Trying To Remember

It never used to be 18 days between blog posts.

This is the very first time I’ve thought about this blog in a long time. That can only mean one thing: I’ve been otherwise engaged.

And it’s actually true. This week in particular has been tough. Three late nights in a row trying to fix computers that have been in a serious mess. And succeeding. Then getting paid quite well for it. OK, it’s never enough, but I can’t complain at all.

Things are quite positive for me lately. There was the fun of the election period, during which I made a brief detour to Hull and visited friends. I stayed up all night and then all the next day watching the festivities. Don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself so much. OK, I’m not much a fan of the result, but as a student of politics it was truly magical.

It made me miss the idea of having friends available to speak to on a regular basis. Facebook and other communication methods just don’t cut it. But I’m improving on that score, slightly. I still have precisely zero “friends” around here, but lately I’ve gotten to know a couple of my neighbours, and that has really helped. Even got invited over for dinner to one. That was very… civilized. I was the oldest one there by about 30 years. But still, I enjoyed it.

But it’s difficult when you age. You don’t get as many opportunities to mix socially with people your own age for the simple and obvious reason that there is no education any more. Education really is such a fantastic idea because of the social benefits it brings. At last, I am beginning to understand why most people say that school days are some of the best days of your life. Even though I hated it at the time. Funny.

So things are ticking over nicely for me. The general direction of travel is positive. I have a rough idea of where I’m going. It just needs to keep moving. In some sense, I don’t have control over that. All I can do is keep working hard, doing a good job, and hoping my customers take care of the rest by recommending me.

I just need to remember to keep a record of life here. Cos I know I’ll find it fascinating to look back on when I’m older. Blogging bug, I need you!

The Line In The Sand

Last week I decided that the end would happen in March. The end being defined as the point at which my patience for business, and my new house, will run out.

I told this to my housemate, who was understanding. He tried to say that if I do get to a point of giving up in March, I should instead look to find a job in my new house down south. But I don’t think it’ll work.

The reason being is that the whole purpose of the move was to do a joint business venture with him. None of that has happened. We were supposed to be working on various websites, and a website design and construction business. Hasn’t happened. He has no interest in it, despite insisting he does every time. He also claims that he does have time to do it, but I’ve pointed out to him and told him many times that he simply doesn’t, and I understand.

Otherwise, every time we come up with an idea, it falls on its arse within minutes because of a lack of time on his part.

I knew this would happen, but I hoped it wouldn’t. I don’t know how many times I’ve fallen for him suggesting an idea, or saying he has something ready for me, which never actually happens.

And it has happened again lately. He’s been banging on for ages about forming a partnership with a shop in town which sells printer cartridges but doesn’t do PC repairs. He finally got round to approaching them, and told me he sounded very positive and drafted a suggested e-mail for me to send to the owner.

I did.

And nothing has happened.

Nothing ever happens. Every time I try something, the response is poor. 150 leaflets, four customers, two of which did not even receive the leaflet but had passed it on. There just seems to be no way in.

I’m not really sure what I can do any more. Short of wasting vast sums of cash on advertising, most of which will be wasted, I don’t know how anyone breaks into any sector in business.

Anyway, this disaster is why I don’t want to stay living with the current housemate if the business venture doesn’t take off. I have no intention of just having a normal life living there. It’s too weird. It was meant to be a stepping stone to something bigger. None of that has happened.

So three months to go before I decide whether to join the real world, accept that I’m just another tedious, boring person with nothing special to offer, and clog up the arteries of the world in yet another office.

Bloody hell. What a shit year I’ve had.

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.

It’s All In The Eyes

One of the changes I’ve noticed in myself over the past year is a sudden inability to look people in the eye.

I still do it, a little bit. But I am absolutely certain that I never used to have such a large degree of trepidation when I was talking to people. Even people I know, friends, family. I can’t look at them for more than a second before before I’m having to look away.

I think a large part of it is down to my collapsing self-confidence over the last year. Confidence that has been knocked again and again because of my continual feelings of inadequacy. That I’m not achieving the life I thought I would. That I was promised going to university and getting a good degree would set me down the path of a really good life.

Unfortunately, none of that has happened. It’s been, as I have chroniced tirelessly since June last year, a complete failure. I had such high hopes, and high expectations on my shoulders, and none of it has come to pass.

That must have taken its toll on me. I can’t even look people like my mum and dad in the eye for very long any more. They can be trying to talk seriously to me, but I can’t bear to look for long. I feel like I don’t want to acknowledge their presence. If they look me in the eyes for too long, I fear they’ll see right through me and notice that I’m, these days, incredibly close to tears at the plight of this ridiculous situation I’m in.

It might improve, but I’ve been saying that all year. My business has struggled badly since I moved away, which has been a major disappointment. I really thought that working with my housemate would make all the difference, but it hasn’t. It has gone nowhere. All his ideas and promises have come to nothing. I’ve had two customers here in nearly a month. That’s not going to sustain £700/month living costs.

So what am I supposed to do? As I’ve scrawled a million times before, I really want to run a business. I don’t want to work for other people. But maybe I have to.

But to work for others, and to get through interviews, I’d need to dredge up some confidence from somewhere.

And when you’re at rock bottom after 18 months of near inactivity, that’s pretty damn hard. If you can’t bear to look people in the eye, they’re not going to trust you. That’s difficult for me right now.

I’m going to give it till Christmas. Then I’ll decide what to do.

One Week On, One Week Off

After a week spent back in the family home, it’s almost time for it to end once more. For another week.

This continual process of one week here, one week in my supposed new home is a bit ridiculous really. It’s far more than I expected. I thought maybe I’d come home for a couple of days at most. But the way it works out, there really is no other way to do it. It’s not advisable for me to buy a ticket for my return until I’m home, because things can change rapidly.

For instance, I came back last Saturday, knowing I had work to take me through to Tuesday. But on the Monday the regular job I do at a school encountered some extra problems and asked me to come in again to help clear the backlog. So I did, and in fact spent the entire day there yesterday. More money for me.

I’ve no idea whether I would have made enough, or even anything, had I been living in my other home. I have had two phone calls since I started with small local ads, but one of them I couldn’t do anyway and the other was kind enough to wait until next week. So I haven’t missed out on too much.

But when I get back I’m going to give a fair old crack at the leafleting campaign. Or rather, a letter. It might have a better response rate. Plus, the content is better anyway than the last leafletting I did around here, which was a bit of a disaster.

That’s tomorrow. The past week has, as usual, flown by, even though I haven’t really been doing all that much. Did some housework for my parents. Had some work, as I said… but otherwise it’s just been me, my laptop and the BBC iPlayer. Anything to avoid having to watch I’m A Celebrity, which my family have lapsed into watching. Not good at all.

I was hoping to have a bit more work to do, but unfortunately my almost useless housemate has once again said he would be either a) getting some new clients for me and; b) doing a website design ready for me to code. Unfortunately, neither of this has happened. I’m now beginning to take everything he says with a massive pinch of salt. There’s almost no other way to keep my levels of disappointment down.

But today… there is something a little different. An old friend of mine is coming here as he wants me to do him a favour: watch him give a presentation. He needs some feedback for it, as he’s soon going to be giving it live in a university masters interview. Always nice to help out, and in any case it’s nice to still have some friends who don’t only exist in Facebookland…

Getting Closer

This past week has made a big difference to life in the new home.

On Tuesday, after much distress, we finally got the phone line and broadband installed. That makes things so much easier. No more trips to the library, suffering terrible computers and watching the clock count down till it threw me off.

But yesterday, something just as good as that occured.

We got a shower installed. A proper shower, with real water pressure.

And it works so good. Even better than the one at my Northern home.

I’ve been desperate for the new shower to appear, largely because I’ve been having to have baths, which I hate because of the huge amount of time they take in comparison to a shower.

But something the other day made it worse. I was leaning forward to wash my hair – as you do when you don’t have any form of object to get the water from the bath up to your head – threw the water around, then opened my eyes to a rather unusual amount of red in the water.

I was, quite literally, having a bloodbath.

My nose is quite feeble even at the best of times. There’s obviously a dodgy artery up there. But leaning forward clearly provoked it and the consequences were not pretty.

At least there won’t be any more of that.

And even better, now that I’ve got a real shower, I’ve been able to cut my hair. Yes, I’m still cutting my own hair. It’s the only way to save money. Those clippers I bought five years ago have proved to be a wise investmenet. Plus, I always feel like I give myself a better haircut than the barber ever did. That’s quite something when you consider that cutting my own hair involves razors, the bathroom mirror and another handheld one.

In sum though, all of this has made me feel a lot better. My new life is still very much moving slowly into existence, with no progress on the business yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be long now. I’ve got a lot of ideas ready to deploy once my new printer arrives – which should be today.

Only one problem… I’m going back home again tomorrow. The nightmare five hour train journey awaits, with four changes. So the business is going to have to be delayed again. I was originally getting a lift home with my housemate tonight, but he’s now decided he doesn’t need to travel North. Fortunately, there were still cheap tickets available, so it’s not hurt me too much.

Anyway, life goes on. And at least I now have things to do to while away these tedious work-free days…

And Then There Was Internet

Though not in the way I might have expected it to appear…

It’s been a long while since I last posted. Two weeks, in fact. In all that time, I’ve been mostly sitting around, waiting for something interesting to happen.

It hasn’t.

It’s been a hard slog. The lack of internet has meant that every day I’ve had to trudge to the library to get my daily fix of social communication and news/opinion.

But now it’s over.

I have internet, of sorts. It’s through the wall into the neighbour’s house, as they’ve been exceptionally kind enough to let us use their connection while we wait for Virgin Media to install.

They were meant to do so on Tuesday, but, in a move that I totally expected, turned up and told me they couldn’t install. Something to do with the fact that, on this whole street, we are the only house for which there appear to be no connection on the path outside.

Talk about bad luck. Yet somehow I just knew it was going to happen. I had a similar NTHell problem when I tried to get setup with the service when I moved to London for a year.

However, this time they are coming back in two weeks to try again. In the meantime, someone is going to come out and install a proper connection outside the house, where it’s supposed to be.

When our neighbour heard of this plight, they took pity on us and lent us their wireless password. Very kind of them. Otherwise, it was going to mean another two weeks of tedium, wasting time in which I could be getting my business up and running.

And, by Christ, do I need it. My bank balance has taken an extraordinary dip with the amount of spending I’ve been doing lately. It seems the bills for this, that and the other just haven’t stopped coming. And I’m already having to consider next month’s rent payment. Nearly a whole month spent here already.

The bitter irony of all of this is that later on today I’m going back home for a few days, meaning I won’t really need the internet anyway. And it may turn out to be longer than a few days if I can’t think up some cheap way of getting back down South.

It will be good to get away from here anyway. I have to admit it’s not exactly been socially fulfilling lately. I’m already starting to get a bit annoyed with my housemate. That didn’t take long… but it’s because I’m so fussy over things. So it will be good to get a break from him. And I have missed my family a bit too. Especially the banter I enjoy having with my younger sister. I can’t watch The Simpsons – her favourite show – these days without thinking about her and the obsession she has with it.

Still. The transition to this new phase of life continues. I think I’ll get there in the end..