Last night, after another four hour class (straight after a full day at the office), I was once again reminded of how serious a commitment studying part-time while working full-time really is. So today I have set aside a little time to blog about how my life has changed.
1. Time is more valuable than ever before. I plan my entire week to the nearest hour. When something goes wrong and I’m late for a date with my books, I get really edgy. I don’t want to mess up this relationship.
2. I have a limited social life. Actually, that is putting it mildly. I have no social life. I have to decline invitations to parties and launches and events because I’m drafting my assignment and researching some monster concepts. I haven’t seen my friends in weeks.
3. My ass has started to take on the form of my chair, and my elbows have desk indentations.
4. I only have time for one hobby and I have chosen to continue horse riding. It really is the only thing that keeps me sane. It also provides me with an opportunity to talk to people who are not in academia or the media industry. It also gets me outside a bit, so I can maintain a slight tan and not look like a total nerd.
5. I dream in words and theories. No more dinosaurs or back to school nightmares – I dream in Strategic Communication.
6. Instead of conventional massages, I now have brain massages. These are incredibly satisfying, even if they leave me a little tender afterwards.
7. People take me more seriously. It’s one thing to say you’re studying again, but it’s another when you say it’s a Masters degree. It makes people sit up and pay attention.
8. Whenever I am on campus, I am slapped by the realisation that I am not that young anymore. Most of the students at UJ have barely cleared 20. I’m closer to 30.
9. Meals have changed. They need to be quick and easy and highly nutritious. To save time, I need to mess as little as possible. And if there is a supply of leftovers, I become very excited.
10. There has been a serious shift in the way I view the professional world. I am constantly relating real life situations back to my studies and I try and find a practical application for every theory. And the worst part is there are gaps in both.
I have another 20 months or so to go, but my gut feel is that it will be worth it.
I resigned from my previous job about four months ago. And it was a highly traumatic experience. And my ex-boss got to keep the kids. Restraint of trade means I can’t be with them anymore. To make it worse, I went to a competing agency, which is a little bit like infidelity. And my ex-boss made it clear that I had betrayed her. And I felt like a toad. Actually, I felt like a toad that had been run over by a truck.
The guilt was overwhelming. I nearly crawled back, begging for forgiveness. But the documents were signed and we were breaking up for good. But my little affair with my new job kept me going and I saw it through.
If a divorce is a bugger when pursuing greater things in your career, a real one must be a monster.
Then I saw some of my clients in the media, the final product of my work. And I missed them a little bit. I was a great parent and serviced the crap out of them. But I had to be a good parent to my new children.
Fortunately they were happy to welcome me into their family.
And the new job? It’s great. It’s a bigger family, and a warm and loving family. I’ve pretty much forgotten my past life. And I feel as though I have always been right here.
Did I betray my old boss? I don’t think so. I don’t think losing staff is much fun, but my new company is much, much better for me.
Am I a bad person for wanting something different? Absolutely not. It’s about growth and happiness and sometimes you need to be just the slightest bit selfish.
Do I have any regrets? Nope, none. I’m very happy.
I get a lot of e-mail. And somewhere, between all the subscriptions to time wasting newsletter, I get a few annoying ones from real people. Some real people are welcome to mail me about anything at any time. In fact, some of these real people read, subscribe and support my blog. This does not apply to them and they are granted automatic forgiveness on all the below mistakes.
But for those people with a compulsion to hit ‘send’ without thought for me, please consider the below:
NEVER use your name in the subject line as the subject. This is to be used for the contents of the mail, not as an introduction. You’re name appears next to the mail, I don’t need to see it twice. Please stop it now!
DO NOT phone me to find out if I received your mail. I will reply IF necessary and when I have time. You are not the only person sending me stuff. It’s much more important that I need to be looking at. Like videos about baby donkeys and funny pictures.
I find religious holiday mails offensive. STOP sending me ‘feel good’ mails about the baby Jesus and counting my blessings over Easter and Christmas. Especially if I have no idea who you are and am unfortunate enough to be on your mailing list. What if I was a Satanist or Jewish?
The recall option ONLY works on an internal server and if the mail has not been read and only for people in your office. If you fuck up and send me the wrong thing, I will be getting that mail, 10 mails of you trying to recall it in a panic and your revisions of the original mail. That counts for at least 20 emails that I have to wade through. It’s annoying. Don’t do it.
If I don’t know who you are I will not accept your meeting request. The correct procedure for setting up a meeting is to introduce yourself, send through your proposal and WAIT for me to get back to you. Keep in mind that I would probably want my colleagues in the meeting with me – this means I have to coordinate three diaries and it’s dependent on how badly we want to see you.
Someone suggested I write a blog post about having a dress made. I really like this person. I am also very grateful to this person for the Top Gear Festival tickets. She says I am the most random person she has ever met. But I still want her to find a great dress maker in Johannesburg. Recommendations will be accepted into the comments on this post. I did not take the accusation of being random too seriously.
So instead about writing something of value I will tell the world about how I feel today and write about the weather and the consequences it has on my life.
It’s raining. And I was monumentally stupid this morning. I had two qualified doctors in my house and I could have asked for a doctor’s note saying I contracted Foot and Mouth disease over the weekend. But I am too honest to even think about this until I am sulking at the office and daydreaming about how I could be at home faking illness.
The real problem right now is that when it rains I want everything. If I saw a cake right now I would want it. If I saw a rack of ribs, I would want that too. If I see food, I will want it. And I wouldn’t even want to eat most of it. I would just want to surround myself and look at it. Or I could ignore the food mountain completely. I just want that options. And only on days that it rains.
I want the two minute noodles my colleague made, I want the cheese sandwich the other one ate. I have no idea what the third one is eating for lunch, but I want that too. I want whatever is being served for lunch at the restaurants in the area and the cookies that may or may not exist in the building next door.
Once the weather becomes nice again I am happy to go back to planning meals three days in advance and not deviating from the menu at all.
It’s been ages since I made a list. So here it is, the five most overrated things I can think of right now.
Ramen. In its defence, it did come out of a packet and didn’t have English cooking instructions. I still wanted to feel like a ninja while I ate it. Or at least like an animated character in a popular Japanese TV series. Neither happened. In anticipation for the day that it does, I am obsessed with Ramen, but it doesn’t make my hot list.
Twilight. Badly written books translated into worse movies. Teenagers now think vampires sparkle and have self-control. I would much rather watch a D-grade rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in a sauna than sit through the A-listed Eclipse in an air-conditioned cinema. And I have less than no interest in reading about the cotton count on Edward’s sweater.
Having a full time job in a recession. Yes, I’m really lucky to be employed and even more lucky that my job is stable. But I can think of a lot of things better to do with my time than sit at a desk for 10 hours of the day. Like hugging an angry porcupine.
Having my car washed for me once a week. But only because in his thoroughness Edmore ‘re-adjusts’ my side mirrors. It drives me *#%@&%$ nuts! Just like the bits of lint on the bonnet.
Jelly beans. These are exciting for about two minutes. Then they roll all over the place, fall on the ground and contain so much artificial rubbish that they make you want to vomit rainbows.
About two weeks ago I hit the middle of being 25. Now I’m heading towards my late 20’s pretty quickly, and I’m okay with that. Because I’m all about knowledge, and I’ve learnt a lot. This post has been a long time coming, these lessons have been a long time in their making, but now I can make them facts.
I have concluded that peanut butter is one of the best things ever and gherkins can bring about world peace. Sushi is still one of the tastiest things I can put into my body and curry fixes everything. Getting free stuff will always be cool, even if the ‘gift’ has no logical use, finding an alternative stimulates creativity. Music is still a sanctuary and reading is a neglected love and not by choice. Red wine goes with just about everything, but nothing beats a beer on a Friday night. Shooters are no longer as interesting as they were, and I would rather have a Red Bull when I want a buzz. I am too old for clubbing and I like to be in bed before 23:00.
I now know that relationships will end, and sometimes you really can’t work it out and should stop trying. It hurts, but that’s alright. Because even pain goes away eventually. And the lingering heartache is just because good memories cancel out the bad ones. Moving on is not terrifying and the alternative to happily ever after is not that bad.
Working from 8 to 5 (on a good day) is what happens in the real world, and it’s not the worst way to spend time. Stress happens, but so does shit and there is no getting away from either. There are worse places to be than the office on a Sunday – I could be unemployed.
Having friends, really good friends, is a blessing. 95% of people will misunderstand me and I don’t like the way 95% of people do things. But those are my problems and I am not theirs. But those who care about me, those who really care about me, help me take on my problems, and I am happy to help them with theirs. I will never underestimate an ear to whine into, a shoulder to cry on and a hug from someone who at that moment (and probably most of the time) has more inner strength than I do.
Breaking down is okay – I am not a fortress. Being made out of stone is unhealthy and dysfunctional. I am by no means a fully functional human being, but maybe one day when I grow up I will be. I will make mistakes, but they are only mistakes if I don’t learn from them.
There is great beauty in the world. And it’s worth pausing for. There are moments of such inescapable beauty that will happen and when they do, it’s okay to cry.
My horse, Ashgar Leam, is my rock. He’s frightfully handsome and is my soul mate. Our relationship is one of complete trust, thorough understanding and deep love. We were made for each other and get each other so completely I will not even try to explain, because there aren’t words and I don’t care if you don’t get it. I do and he does and that’s enough. Nothing else in this world matters as much as his four legs, his brown eyes and everything else that makes him horse.
Strangers are best avoided, but when necessary there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of their kindness. I have been saved from disaster several times in the past six months by people I will never see again.
Living in the millennium is not an excuse to neglect the past. Good books were written before 2000. Amazing music was produced before Britney Spears and filling my collection with ‘classics’ is a worthy investment. Just because it’s not a best seller does not mean it should be passed over.
I’m still grappling with this one – but I should never be near my phone when I’ve been drinking. I do dumb things, I say things I never would to people I probably shouldn’t. This hasn’t led to any serious disasters, but things can’t be recalled once they have been sent into the universe via technology.
Moments of immaturity are fine. Silly things should be laughed at. Stupid people should be mocked (in private). Using the language of teenagers colours dialogue – as long as punctuation is still a priority.
Amazing people should be recognized and learnt from. Getting over my own ego has been tough; sadly I am not that smart (yet). Industry leaders in whatever field are wonderful to talk to.
Doing stuff alone is empowering. I crave time on my own and I am now happy to go to function without a plus one or colleague. I will go out and meet new people and if we never cross paths again I still had a few hours to enjoy their company and learn.
The past can’t ever be changed. Letting go of guilt is a challenge. Ultimately there are two choices in life, rolling over in submission or standing up, finding balance and taking on the next hurdle. Taking some time to gather your strength is advisable and then fully forward, because reverse is a gear you should only use when driving. Bring it!
And bring on the next five months, bring on 26 – I can’t wait for what will happen next.
Before I forget – I would like to add that I like steak. Steak is awesome. It’s good knowing A-grade meat is out there.
And one day I’ll get over saying AWESOME all the time.