Adapting

It’s hard to know what to expect from life any more. The situation for me is now such that a reasonable equilibrium has been reached. I’m content with what I’m doing, and can exist quite well of it by my own standards.

But it is not set to last. As is life, things change, and we must adapt. Hmm. Too much Borg.

My housemate is looking to find a way out of his current job. If he does so, he will likely become of no use to me at all business-wise. This will make my business rather difficult to sustain, unless I can reinvent it. Somehow. With no money. Cos I’m so frugal I’ll never risk it.

In the past few weeks I’ve talked to friends and sounded out a couple of them who once upon a time expressed a vague interest in joining me in business. No one bit. Why would they? They’re in comfortable jobs with no real desire to upset the applecart. Why sacrifice someone gladly handing over thousands of pounds to you in exchange for not-very-demanding work, and giving you paid holidays, sick leave and other perks into the bargain?

No, it is actually quite difficult to sell self-employment to those living the cushy employee lifestyle. It genuinely has to be something from the heart.

And so prospects start to look bleak. I’m almost now in the position where I could risk thinking about what I could do to grow the business further. Take on a new challenge. There is the opportunity to do it, but do I have the bottle?

I don’t think I do. But at the same time, I might have no choice. If my partially useless and increasingly irritating house mate eventually fucks off, as I know he will soon, then I have to make the decision. The business would survive without him, but it would have its scope severely narrowed. Away would go any prospects for web enterprises and other design jobs. Or any of the other doors that his talents and contacts open.

All of this – the constant thoughts of business – makes me wonder. Do I have any life any more? In the last month, I have engaged in the grand total of two social events with friends. And that is extremely unusual. One of them travelled 100 miles to see me. The other I went well out of my way to catch up with on a recent trip back home.

Not good. Not good at all. I wasn’t much of a social animal to begin with, but to have completely exchanged my life for that of work is not something I expected would ever become of me. I tolerate it for now, for I know nothing else. But it can’t stay forever. Surely I need to have some life? I might live to regret not using these relatively youthful years…

Oh well. I’ll adapt.

Saturday, Saturday

It’s yet another Saturday, meaning another week has come and gone for me. I sit, as usual, in front of the telly half-watching Match of the Day, half doing something else on the laptop. Usually reading political blogs. What a combination.

It’s been another busy week for me. Lots of work, a fair old bit of money too. Keeps me on my toes. But now the to-do list is empty, and I return to waiting for the phone to ring. Sort of like the bad old days, but hopefully it’s just a temporary lull. I enjoyed the day to relax anyway, especially as it’s co-incided with my own computery problems, which has given me an opportunity to fix them without getting flustered about when I’ll get time to do it.

Well, I sort of enjoyed the day to relax. It’s been several weeks since I had a whole day off, and in truth I spent most of it worrying that the phone might never ring again. Or, at least, take ages for it to. Maybe it’s better for my sanity that I’m kept busy. Probably true.

But the biggest disappointment of the day came when me and my housemate went out for tea. We went to the nearest Harvester, a place we’ve been a few times before. We haven’t been for a while, but we have been to many across the country, and it’s the salad bar that makes it so good. No complaints there.

The biggest problem, however, came at the dessert. Rocky Horror is always my favourite. Melted chocolate cake with ice cream and cream, with more chocolately bits on top. And a very generous size for £2.99. Sheer indulgence, and probably about four million calories.

Except, this time, I just didn’t enjoy it. The cake wasn’t melted. Nor was it a nice chocolate. Clearly very cheap. Meanwhile, there was the fact that my pasta only came with one garlic bread, when every other time it comes with two.

I guess we’re all not averse to an economy drive or two, but after that kind of performance, I feel like I may have fallen out of love with Harvester. I would never have thought I’d say that after all the good experiences I’ve had there.

Oh well. Life is a bit like that though. It sets you up thinking you’re doing something good, and then smacks you in the face to remind you that you’ve gotta keep trying.

Bit like my business, in fact.

Still At Home

It’s now been a week since I was in my supposed new home down South.

I came back last Friday because I had some work back here. That plan worked out nicely, and I have had several things that have earned me some money. That’s more that can be said for life in my accommodation.

But now I’m in this position where I’m starting to think, well, should I go back at all. Of course, it’s a silly thing to say, because I have to go back. After all, I’m handing over the best part of £600 a month just for the place and all the bills, and I’m not even there.

But if I had the choice right now, I would choose not to bother. Firstly, I’ve grown to doubt the business proposition, largely because I believe I’ve been led up the garden path by my housemate. He assured me that he would be able to get enough work from his web design angle, but nothing has materialised. He also keeps raising my hopes that he may have found me some work via his extensive network of contacts, but it never actually appears. That is frustrating.

So I’m prepared to go it all on my own, and one day I will. When I finally get back down there and get things moving.

Another reason why I’m not impressed with life down there is my utter lack of social interaction. When I’m someone who struggles with this anyway, life has become a disaster if the only person I speak to in a day is my housemate. He’s OK, but is probably the world’s worst listener. I don’t feel comfortable discussing anything with him, as invariably the conversation turns back to his life and the wonderful things he’s achieved.

It might help if I had a working phone line, as that way I could keep in touch with life at home better. But the farce over the phone/internet installation is long and continuing. They still haven’t put the wires in outside the house, and if they haven’t before Tuesday it will mean further delay, as that’s when they’re supposed to be coming out to do it. Only they can’t do it if the preliminary work hasn’t been done outside the house.

Next, there is the general logistical problem with travel. If I really am going to come home every two weeks, the bills are going to be large. But not only is the cost high, but the problem of the travel itself is a nightmare. At both ends, the houses are 20 minutes walk from the station. 20 minutes carrying a heavy bag and a laptop. Then a hellish 4.5 hour journey. Crazy. I wish I’d thought of it more before I agreed to the move.

Finally, there is just the general cost of living down there. At least while I’m here, sponging off my parents again, I’m not having to pay anything to live. Not ideal. But it’s better than the large sums of money I seemed to be handing over all the time for my food in the new house. Sharing the shopping bills appears to be a loser for me, as my housemate eats far more than I do, and has terrible habits of buying things that he’s never going to use just because they’re on offer. Which in turn go in the bin.

There are many problems in my life at the moment, and I have no real clue how I’m going to solve them.

Same as it ever was, it seems.

Holding Pattern

So I’ve spent the last week considering very carefully what my next move in life should be.

The problems outlined in my previous post still remain, and are no nearer to being solved. In fact, each day they go on drives me just a little bit more insane. Will I ever see my passport again? What a stupid bastard I was to hand it over in the first place.

But there has been a modicum of success business wise lately. Yes, I can’t believe it either. I’ve sold three PCs, all about the same time. How can this be? How can people suddenly arrive with requests for PCs all at the same time? Life is very weird. But all of these orders have now been fulfilled… with only minor farce resulting from the delayed arrival of one hard drive.

Then, as I fully expect, all will return to silence again. The phone will stop ringing. The e-mails will not arrive. All that will be left is just me. Sitting. Waiting. Wishing. As Jack Johnson sang. Good tune that.

Over the weekend just gone I had a meeting with a friend of mine. It was mostly to talk business… because he and I have big plans in formation. I’m fed up with life here. He’s fed up with his life. It just so happens that our talents and plans have co-incided for the first time in our lives. He’s been made redundant. I’ve been sitting around doing naff all for well over a year. Perfect!

We think we may be able to do my business and do it properly. Combining beautifully with his new media talents. Oh, and his ability to drive. And some new territory. Up North, no one really seems to care about computers. Down South… well, maybe it’s more likely to be the Land of Milk and Honey. And silicon.

This plan would involve me moving down South. Permanently. Well, permanently if it works. If it doesn’t work I’ll be back home by the time six months is up. But I’m prepared to take this gamble.

I’m starting to feel old. I’m starting to feel like my opportunities to take big gambles with my life are shrinking. I need to be doing something productive with my time, something that is genuinely going to be able to make me live a life. A life that’s actually worth living. Not like now.

Perhaps the stresses of having bills to pay and obligations will focus my mind, make me work harder at it. Because I know full well that I’ve not really given this my all. Partly through not being prepared to risk much. But also my lack of transportation and not wanting to put more upon my parents.

That’s another reason why I have to leave. I really must get out from under their feet. I’m no bother. I help out a lot. But I need to move on. They understand. I’m too big for the nest now.

Let’s just see what happens.

What A Difference A Friend Makes

I post this morning from the living room of my friend’s flat in Hull. On Monday I got an excited text from him, and others, asking if I’d be available for a visit this weekend. I haven’t seen him or any of my remaining friends in Hull for almost a year.

That has now been corrected, of course. I arrived here on Friday after an extremely long National Express coach journey, something that I will be repeating early this afternoon. It’s been a very good weekend, full of banter and getting back up to speed. Because, no matter what the internet offers in terms of keeping in touch with people, it just can’t compare to talking face-to-face.

On Saturday we wandered around Beverley market, something which I’d actually never done properly before. It was excellent, and I’m really envious. The variety of wonderful food on offer was just fantastic. Where else in the country will you find a shop dedicated to the baking and selling of scones? The smell when I got in there was just heaven, and the bewildering choice, from orange and lemon to ginger spice had to be experienced to be believed. And as someone who has baked many scones in the past but never achieved anything as wonderfully light and sweet as the scone I ate from there, I was even more jealous than before. I wish I had a way of bringing some home as my dad would have loved it. They just wouldn’t be the same though; the one I ate had just come out the oven. Even better.

So the market was explored and then we moved on to one of the many local pubs to play some pool. That was a success, especially because I actually won a game. I also felt like I was improving too. I need to remember to play with a longer bridge – it seems to improve my game.

Then we went out for a meal in an Indian restaurant. That is somewhat traditional now between my friends and I as we are all great fans of the food. That was also excellent, if a little too filling. I still feel stuffed this morning. But that’s why I love Indian restaurants. You always get enough food to eat, and the price you pay is similar if not cheaper than any other restaurant.

Overall though, the big lesson to me from this trip has been that I’ve dearly missed having friends around. My life would be so much better with them. There’d be more things to do and people to share it with. It’s made me seriously consider moving back here. I never thought I’d say that about Hull, that’s for sure.

I have to get my life in order. If I can get my PC sales business to take off, then realistically I can live anywhere in the UK. It wouldn’t matter as I’d be doing everything through the internet. I need a break, somehow. I just wish I knew what would do the trick – cos I’d be prepared to spend good money to achieve it.