Connections through time

I had one of those ‘small world’ moments today. A lady came to visit us to tell us all about what will be happening after we’ve had our baby. There was a big list of appointments that will happen after it’s been born*, and plenty of leaflets with really useful advice in them such as ‘Never smack a baby’.

*We decided not to find out whether we are having a girl or a boy so that it would be a surprise. It feels kind of weird having to refer to our child as ‘it’ for the time being though. Still, it’s better than ‘the spawn’, I guess.

I thought she looked familiar when I answered the door, and indeed she was. Turns out she is the mother of one of my old school friends. We came into contact quite a few times when I was younger, and then as friends drift away from each other, I haven’t seen her for years.

I wonder what my 15 year old self would make of that. What would I have done had I known back then that the next time I saw her, she’d be taking care of my fiancée and our first child?

It’s amazing how our lives intersect with others. People we don’t see for years pop up again without warning, and those who were in the background of our existence suddenly become central players in our own stories.

Just goes to show – you should always be nice to people. One day they might have the role of looking after the most precious things in your life.

Did I turn several pages at once, or is it really September?

Grandfather_Clock_DrawingTime is a funny thing. It’s amazing how individual days can seem to crawl on, while the months simultaneously flit by like telegraph poles past a train window. As I sit here and dictate this, today already feels about a week long, and yet at the same time I am struck by that horrible realisation that it is September. It’s not that I have a problem with September (some of my friends were even born in September), it’s just that I have a problem with September being here.

Where did the year go? It seems like only last week that I was sitting down and writing out a list of all the goals I wanted to achieve by the end of it. Incidentally, most of them will go unfulfilled, but as I’ve published a book and got engaged this year I think I’ll call that a win. I know there’s still a third of 2014 left, but I’d still like to know what happened to the other 66%. Basically I’m worried that at this rate the next time I blink, I’ll open my eyes to find myself in a care home, at the age of 90, repeatedly watching countdown and waiting for the nurse to finish mashing up my soup because it was too hard.

Maybe it’s a symptom of modern life. Everything is instantaneous, everything has to have happened yesterday. Gradually, we are making the notion of waiting extinct. You can already order things off Amazon and have them delivered within 90 minutes (certain locations only, he reminds you, to the sound of thousands of Inuits slamming their laptops shut in disgust). Imagine when 3D printing is widespread, or teleporting. Patience is becoming less of a virtue, and more of an ancient skill that only a few eccentrics now preserve, like blacksmithing, sword making, or virginity. Time goes quick because we want it to.

Which begs the question, when we finally succeed in everything becoming instantaneous, will we even need time? If you can get everything now, do anything now, or have anything now, will we even need the idea of next year, or September, or Thursday? Perhaps time will find itself relegated to the pages of history, to slowly drift from truth to myth, eventually becoming fairy tale, as real or as likely to have existed unicorns, goblins, and innocent male celebrities from the 1970s.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Image out of Copyright)

A post about not posting

I’m aware that my last post here also started with an apology for not posting, but it seems adult life has decided to smack me in the face. That’s one of the problems with university; you essentially get paid (by your future self, so the joke is on you) to laze around, eat pizza, play video games, and make lots of new friends. It’s a very sedate pace of life.

But when you leave, you become a proper grown up, you start talking about tax, most of you seem to become teachers and complain incessantly about marking, you know what 9am looks like. You start reading the calorie content on food packets because you actually want to know, rather than because you are trying to see how much of your daily intake you can cram into one meal.

The surface area of your floor becomes more carpet than it does pizza box.

Of course, this change happens at different speeds depending on who you are and what you do. Those who do manage to get full time jobs will still be able to afford pizza and drinking and inflatable vicars. I’ve just started my own business, so things are a bit tight at the moment, and I talk a lot about whether or not Kit Kats are tax-deductible, ways of fitting a filing cabinet into my already over-crowded bedroom, and whether stopping in the middle of the day to watch an episode of Bones counts as a healthy break from work or not.

The lifestyle of a freelance professional copywriter (oh, the notepads! the search engines! the dictionaries!) is a great one, and I am very much enjoying meeting and working with exciting people on interesting projects. The one major drawback of being self-employed, as anyone who is will tell you, is that your job does not stop. I’m not claiming we work harder than people in full time employment – that’s subjective, and depends on who you are and the job you do (I’m sure I work harder than a full time dinosaur vet, for example); what I mean is that if you work from 9-5, once you get home, that’s your time.

Being freelance, because your job is where you live, you can’t get away from it sometimes. The guilt kicks in. ‘What the hell are you doing, trying to have a sleep, at 4am, when there’s that work item you could be redrafting??’ In full time employment, that guilt probably doesn’t affect most people – for a start, you’re working to make someone else rich, and if it’s a large corporation, the chances are that they don’t care about you, so why should you care about them? And besides, you’d get in a lot more trouble for breaking into the office at 4am to do some filing that you would for leaving it until the following morning.

Basically it all comes down to time management, and that’s where I am still learning, and that’s why this blog has suffered. I love writing it, I love reading the comments, I love interacting with all you lovely people. But there are often other things that demand my attention, and sometimes, to be honest, after writing thousands of words all day, when my arms are aching (repetitive strain is turning out to be my nemesis), the last thing I want to do is write something else.

What it comes down to is being able to step back and say ‘Right, you’ve done enough actual work today, time to get back to your passions’. Because that’s what blogging, and writing creatively (which has also suffered massively, so it’s not like I’m just ignoring you people. Apart from you at the back there. Yeah, you.) is for me; a passion. I want to blog because I enjoy it, and because I want to inspire conversations and debate with a variety of weird and wonderful characters from all across the world (apart from you, again. Yes, at the back. Putting a wig on hasn’t fooled me.), not because I have to do it.

I think every blogger has their blips, however. So, to get that conversation rolling again, when was your last one, and what caused it?

Or if you haven’t had a blip, what have you done to make sure you avoid it?