Naturally everyone is talking about the new year, and I’m left wondering how it got here so quickly. It may sound glum, but I think the years have started to pass so quickly that life is passing me by. Well, it’s possible I’m just feeling this way today because I’m having one of those glum days that befall me occasionally. We won’t know until tomorrow. But today, P left Manchester to return to London, to his life, while I remain here because I chose to stay on an extra day (no idea why now), and it’s reminded me that it’s not just another holiday that’s over; it’s another year, another good memory. The shops are all open again, everything’s returning to normal, 2016 is beginning in earnest and I’m feeling like the good times may be behind me. I suppose many of us feel this way at this time of year, when the festivities are over and we have to get on with the mundane business of our lives. I spent most of today on my own, reminiscing about all the good stuff that happened in 2015, 2014, 2013. Never mind that there were miserable times too in those years, I’ve been imagining that 2016 just won’t be the same because I haven’t got a job or income and I’m starting the year with no direction in my life.
My anxiety about the future would have me believe that once I have a job, it will become easier to take control of my life again and feel like I have a purpose. P, whilst feeling sad that the holidays are over, knows that he’s returning to a job that allows him to have an income and book these holidays away. I’ll be going back to nothing except more endless days spent in cafés reading. Harsh of me to dismiss so roundly the lifestyle I chose when I left my job three months ago, I know. But I’ve got to the point where I always knew I would be getting anxious if I didn’t have a new job yet.
When I was secure in my old job I often thought I had made a mistake in pinning all my future security on it. For most of 2015 until I left I was sure I’d be better off out of the rat race altogether. Leaving it behind seemed like the best way of taking control of my life. Well, I’ve got a lot of things out of the career break, but control of my life isn’t one of them. Even though I chose to go back and live with mum – no one forced me – it still goes round and round in my head that I am living at home and relying on mum to pay my rent because I can’t afford to do anything else. Just like I couldn’t afford to do anything else for the first 25 years of my life. It’s so easy to forget that I’m not in exactly the same position now as the one I was in back in the early 2000’s. I have to remind myself constantly that I’ll get a job again soon, and I’ll be at liberty to live where I want within months.
How can I ensure that the job I get and the place I end up living in are going to make me happy? I’ve decided to set my sights on a future in London because it appears easier to find work there, I know it well and I’ll be able to stay at home with mum for the first few months, which will help me to save a ton of cash (for inevitable rainy days when I get a mortgage). I haven’t taken that decision because it’s really what I want in my heart, I’ve done it because it’s the easiest way forward. Here in Manchester I’ve been reminded of my old dream of leaving London altogether: a dream in which I take real control of my life and break free of what’s easy. I’ve remembered that I would still love to live in a place like this, a small and navigable city where property near the centre is actually affordable and the people are friendlier. When I was discussing the idea with P back in the autumn he said that it would be difficult to start my life afresh and make a new group of friends here, but I can’t help thinking it would be easier than it was in London.
Unfortunately there is the dilemma of how to move here and look for work. I can’t really afford to rent a flat here without a job; and I can’t really get a job without somewhere to stay. So I’ve taken the easy way out and put my future in London. I don’t like the fact that I couldn’t make the decision I wanted to make, but there isn’t much I can do about it now. I have to accept the way things are.
So that I don’t have so much time to dwell on this and depress myself, I obviously need to find some purpose in my life in 2016. My plan, for now, is to get a job and start saving money, to help with getting a mortgage at the end of this year or beginning of next year. If by some miracle I become financially wise in 2016 and manage to save a load whilst working and staying at mum’s rent free, maybe I will be free then to come back to Manchester without a fixed job here, look for work and eventually settle. I’d need to take another career break so I can leave whatever I’m doing in London and spend time uprooting here. I can’t do it right now, but what’s to say I can’t in the future? Maybe this should be the ultimate purpose of 2016. I know P isn’t going to support it, because he didn’t support it before…but I have to start going with what’s in my heart.