A lot has changed in a year. The last time I blogged, I was still on the younger side of 40, stretching my brain with a creative writing course and trying to squeeze in as many random but satisfying pursuits before That Birthday came around.
The Big 40 has come and gone (and I’m closer to the Big 41 now) and I’m taking stock of what I achieved in my last year of my thirties: in a nutshell, I’m greyer, a little heavier and unemployed. Wow, it really wasn’t a productive year after all!
Actually, it was a pretty good year in a lot of respects – and the Big 40 wasn’t as daunting and traumatic as I was led to believe it would be. Ok, I did plan a month’s worth of celebrations to help me cope, ranging from a 1950s rock-‘n-roll party to a legendary evening with girlfriends in a Soho tequila bar called the Pink Chihuahua that would have a blog post all of its own if I hadn’t been sworn to secrecy about what actually took place. What happens in the Pink Chihuahua stays in the Pink Chihuahua…
Now that I am 40 and supposedly a grown-up, I appear to be in the midst of a mini mid-life crisis. After 14 years working for a company that wasn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things (don’t tell my ex-boss that though), I spontaneously decided in December to resign and try to make a go of it on my own. Call it a last-ditch attempt to seize the dream before I forget what the dream is, but at the time of resigning I thought it was a brilliant idea. I have to say, a weight has lifted from my shoulders knowing that I don’t have to log my brain into a job that had become tedious, routine and repetitive after all this time. However, one look at the wares on offer in the Christmas sales and I realised very early into my new-found freedom that a salary is a surprisingly useful thing to have and that mid-life crises aren’t as much fun as you’d expect. It’s apparently not all sports cars and toy boys – I can’t afford a sports car and a cougar I am not, since my idea of bliss is spending the evening in a onesie with a cuppa and some Bombay Mix, cuddled into a farting bulldog with a bit of David Tennant on the telly.
I also appear to have lost a sense of my own identity. Before, when asked, I could say with authority and confidence that I was an “editor”. But what am I now? I can’t say housewife (anyone who has been to my home can attest to that) or stay-at-home mum (my oldest is about to start high school). That’s like saying I’m a pianist because I’m learning to play the piano (which I am because I didn’t scratch it off the 40 list). I’m now label-less, a bit like the basics range in Sainsbury’s.
Yes, it was all self-inflicted, so I can’t complain. And I had a Plan: to relaunch my freelance editing business, maybe do some writing, get myself published – you know, all that easy stuff. However, the freelance business is slow to take off, the publishing deal has yet to find a champion agent to drive it and I am running out of funds, so I have found myself trying to come up with a new idea for a job: something that pays well, motivates me to get out of bed every day and makes me feel like I’m achieving something or making a difference. Yeah, not much to ask for….
I’ve thought of a number of options: a postman (they get loads of exercise and finish work early, but the winters must be a bitch); dog-walker (lots of fresh air and exercise, matched by enormous piles of poop); opening a tea shop (I don’t know if I’m nice enough to be polite to the public every day); bake cakes (too tempting to do a taste test all the time); librarian (surrounded by books, but not allowed to read them during working hours). None have fit the bill just yet.
So if anyone has any ideas for me, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I’ll keep walking the dog and drinking copious amounts of tea, all in the name of brainstorming.