Wednesday, 11 May 2016

What are you even doing with your life?

A question I got asked by most people who saw me on my last day at work was "So what are you doing next?", "What are your plans?" I cannot begin to tell you how much those questions fill me with dread and anxiety. Every day I wonder if my mother is going to ring me and ask if I've thought about applying for jobs with that tone of "Why haven't you already got a career sorted out?"

I'm going to be 26 in just under five months and in the 9 years that I have been an employable human I have had four jobs which I did for over a year, and only one of those was for over two years (my first job as a part-time cashier at Somerfield/Co-op). Compare that to my other half who got a job with a company when he was 18/19, switched departments a couple of years later and is still working there as he is about to turn 30 at the end of this month.

He has got his career pretty much figured out. I don't have a fucking clue.

Here is where I feel I ought to mention the career that I'd *like* to have - it's one that 7yr old Rachel wanted to have and it's the one that has kind of being ticking away in some quiet corner of my brain ever since. It's the one that I will never admit to people outside of my friendship group, not even to my family although they will themselves occasionally reference it as the thing I wanted to do when I was younger.

I want to be an author. There, I said it.

I want to be able to walk into a bookshop one day and see a book on a shelf with *my* name on it. I want that so much I do often think about it before I go to sleep, imagining weird little scenarios that would make you side-eye me in the street. I don't necessarily want to be some international best-seller (although seriously who'd bitch at that?) but just to know that someone other than my close friends had read my book and felt something would be so incredible.

But there's a large part of me that believes that it won't ever happen. For a number of reasons; my writing is not good enough and never will be, I don't have enough ideas, I'm scared that no one would ever want to read my stories, I'm scared no agent will ever want to represent me, and on and on ad. nauseum.

I had this ambitious hope to spend the summer after my current OU module ended working wholly on my book (which I talked about recently here on my writing blog & I waffle about it all the time on my Twitter) trying to get it a good deal closer to a point at which I wouldn't feel utterly appalled at the idea of querying an agent with it. Between the start of June and the start of October when I'd need to start my next module I'd have over 150 days to just *write* without worrying that I'm neglecting my studies.

However the closer I get to June the more I feel the pressure to get a job instead (even though I have no ideas what kind of job I'd want to get) and not be a sponge on my other half's goodwill and income. To be very clear that statement is not directed at *anyone* other than me, there are multitudes of reasons why someone might not be working and that doesn't make them a burden or a sponge IN THE SLIGHTEST. 

Of course my brain doesn't make that exception for me. Even though Le Boyf has said explicitly on multiple occasions that he supports my writing and will not mind if I spend the summer working on the book, my mind is still throwing bricks of guilt at me for having the audacity to want to be so selfish with my time. How dare I dream to do such a thing?

I don't know yet if my plans will go how I'd like them to go. I don't know if my mother will amplify my own guilt and fear of being a burden by asking "Have you looked at any jobs?" until I finally relent to just to stop the feelings of self-loathing for a while. I just don't know.

I'd really like to figure out what I'm doing with my life before I go totally fucking bananas.


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.