I don’t tend to write much about myself on here, despite the fact it is meant to be a personal blog. I use this as more of an online portfolio, and the chance to practice piecing together articles, and improving on the journalism skills I am gaining.
Going to buck the trend here a little, and make this slightly more personal. The writing has taken a back seat as of late, so this will not only fill the void a little, but also explain why said void has appeared.
It was coming back from The Great British Tattoo Show, after spending a few days with one of my best friends, that I got thinking. I am often accused of over-thinking and perhaps this was the case here, but despite the brilliant time I had in London with one of my best friends, I felt really down.
It took a week or so to realise why this was so. Visiting my friend in London showed me the life that was possible. Everything that I was not doing, and did not have, was present in those three days.
My time in London allowed me to experience the freedom of having ones own accommodation, it showed me the benefits of that. Being able to come and go as you please, being able to smoke and drink when you wanted. Being able to treat the property as your home rather than somewhere you were lodging and did not own.
My friend was not only self reliant, and independent, he was happy. Happy that he could hop on the tube, or on a bus, and head to whichever event he fancied. Happy that he could stroll through the city on his days off, and buy a paper to read in the nearby gardens.
The tax, the rent, the bills, the food expenses, all these were secondary, because he had his freedom, and more importantly he had his life.
I returned to Swansea with these thoughts camouflaged against the stories I had been researching for Skin Deep. When the stories went down on paper, the thoughts of London, and of independence remained.
As I said, these thoughts really got me down. I did not want to be in Swansea, as much as I love my friends there, the city is a dead end, a cul-de-sac of opportunity, a graveyard of ambition.
I had a house, rent free, I had very few bills to pay, I was finally earning money in a 9-5 job, but none of this mattered.
What mattered was being able to live the life I wanted to. Do the activities I enjoyed, walk the streets I took pleasure in, and begin to carve a small Paddy shaped hole in this world, to occupy myself.
Financially it made no sense, logically it may be a similar story, but at the first opportunity I booked a one way trip to Brighton. I packed as much as I could carry and jumped on the earliest coach I could. With a hefty overdraft, bills to pay, and no accommodation, moving to Brighton may seem a little unwise, but I have always been attracted to the saying: “Leap and the net will appear”.
So I did.
I have been in Brighton now almost three weeks. The first week of that was spent on a sofa, and two friends spare beds. I then sub-let a room in a flat as soon as I could. This room is now my base, at least for the next two months, after that it may be time to move on again.
I knew that living in Brighton was expensive so I immediately set out to find a job. Somewhat surprisingly I found a job in a cocktail bar within my first week of being here.
The plan was coming together. Move to Brighton, check. Room, check. Second job, check. But still I wasn’t happy. This was when I realised that though I was earning more money – enough to live comfortably in Brighton – and though I had a packed schedule, I was not living. I had sacrificed my time, and sacrificed the things I wanted to do, in order to accommodate these things I thought necessary.
There is that wonderful quote: “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”, and that is something we should all do well to remember.
What is the point in me working 30+ hours a week in my regular job, then working 16+ hours a week in a bar, as well as having to learn the “specs” for the drinks on the menu, as well as having to study, write, eat, sleep, socialise. What do I gain from that second job? More money? But what if money is not an objective of mine?
I am quickly coming to realise that I would take time over money any day of the week. Some people need two jobs to fund their expensive lifestyle. But I believe that the more money you have the more likely it is that you will spend it on unnecessary things.
I have a journalism diploma to be studying, I love writing and reading, and socialising with friends is never going to cost the earth. This is what I want in my life right now. I want the time to read one book a week, I want the time to wander to the seafront and talk about the existence of love, I want time to fuel my passions.
Money does not provide me with any more opportunity to do these things. So money is now secondary to me. Opportunity and time are of primary importance.
Despite enjoying the bar job, I packed that in today. Despite having very little money, and having no chance of reaching the required amount for a deposit on a room, I am not going to worry. Something will come up, because it always does.
For the next few months I will have to survive on a meagre weekly budget. For the next few months I will be moving from room to room, living out of a suitcase. But for the next few months I am going to enjoy doing what I want to do.
And when these next few months have passed, and the debts have been paid, and my bank balance slowly starts to regain some colour in its cheeks, perhaps then I will re-evaluate my situation.
Perhaps then it will be time to buy some bedding, some furniture and some food which is something other than Aldi’s tortelloni.
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