Saturday, 4 September 2010

Cups and Milestones

So, old habits die hard, apparently. It's been like a gazillion years since I last wrote a blog entry; what better time to compile some nonsense than the night before I officially "fly the nest"? As of Saturday 4th September (technically, today), I will be living in a house-share with some friends from uni in (what I hope to be) a quiet little street in Wood Green. Another milestone to add to my life list; it ranks up there amongst such highlights as "The Day I Broke My Leg" (20th Jan 2000), "The Day I Nearly Got Mauled To Death By A Dog In A Playpark In The Middle Of The Night" (20th Apirl 2003) and "The Day I (Accidentally) Smoked Some Unknown Substance(/Crack) And Lost Two Hours Of My Life" (27th Jun 2010).

I have recently realised that I have a genuine fear of committing to anything for much longer than a few months. I am suddenly very nervous about being tied down into this contract for a full year. I can't bring myself to think about 'the future', even if it is only (" ") 12 months down the line. If there's anything that the last twelve months (or so, since graduation,) have taught me, is that nothing is certain and nothing is ever set in stone and you really never know what sort of curveball life is about to throw at you. When I try and imagine my life in August 2011, I am plagued by questions like, "Will I still be in the same job?" and, perhaps worse, "What if I lose the job I have?" as well as about another hundred or so completely pointless and useless worries - and the reason it is pointless and useless worrying about such things is because, ultimately, whatever happens, happens - "que serra, serra", to put it more poetically. I think what this goes to show is that I'm now having to compromise my "live for the day, from one day to the next" philosophy to allow for a broader time frame.

Which brings me on to the following:

- the idea of "allowing for a broader time frame". How broad are we talking? Obviously I am in no fit position to get [or buy? Does one 'buy' a mortgage?!] a mortgage, or a car, or even to apply for some further academic qualification, due to my financial constraints. And I'm not here to complain about that, it's just a factual statement. But my point is that one day (with a bit of luck) I will be in that position, and when that day comes, I will be signing over 25-30 years of my life to pay off a mortgage on some or other property, or be indefinitely tied down with annual road tax and MOTs (or however often it is that they happen), or again be in the position where more student debt will get piled on my (currently tanned!) shoulders. It's not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just trying to point out how easy it seems for one to fall into such a routine, where suddenly you work 9-5, 5 days a week, to make ends meet. And I know that that's the norm, that it is what most people do and it is how society is 'structured', but I've suddenly remembered that I used to think there must be another way, a better way, of spending one's time in this one life that we get to live. Where am I going with all this? I'm just trying to make the point that, in my opinion, "allowing for a broader time frame" (as opposed to living "from one day to the next") does not appear to be liberating. - - -

- - - I will always remember the day when I was penniless, back in August of last year, and going for a job interview at Brent Cross with nothing save £2.10 on my Oyster card - just enough to cover my journey there and back. I appreciated how, that day, I didn't have to worry what I would buy for lunch - I didn't have to stand there in the sandwich isle of Tesco's for a half hour [exaggeration] deciding what to eat - I just didn't have that choice. It was one less thing to worry about! And for someone who has on several occasions contemplated about why they chose the-pink-up-over-the-blue-cup-to-make-a-cup-of-tea-in-when-both-cups-are-relatively-the-same-size-and-shape-and-of-course-the-tea-would-taste-the-same-in-both, having less things to worry about is a godsend!

Note - I just want to point out that I'm not some loon who goes around worrying about cup-of-tea colours; the Cup-of-Tea Colour Dilemma was a way for me (as a philosophy student at the time) to think about the nature of choice, and why it is that one opts for a certain cup out of the cupboard as opposed to another cup - whether it is a choice at all - and if so, how the choice is made - or whether whatever cup it is that one takes out was always 'destined' to be the cup for that particular cup of tea. Make sense? Probably not.

In any case, I wouldn't suggest anyone reading this to take anything I say too seriously, I make the time now to be 02:39 (though the post timestamp is taken at whatever time I started writing this) - it has been a long day and I like to waffle. Mmmm... waffles...

(Image courtesy of these guys - thank you!)

On a side note, if anyone is actually reading this blog, it would be good to get some comments and start some dialogue. Just a suggestion, I don't really mind either way.


  1. Hey! I just clicked through today as part of a massive procrastination project. I think the broader time scale can be liberating - like personally, I literally cannot wait to be working on a salary rather than paid by the hour. It would mean I'd be able to actually plan big investments like new laptops (the one that's currently on my mind) without worrying about spending money that it turns out I actually need to live on. It would mean I could pay for things that you get charged for by the month rather than all at once, like a gym membership. It's not like I'm ready to settle down with a mortgage, but I'd at least like to know where the money for my next rent is coming from.

    And I do hope I'll be able to stay in the same job (when I get one) for a few years, so long as I like it reasonably well. Again, I think financial security has a lot to do with this. It probably doesn't help that I'm currently overwhelmed with fear about how I'm not going to have enough money to live.

    But I don't see all that as incompatible with a relatively unrestricted lifestyle. I like to think of the next few years in London as my time to make the most of my remaining youth - hence going back to student-style living. Sure, work takes up your 9-5. But there's always 5-12 to play with!

    Anyway I'll stop rambling.

  2. Ha, we are now living in the same house, and it has taken me over a month to reply to your comment!

    I take your point, and I do agree that in many ways living on a salary is great - rent gets paid on time, bills get sorted easier, etc etc.

    But I still think the 9-5 thing is a restrictive lifestyle. You say we have 5-12 to play with, but we really don't - factor in some overtime at work, an hour to get home, another hour in the morning to get to work and to get ready, time to cook and eat dinner, and you're left with 4 hours worth of "playtime".

    British people, on average, work over 100+ to 300+ hours more a year than most of their European counterparts (see here) which might not sound like a lot (it's less than one hour extra a day), but it must make some sort of psychological difference.

    Anyway, I don't feel like I really have a leg to stand on in this debate because of my lax working hours etc, but I really am not looking forward to the day I am an actual full time employee, wherever/whenever that might be.