It is a funny old thing we call life. We analyse, we plan for the future, we attain qualifications and experiences for growth and a happy future we could only dream of. I’ve personally lived my life with an intentionally gung-ho attitude, with the mantra of every experience is worth experiencing, every job is worth your time, every place you visit should be explored like a tourist. All the people you meet along the way should be invested in; despite the amount of time you’ve known them. Everyone and everything brings something to the table of life. Big or small, rich or poor, expected or not.
Living life this way has led to one that has been emotionally, philosophically, and mentally fulfilling. In 24 years of I’ve lived in the English counties of Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and Herts. I created a new home for myself in Catalonia and experienced the vote for independence first-hand. I volunteered in some of the poorest regions of Tanzania, sleeping in homes with no windows and bats that circled above my bed at night to aversely Airbnb-surfing through the various boroughs of London.
These have been some of my life’s proudest achievements, but aside from my International Journalism degree from John Moore’s University, my ‘career’ thus far could and should be labelled as a flop. This website has been radio-silent recently as I’ve been working on a new novella when I’ve had the time to write. It has been something I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and should I complete it, it will be my proudest accolade as a writer thus far – alongside the founding of this humble site. Thank you to all of you that read these by the way, it gives me such purpose to finally write for an audience.
I preach to not live with regret. However, I let future prospects from my internship at the Liverpool Echo pass me by. I impressed with my writing and was told to keep in touch with the Sports Editor. I didn’t. This has been an increasingly difficult pill to swallow in the years following. So too the decision to abandon my craft for a time following university, and instead pursue a fruitless marketing career. This was something that in the end brought me great unhappiness in myself, especially as a born socialist and only acted as a reinforcement of those beliefs in the shadow of the wealthy families I worked to the bone for. Alas, with a Certificate of Higher Education with Merit in digital marketing and a lesson learnt to stick to what you love , I escaped from that world. Like most in the face of failure, I licked my wounds and carried on.
After that role and fleeing to London in the midst of a pandemic, the only goal was to experience the taste of life again, for it had grown stale and grey in the cold, wet hills of Lancashire. I stopped and looked around at the urban jungle around me. What now? I’d attained a role that could have been mine for life. It was secure and offered albeit minor career growth. In plain English, I’d gotten a big boy job. This was what I was supposed to do, according to society at least. Why did I hate it?
We live in a timeline where most of the well-paid, well thought of vocations have you sat at a desk. You partake in water cooler office gossip, you drink far too much English Breakfast Tea and you buy specialist glasses because you spend so much time facing a screen. Maybe you’ll even get a back support because companies never invest in decent office chairs. To phrase Dolly, what a way to make a living.
There are exceptions of course, but these are few and far between. Especially for someone who wishes to write for a living.
It’s an interesting place to be at mentally. I’ve shed my post-university naivete and dealt with the problems thrown at me along the way. After London didn’t work out permanently, a close-friend of mine hooked me up with a job in Hertfordshire where I’ve been since around August. I’m comfortable yet unfulfilled in my current role, but it’s not forever. The role itself is on a COVID-19 test site, so it should only last as long as COVID does – which is both a blessing and a curse.
Alongside my efforts at being an author I’m finally getting around to completing a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language Qualification) for when I fancy going abroad again and in the future I’d love to complete a master’s degree in Geopolitics to fulfil a lifelong pursuit of understanding the world around me. But that raises the point one more – will any of these experiences, qualifications and dreams ever line up into one coherent career? Or am I destined to be one of life’s ‘nearly-men’ who never lived up to their potential, despite some false dawns.
I guess the only way to find out is to keep living the life the way I want to.
I’ll let you know how it works out in the end.