The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person

The life less worked

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At first giving up my job in London was inconceivable. I craved the stability of a regular wage and I clung to the order of routine  like a baby to its comforter. Logistically I couldn’t take my job with me to Barcelona so instead a picture was painted of a life in the sun where I could redefine my career path at my leisure. The first question everyone asked me when they heard I was moving out here was “But what will you do there?”. A sensible question by all means but one that I had no concrete answer to and I only ever responded with, “I’ll just be”.

Fast forward 3 months and I am still just being. What scares me most about this is that I’m not scared about not having found a job yet, I’m scared at how comfortable I am with just being. Everything that has propelled me towards this moment in time has taught me that somehow what I’m doing is wrong: my upbringing, my education, my further education. Every step I have taken was supposedly working towards something…something more like work. But at 25 and not knowing what I want to do in life I’m starting to question whether this is not rather a problem with how I have been moulded to think than my joblessness.

Falling into being is not as easy as one might imagine. Like an ageing boxer watching younger generations claiming his titles and who wants the world to know he still has strength in his arms, I too was desperate for people to know that I had skills, knew how to work and could earn my own keep. For an entire month, living in our first shared apartment, when I wasn’t looking for our own flat I spent the days feeling dejected and useless. I took the disappointment of missing out on this or that flat as a personal blow to my ineffectiveness: in short I judged my worth to what I contributed to society and without a formal occupation I felt worthless. This self-evaluation was intensified by my constant comparison to other housemates who had jobs or who were looking. One evening during a communal dinner the flat owner chastised me harshly over my lack of job prospects as he couldn’t comprehend that at the moment it wasn’t my plan to have a job instantly. I had not expected to be put on trial for my life choices especially as I had not anticipated them to offend anybody. It wasn’t until the arrival of some new housemates, two lovely Argentinian girls on a long-term sabbatical, that I was finally able to own my state of joblessness that had previously caused me such self-doubt. In true argentine fashion they were totally upfront with their position and announced it to the world in an “if you got a problem with it go fuck yourself” way. I jumped right on their bandwagon and from that moment on I was no longer made to feel guilty about just being, nor faced to give an account of my day.

Work is good. A good job keeps your mind expanding and doesn’t allow you to fall into full idleness. There are many things I miss about working the regular 9-5; seeing the same friendly faces, knowing I had something to do with my day, getting paid. That pretty much exhausts my list. I would welcome some consistency since I have moved to a new city and a job is a great way to make new friends. Mostly I feel like I was just spat out of the university machine albeit with great memories, many fond essays and a handsome amount of debt.



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