I’m writing in one of the local cafes, just around the corner from where I’m now living off Warren Street. It’s odd, but there really is something in how much writing I can get done here than setting myself up at the dining room table at home. Maybe it’s something about the lack of people coming and going; maybe it’s just a change of environment; maybe it’s just that I want to feel I’ve got my money’s worth for the price of a latte.
I called Grandma and Grandad today for the first time in months. Grandad is in a rather bad way. More or less, although he’s still mobile and pottering around, this is him on his way out.
My grandparents have always been rather difficult people to get along with. They’re extremely tight-fisted and Grandma is one of those people you’re just best not to include in a crisis because she’ll feel obligated to elevate the drama as much as she can. I remember when I was little a Sunday School teacher asking if they spoiled me with money and sweets and I remember thinking, then, that they didn’t; that there was something about them that wasn’t the way my friends talked about their grandparents. But they did take me all around the museums and sights of Edinburgh; Grandad taught me how to play chess and they always loved when I made drawings or watercolour paintings for them.
After the extreme stress of last week, in which I wound myself so tightly my mouth exploded with painful ulcers and I had trouble sleeping, I feel a much more resigned sort of calm. Yes, work may stress me out, but if I can think of it as a challenge, a challenge I am trained and equipped to handle, then I think I will be able to embrace and flow with it more than feeling like I’m constantly swimming against the tide.
I have a couple of new directions now; I either want to go into consulting for brands with social media and content or I want to spread my journalistic wings and embrace my calling as a content creator at a great media company. I had a look today at a couple of specialist outlets I know and there was a great cultural editorial role for the New York Times in London, along with some interesting reporting opportunities with the MailOnline. These are right on the money for what I want! My only concern is that the bulk of my experience has been in online marketing so far, even though a large portion of that has been in the fields of writing and content creation. I have a strong writing portfolio, though, so maybe I could muscle my way in; especially as ALL of the opportunities I looked at said they wanted people who understand creating content for social media and who to properly consult with analytics. It’s not a crazy switch to make, right?
I really think I could do it, and I really think that this is the way I’m supposed to go. At the end of it I love freedom, and working in a role where I’m chained to a desk all day just isn’t for me. I need to find something more and get myself on the road to something that I can be excited about each and every day. My manager once said in passing during a meeting that when she couldn’t get into musical theatre because of a broken knee she got into writing, and from there into PR. Now, she said, she spends most of her working life consulting with spreadsheets and sorting finances. Perhaps it was just me, but I fancied that she looked a little sad when she said this; there was something of remorse and regret behind her eyes. I knew then that this route of digital marketing I was going down was not going to serve my long-term happiness and that I needed to re-think.
It seems to be that, in this crazy London life, which I’ve been living for 4.5 years now, the scariest thing I’ve seen isn’t people drugging themselves up in the street or crazy homeless tramps or even the way London can turn seemingly normal people into steel-souled betrayers; it’s the way people surrender to the drudgery of it. The way that they lose all the personal flair and pizazz and just shuffle from bed to work to gym and back again. On and on and on over the years until they break down; the frightening monotony of it all is what frightens me, and it’s something I’ve decided I will never accept. Yes, nobody loves their work or their life every day all the time, but there has to be more to it.
Maybe it’s not about finding love or “the one” or any of that assorted bollocks, but I think that life in London is about finding some sort of purpose. I may not have anyone in my life to hold me at night; I may be living in a small, rented room and be uncertain about exactly what my future career will be in the long-term, but I feel like I’m getting closer.