Introductions are my nemesis. I really hate having to introduce myself. In the few seconds between meeting a new person and the glazed look sliding over their face I curse the heavens and wonder why on earth I didn’t just bloody well become a civil servant.
I nearly did. Back in 2008 I had a degree in Politics, experience of several levels of campaigning as well as an internship with a charity as their Parliamentary Assistant. The next step was to choose a stream of politics, fit in and work my way up as close to the top as I could manage. This might be a little bit of a surprise to people who have met me in the last few years. I am not a civil servant, in fact what I am now is much more complicated than that.
Recently online Kim Lakin-Smith commented on how hard it is to write a bio for yourself. Nowadays for everything that you sign up for online you are asked to provide a profile. Most of the time there is a word limit to this mini autobiography, not an easy task to reduce yourself down to 500 words or 500 characters. A concise way of describing your life, your dreams, your passions and your individuality is neither simple nor desirable in most cases.
It is not only online, quite the opposite; whenever we meet new people our first impressions are coloured by so many factors and introductions are deeply complicated. For those of us not in an easily defined career, the question: “what do you do?” is one of the most unwelcome you can hear. My parents (and I) have lived in the same house for most of my life with the same neighbours. This week our 96 year old neighbour died – she was truly made of sterner stuff. I know very few of her friends or family and when I meet them at her funeral I do not know how to introduce myself. This is a common problem at family parties, conventions, weddings, funerals, parties, holidays, reunions etc. etc. The list goes on, unless you have at least half an hour and a genuine interest in getting to know me then I have no idea how to introduce myself to you.
I said when I closed the doors on my old blog and opened this one that I would write a more fragmented blog, with more opinions and more of my personal views and yet I still shied away from doing it, perhaps because of a lack of clarity of who I am, but also because I do not want one opinion to become who I am – which is easily possible on the internet. Having said that I am as much at fault as anyone who happens to read my blog, for not being clearer about all of the aspects that make up my personality, which also applies to meeting people face-to-face. When people ask me what I do I tend to pick one part and stick with it, I don’t have the courage to explain my real personality to strangers. I am barely brave enough to attempt to let my friends know.
I decided that I do not want a career. I do not want to choose a job and climb up through the ranks. I don’t want to do the same thing every day and work with the same people all the time. I do not want to hone one set of skills but rather learn a new set each time I have a new task. I want to live in every direction, learn as much as I can, be endlessly curious, makes a different mistake every day, scare myself, scare other people, think, act, breathe.
I know that I am fortunate that I can do this. I have been able to try and find something that I love, a way to enjoy my life rather than simply getting through it. People spend the two biggest portions of their life asleep or at work. I have always been rubbish at sleep so I want to at least get the work part right. I have a cushion, moving back into the family home has been far from easy but with the ability to dip into savings I have a chance that few people have – I can honestly try to live an amazing life, a life without holding back. I have never been as brave as I have wanted to be but I am trying and I am learning to be better at carpeing every diem. I am very privileged and it may seem to some that I am being selfish but at the same time not trying to do the things that I love while I can do them, to me seems like a dreadful waste.
It is not an easy decision to make, to try and live life on your own terms and it is not a decision you make once but every day, every hour. Some days I don’t have the courage to do it and I sit for hours scanning through employment agency websites. Those are the low points. My skills do not fit those jobs, my needs wouldn’t be met and I have a feeling I would make a pretty rubbish employee. Then something makes me realise that I choose this way of life for a good reason and that I should stick with it.
It is the hit-by-a-bus philosophy on living. I want to save some money so that I am protected and can look after myself in the future but I don’t want to be so cautious that all of my life I am waiting for hopes that don’t happen. What if I am miserable all of the time, promising myself that it will be worth it in the end and then I am hit by a bus. What a huge waste. We have one precious life, what a truly terrible thing to squander.
Of course money is one of the main things that will hold you back, it is always the way, you need funds to be able to keep doing what you do and most of the time there isn’t cash falling out of the sky. However it is not the only thing, we hold ourselves back and are held back by other people as well. Without support it is nearly impossible to try and live the life you want. If the people who surround you tell you that you are being foolish and that you should give up and try for something more sensible or just pick one thing to try and do in your life then it’s much more likely that you will. If the people who surround you tell you this – change the people around you.
So, who am I? I am a poet. I am a cook. I am a friend. I am a playwright. I am a reader. I am a scholar. I am a critic. I am an observer. I am a participant. I am a daughter. I am a fan. I am a designer. I am a girl. I am a photographer. I am a PA. I am an artist. I am a collector. I am an organiser. I am an enthusiast. I am a creator. I am a woman. I am an explorer. I am a dreamer. I am a writer. I am a traveller. I am not someone who will settle. I am someone who tries to only say yes when I mean it and not be afraid of saying no. I am 25 and I am not someone who is willing to give up on living a life that I enjoy, on living a life that matters, on making the most of the life I have.
Vick (whoever she is).
p.s. Although he’ll never read this I should apologise to my Latin teacher for ‘carpeing every diem’. Sorry, Sir.
p.p.s. The top picture is mine. Most of the rest can be found on my Phraseology board on Pinterest if you’d like to link through to the original sources.