the beginning at the ending of everything

This week marks the end of six months of freedom and concentrated introspection. After having spent the last seven days shifting my life to the other side of town, setting up house and settling in, I’m currently making ready to throw myself into preparation for the job I’ll be commencing in precisely one week’s time. Even as the days fall away, I feel the potency of reaching the end of something. The existence I’ve come to know and love is about to come to a sudden and absolute close, and will be replaced once more by someone else’s rigidly dictated schedule. There will be no more days filled with writing, no more afternoons spent running. I’m finding myself busy coming to terms with the fact that in the very near future I’ll be re engaging with the machine. Although I’m excited for the change, a part of me is less than sure about what it all might mean.

The thing is, six months ago I was convinced that throwing in my job would prove the answer to all my problems. I was certain I’d been shackled by the constraints and necessities of a society obsessed by economy and was sure that if I wanted to reclaim my happiness I would first need to demand my autonomy. But in all honesty, even as I prepare to reinstate myself as a cog, my distaste for the system remains a constant. Although I’m excited about my job, I’m not disillusioned; it was primarily necessity that motivated me to seek it. I was running out of money.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think we should have to work or contribute. On the contrary, I think it’s important we all strive to make this life a better experience for ourselves and others through the giving of our gifts. Truthfully, slaving over warm words has always been my singular most personally fulfilling experience. I suppose in a nutshell my belief is that we should all be striving to find something to give about which we feel passionate. I’m convinced this is the secret to personal wellbeing and contentment.

So even as I make ready to re enter the work force, I know that this is simply a stop gap solution. While it will be grand for a while, in the long term I need a job that will allow me to practice my craft; something that feels like a natural extension of my self. After the past six months, I’ll never stop pursuing the ultimate goal of being free of the conventional work / life unbalance that seems to govern the most part of our brief lives.

This is simply yet another beginning. Happily, I guess there’s one at the ending of everything.

 

Advertisements

warm as tea

This past week has been quite eventful. After resolving to apply for jobs beyond the realms of standard teaching, I was granted an interview for an English teacher position with a local University. This afternoon I attended the second interview and I’m feeling hopeful and excited. If granted, the job will enable me to flex my teaching muscles while also leaving time for my own writing projects. So please, cross your fingers for me!

Things are really getting good. I am happy and very tired; a weekend of interview preparation is quite exhausting. Instead of stretching this out, I’ll leave you with a little poem that is indicative of my warm and fuzzy mood. If you like it, click on the link beneath the banner above connect through to some more pieces. Much love, x

 

tea

what if our teabags were to join forces?
imagine – one giant zip locked bag
FILLED with teabags! just waiting for us
to get that jug boiling. logistically,
it’d mean sharing a kitchen (to make
joint access easier). i guess
it would make sense then
if we shared the rest
of the house
too.

 

then there would be STACKS of stuffs
we could combine! imagine all the soap!
think how many spoons we’d have! forks! knives!
books! pens! socks! pillow cases!
gosh – look what the teabags have started.
they really are a hot headed bunch.
still. we do like our cups of tea.
so. bring your teabags over.
move in
with
me.

 

the stirring

Only The Elect Are Free

One of my many loathings is societal conditioning. Yet at the same time, I can’t help but admire the genius that devised the conspiracy. From day one we are programmed to contribute to the machine. When we are infants we are sent to school and the training begins. We’re taught maths and spelling and the position of America on the map, but most importantly we learn to do what we are told. Wear your uniform. Arrive on time. Follow the rules. Funnily, it takes only the most minimal and pathetic of recognitions to maintain these behaviours; a worthless commendation, a passing word of praise. In no time at all, we’re hooked.

We are indoctrinated so thoroughly that before long we begin to see those who do not entirely conform as pathetic failures. Those who take a day off here and there because they can’t be arsed doing something which seems to them utterly superfluous are frowned upon en mass. The guy who wears what in the hell he wants because he reckons the school administered blazer looks ridiculous is chastised and outcast. Why is he refusing to follow the rules?

Eventually we either drop out of school or graduate. Some are lucky enough to have fallen for the scam and actually celebrate the fact that they are finally free whilst arranging their ties and passively preparing to head off for another colourless day in the office. The less fortunate of us are more than aware that we are trapped. We are the ones that hate ourselves, because despite the most conscious of realisations, we do it anyway.

I hate the thought of dragging myself off to work every day, just because that’s what I’m expected to do. Last month I told my dad I’d been thinking of chucking in my job and trying something different. He almost had a stroke. The thought of four years training down the drain…

I just figure it would be better than the reality of a decade of life wasted when in ten years time, I’m still miserable. We only get to live once, right? Should our single aspiration really be to have a great big house, a dependable job and financial security..? I, for one would prefer to have a bloody good time.

And yet I haven’t quit yet. Go figure.

March, 2011

 

Last week I was quite ill. High on the dopey fuzz of cold and flu medication, I used the down time to restore some semblance of order to the many document files I’ve confused with obscure thoughts, unrealised ideas and the incomplete ponderings of my scattered mind over the past few years.

During the reading and deleting process, I stumbled upon the above rambling. I suspect that younger me would be both pleased and surprised to learn of the changes that have transpired since the moment when, in her hopelessness, she penned this piece. If the feelings of my present self are indicative, it’s a fair certainty.

 

the benefits of quitting

When we were kids we delivered junk mail twice weekly; dad figured it would be an ideal way to foster in us those wholesome qualities parents want for their children; a healthy work ethic, a sense of responsibility and so on. Lured by the prospect of having a couple of bucks to spend at the school canteen, my siblings and I willing consented, however by the time the novelty had worn off, the pamphlet run had established itself as an integral part of our weekly routine. In no time, catalogue distribution had simply become something we did. No exceptions. In hindsight, I suppose distributing advertising material did teach us accountability, though more significantly, we quickly learned the fundamental rules of survival; how to dodge a well aimed rock, for instance. The strength that lies in numbers. To never take the precious hour of twilight for granted. Needless to say, being the neighbourhood catalogue kids was tough.

Unsurprisingly, to varying degrees we resented the pamphlets, and as the years progressed, my sisters and brother slowly resigned, trading rubber bands and ink stained finger tips for the bright lights and heady delights of the hospitality industry. But although I’d harped on with the best of them, enraged at having my weekends interrupted by an ever growing mountain of advertising material, I found it difficult to give the job away. So while I accepted a position at the local fast food restaurant, commenced a full time university degree and willingly agreed to a regular babysitting commitment, I was hesitant to throw in the pamphlets; I didn’t want to let anyone down. Besides, at some point over the years I’d acquired an unhealthy degree of satisfaction from the speed and precision through which I could fill a street of letterboxes with my quota of commercial garbage. After a decade’s service there was no obstacle that could break my stride. My efficiency was without equal. I pumped out that junk like nobody’s business.

Despite how much it irritated me, throughout my youth and into adulthood, I excelled at keeping busy. It’s not that I enjoyed the constant demands imposed by my numerous obligations. In fact, my tendency to continue with something despite my disinterest and discontentment was a source of constant inner turmoil. But my reluctance to disappoint and my belief that quitting was a brand of failure had me resigning my autonomy and accepting a fate for which I felt I had no control. Time and time again.

When I decided last year that I needed to walk away from my life and begin anew, I had reached breaking point. I was terribly unhappy. I felt betrayed by a society that encourages us to embrace uniformity and behave conservatively. I was terrified of challenging the status quo; I was afraid I would fail. After identifying these feelings, I saw only one solution; quit it all, so that I might finally experience the liberty of standing on a shaky limb and leaping off.

Unfortunately, rather than approaching the experience with the grace and poise implied by the afore mentioned imagery, the reality has seen me dangling shamefully from the spindly branch, willing my raw fingers to loosen their grip so that I might begin the bumpy descent. It’s been more than a little scary.

I’ve quickly come to realise that behaving unconventionally is hard. It’s also virtually synonymous with being utterly broke. In my old life I had a job which provided a reliable source of income, savings that offered constant security and the assurance that I could make the rent and pay the bills each fortnight. It’s true that I was often miserable, but no matter how bad things became, I knew I could always pep myself up with life’s little luxuries; eating out, frequenting the cinema, purchasing pretty things. Those days are officially over.

This week saw me sitting for a little over two hours at the local Centrelink office, where I successfully registered for a fortnightly allowance. While I waited, an inner dialogue ensued in which I attempted to persuade myself it’s all about perspective; a lack of personal income is all part of the adventure, a sort of levelling exercise. The sceptic in me was unconvinced. It’s true I’d come armed with a book to keep me occupied through what I’d predicted would be an arduous wait, but if I’m honest, was it really my way of informing the room that I was above all this? After all, I wasn’t your standard dole bludger; I was the intellectual variety.

The changes are certainly radical when you exchange your conventional lifestyle for a spendable income of around ten dollars a day. Once you’ve covered the weekly groceries, you’ve about thirty bucks with which to play. This week I spent the majority of that on a second hand arm chair and a little adaptor that lets you plug your modem into the old style telecom phone socket.

Yet in spite of my new found relative poverty, I’m strangely content. I may not have money, but I have a library card, a cupboard full of Mi Goreng noodles and the wondrous internet; I think I’m going to be okay. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that a simple life can be both cheap and very rich.

From the vantage point of my spindly branch, I’m grappling with a new truth. Perhaps bailing doesn’t have to be the indicator of failure that I’ve always believed. I’m beginning to sense that quitting may have its benefits; not all of which require a two hour stint in a Centrelink waiting room.