Sunday, 17 January 2016

When are you going to grow up and get a real job?

This week, with the overwhelming loss of David Bowie, the world became a slightly less colourful place. Many people admire Bowie for his outrageous talent, and his majestic imagination. But personally, I believe that it's his brazen attitude to life that made him truly admirable. By defying the norm, Bowie became utterly heroic, and totally inspirational to so many people. For me, Bowie is a constant reminder that it can actually be pretty fucking great to go against expectations.

A few years ago, I lived with my boyfriend and worked a standard 9-5 job. My life was comfortable (as long as you ignore the fact that my boyfriend and I were genuinely living in a shed, in the back of his parent's garden). Back in my white-collar days, I had a routine, a fixed income, a pretentious car, and I knew who I'd be sharing a bed with every night. Tragically, I even knew when I should wear underwear that I hadn't owned since I was a teenager (apparently Topshop's 'Girl Boxers' weren't actually a turn on in the MySpace days of 2007, and the same knickers definitely weren't a turn on for my boyfriend five years later). Surprisingly to some, I was also even pretty good at my job.

According to the expectations of modern society, I had everything (apart from a bathroom). In reality, I had merely settled for an easy life, and I certainly wasn't enjoying it, so something had to change. Even Karl Pilkington, who is literally known for moaning, recently said that if you're not happy then you need to something about it.

It's not that I don't believe in donning a suit, and settling's just not what I want right now. One day, I might find myself working regular hours in an office again. I might even go home to a house that I actually own, and I might even end up having legitimate children. But for now, that day seems more unrealistic than Bill Nighy asking me if he can come round for an adult sleepover. Occasionally (very occasionally), I do secretly envy one of my oldest friends, who has happily settled, but that's mainly because her little girl is obscenely gorgeous. If I do ever have children, it's likely that they'll be mistaken as gremlins that managed to escape from the film set back in 1984.

Eventually, after a stream of ridiculous life choices and monumental cock-ups, I realised that I'd only be happy if I braved going against the grain. Finally, I stopped caring about other people's expectations, and I started to pursue a more creative career (which obviously means that I now work in a bar). Despite the fact that having an entire weekend off is now more rare for me than successfully shaving off all of my leg hair (I have a short attention span, and I'm unfortunately hairy), I'm significantly happier than I was a few years ago. 

Of course, when you've left home to try and pursue something different, there is always a risk that you'll fail spectacularly. Failure might mean that you'll end up having to move back home with nothing but great memories, and the challenging experience of trying to con a bunch of new people into being your friend. Saying that it'd suck to go back home, with your tail between your legs, would be an understatement, but you'd be okay eventually. You'd be okay eventually because you'll know that you tried, and there's no reason why you wouldn't be able to try again. Remember, even Bowie once released some absolutely awful material (if you disagree then you should definitely google 'The Laughing Gnome'), but he did eventually go on to blow everyone's mind.

Although I think I'm mainly saying that failing will be okay incase there does comes a day when I'm forced to inform my dad that I have to move back home, and that it'd be real stellar of him if he'd just tell any debt collectors that I've actually emigrated to an obscure mining town in Peru. Even though I don't care about money, you do apparently need to be able to pay your rent regularly. When your main source of income is your wage from a bar, you definitely won't make it rain all the way to the bank. In fact, it probably won't even lightly drizzle on payday.

Regardless of the uncertainty of what will happen (even within the next month), by deciding to give up my white-collar lifestyle, I've become the happiest version of myself. So, next time someone asks me if I'm ever going to 'grow up and get a real job', I'll be able to tell them, rather happily, that they should just piss off.