey, that happened ages ago in reality, but in terms of feeling more grown up, and feeling like I’m completely on my own. Completely independent. That’s so scary.

But it could help things socially. I now have a spare bedroom. People could actually come to visit me without having to pay megabucks to stay in the local B&Bs and hotels. OK, not necessarily megabucks, but if you visit for more than a couple of days, it soon adds up!

It all feels like such a big turnaround. It was only two months ago I was depressed that he was now looking like staying for the immediate future. I was starting to panic that my life had truly entered the stuck rut phase. But in the end, it was just was so increasingly untenable that we both felt the time was right to discuss the future, and he has done the decent thing.

I am excited about it. I really am. It will start next year off really positively, and I need to carry that forward into 2013, as I think it could be the biggest year of my life.

Maybe more next time.

Where Did The Year Go?

It’s hard for me to look back on this year. 2009 has turned out to be a year of real change for me. Yet nothing has really changed all that much.

For instance, right now I’m writing this post while sitting in my parents’ house. All this in spite of the fact that I allegedly moved out of the parental home in October. I think, with hindsight, this was a bad move. So far the transition to living away and trying to make a living of my own has been a total failure.

Hence why I’m here. Indeed, the main reason why I’m back in the old home right now is that I’ve had loads of work to do this week. Work that has paid me some cash and will definitely see me through Christmas. I could have had a lot more if I’d stayed here, I’m sure.

But on the other hand, I had to go. I needed change. I needed a break. I just wish I hadn’t move somewhere so far away and so inaccessible.

This has been the biggest change this year. My life is now on its head. Split across a couple of hundred miles. Travelling all the bloody time.

And yet, I don’t really know why the year has gone so quickly. In truth, it has been a year of inactivity. With so much time to spare, and so little actually done in it, I should have been bored out of my mind, sitting here watching the clock.

There has been a bit of that, but broadly speaking time has flown by. It has been frustrating and immensely depressing, but it hasn’t mattered. Time has gone.

At the start of the year I knew it would be important. I remember saying as much to my fellow New Year revellers. But I don’t think I’ll truly know the significance of this year until I can look back on it in a few years time. Whether this was a false start, and a waste of money. Or whether it was the stepping stone to turning myself into the entrepreneur that right now exists in my dreams only.

I keep setting myself deadlines at which I need to have achieved X. They come and go, without me achieving anything. But I still don’t feel brave enough to scrap the current gamble and accept I really ought to live an ordinary life like other people, rather than sitting, waiting for customers.

It depresses me too much. That alone should make me reconsider. I once thought I was a fan of change, exciting, different things happening each day. But I also long for a bit of stability and predictability. And more predictability than being able to confidently predict that today would, yet again, be a lost day.

There’s something seriously wrong with me. I have no motivation any more. I am filled with depressing thoughts constantly. A feeling of total inadequacy.

And I don’t want to do anything about it.

2009 has been a great let down. Maybe it was for the best that it’s gone so quickly.

Now all that’s left is to hope that I’m not too down over Christmas. That would be extremely difficult for me.

A Political Week

Rather than continuing the job hunt, I have spent most of this week reading political articles, digesting endless blog comments and watching many speeches from politicos across the USA. I might as well make good use of the endless free time I’ve got right now, after all.

And the timing has been perfect, because, naturally, this has been the week of the Democratic National Convention. As a political junkie, something like this is unmissable. This time four years ago I spent an equal amount of time watching the speeches from that (courtesy of the awesome C-SPAN) – and one in particular impressed me.

Yeah yeah, we all know about Barack Obama’s stunning oratical masterpiece four years ago. I watched it at the time and thought – and this is the honest truth – that this man ought to be the next Democratic presidential candidate after Kerry. It was moving and powerful. I have never heard anything so good since, and I doubt I ever will. I feel pretty smart that I jumped on the bandwagon four years ago, a long time before others. And certainly a long time before almost everyone in the UK.

But with that speech four years ago in mind, Obama was never likely to reach those heights. And so, wisely, he picked a different tack, to give the speech more content and more red meat. It worked. And the final third delivered the rhetorical soar that all good speeches ought to finish with.

On balance I would give it an 8.5/10 when compared with all his speeches I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot). 10/10 goes to the DNC 2004 speech; and 10/10 to his “A More Perfect Union” intelligent brilliance of a few months back. But in terms of whether it was the right speech, at the right moment, it truly nailed it. In the context of the election, and using an American analogy, he hit the ball right out of the park.

Why do I share all this on a personal blog? Well, largely because an enormous part of me is dictated by the way I feel politically. It would be foolish to deny that my politics has no impact on my outlook of life. In many respects, it is to my shame that it has the impact it does, mainly because British politics has left me so cynical and jaded at the tender age of 23.

But somehow, just this once, I’ve allowed myself to get carried away with the optimism. When American politics is at its finest, optimism and positivity is the thing it does the best in the world. Maybe it will turn out in the future that we’ve all pinned our enormous expectations to Obama, something which he will never be able to live up to. And so we’re all setting ourselves up for a very big fall when reality crashes in.

Just this time, however, I’m willing to believe. But the message of Obama is far more than just what he can achieve. In fact, I would argue that, if Obama is successful, it will not be because he personally made certain actions that delivered certain positive results.

It will be because he convinces people that they must be the agent of their own change, not the government, not politicians or anyone else. That politics is not about top-down. It’s about the community, it’s about high aspiration, it’s about hard work and passion for your cause.

This is why I have a lot of time for the Obama message. It is one of personal empowerment, and that is extremely liberating.

So in many respects it appeals to me personally. It is a message that I could easily apply to myself. That I must stop wallowing in self-pity, wondering where did it all go wrong, but instead to embrace the situation and turn it towards my own hopes and dreams. To put in more effort and to aspire to achieve something bigger than what I was originally aiming for.

While it’s been a fun week politically, it’s been a challenging one personally. What should my next step be? I can but dream…