It’s almost that time of the year again!
No, not the Christmas thing, my birthday looms once again. In a matter of weeks, I’ll be 48. The hands of time are dragging me kicking and screaming towards the big five-oh.
So once again I find myself thinking about where I fit into this world and the lives of the people around me. I’ve written at length about my struggles with health, diet and the plans I keep on making and failing. “So what’s different now then?” I hear you say.
Well, it’s taken me a few weeks of reading books and blog posts, chatting with friends and family to come to the realisation that I fucked up! I now feel as though I’m letting myself down, and because of that I’m letting my wife, my child and my friends down. Let me elaborate.
For many years now I’ve felt fear at the prospect of working a “regular” 9-5 type job. I’m scared that I might have a lack of respect for the people that I might be working with and for. When that happens, I begin to get depressed. I start to question everything and begin to look inwards, all the time looking for the answers that will help me out of the despair I inevitably will feel.
The last “proper” job that I had took me away from my family for a week at a time. Every week for nine months I lived in a youth hostel in Littlehampton from Monday to Friday, sharing a room with up to six strangers. The job I was doing was hard, especially as none of my suggestions was being taken seriously, shit the reason I was there was to try and improve things for the company. The owner, who I thought was a friend of mine, turned out to be a berk, and thankfully we parted ways. The manner in which it happened still rubs me up the wrong way, and needless to say, we haven’t spoken since.
I can’t get back those days of being away from my wife and my son. The whole thing turned out to be a complete waste of time. In fact, it ended up costing me money to work there! That hurt. It hurt me both financially and mentally. I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered from that episode. All it has done is reinforced my opinion about working for others and not being able to make a difference.
So I fell back on my web design and photography skills and tried to scrape by. I shot a few weddings and built a couple of sites for people, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make a regular income from it. Rhona stated to bake cakes again, and that did go well. Pumpkin cakes quickly grew to be a small success, and the little amount of money she made from that, combined with a few benefits and some of my work kept us afloat.
Writing a CV every week and sending it off to various companies that I thought I would like to work for yielded no results. I wrote letter after letter to businesses that I thought could use a guy like me, all to no avail. And so it went on like this until I noticed that some friends of ours had advertised a position within their company. It was a job that Rhona had done for them in the past and could be just what we needed to secure some much needed regular income. It would mean closing the cake business, but we needed the money and soon.
Rhona began working for the motorcycle shop that she had previously worked in for some 15 years way back in the 80’s and 90’s. We decided that I should take on the role of house husband and look after the running of the home and the raising of our son.
Fast forward a year or so and things have gone awry. We lost our home of 10 years to a greedy landlord cashing in on the latest property bubble. We ended up having to put ourselves back into debt just to move house and get ourselves settled. Then Karta had the added pressure of sitting the Kent test. Kent test is the local name for the 11+ grammar school entry examination. A pass means that you can apply to got to one of the better schools in the area, a fail means heartache and a more convoluted process to gain entry, none of which guarantees entry.
Karta didn’t pass, despite his best efforts. It broke our hearts to see how disappointed he was. All of his friends at school, those closest to him did pass. That broke his heart. So we’ve begun the appeals process and Karta is working harder than ever at school, just to try and catch up and be a viable candidate for grammar school via the subsequent appeal process. Personally, I find it tough to back a system that is so divisive. I don’t suppose that any of the parents of his good friends that did pass won’t be sending their kids to a standard state school. Karta knows that too.
Rhona and I have been looking at alternatives. We like the Steiner school, and I’m not adverse to home-schooling our son.
The Steiner option requires a financial commitment that is do-able if I can get a job that fits in with school hours; or if I can get a job that will pay enough to cover all of our outgoings and the tuition fees. At least that way Rhona might be able to take a part time job or go back to baking cakes and raising our boy.
Either one of these options means that I might have to shelve any dreams of working for myself. I might have to suck it up and try to get a job that allows me to be me. Secret Agent Projects, Full Gas Foto, Rad Roads, The Rennsport Report and all of the other projects that I have started might all have to be compressed and put away for the foreseeable future. Amongst those projects are some good ideas that could give time, effort and a little finance become great ideas and viable businesses. They may now have to wait.
With all this in mind, I might be a little less visible on social media, but I will continue to find the time to write. I like being able to empty my head, although much of what I write has to remain in my personal journal. Those thoughts and essays would upset quite a few people, so I’ll save them for my posthumous memoirs.
Until next time, adieu.