So I’ve had a Christmas and it’s been nice. I’m ready for whatever’s next.
Except of course I’m in my parents’ house, so I’m reverting to adolescence. My sleeping clock has got all screwed up and I’m awake all night and asleep all day and when I go out to a pub, my mother comes into my bedroom in the middle of the night to see if I’ve arrived home OK.
It’s 2017 now, and I had an excellent 2016. You know the highlights. I’ve boasted about them enough. But that won’t stop me mentioning them again.
- I graduated with a PhD in April.
- I walked 708 kilometres in Spain in May and June. What makes me particularly proud of the Camino was that I’d promised to do so many similar things over the years and hadn’t finished them, and for most of last spring, I expected to not bother going to Spain and just letting the fact that I’d committed to doing the Camino slip out of people’s memories. Actually finishing something hard is massively rewarding.
- I quit my boring, capitalist, management job in Dublin and just walked out without a plan.
- I flew to London without a job and just a suitcase and a dream, like I was Dolly Parton rocking up to Nashville.
- London was everything I dreamed of. And more. I didn’t think someone who’s travelled as much as I have could be as excited by a place as I am by London. And I really, really, really am.
- And it wasn’t just the London-ness of it all. There’s also the catalogue of men, of varying degrees of sleaziness, who have bedded me in the past few months. There’s been very little time when I wasn’t being swept off my feet. And it was amazing.
- I finally, four years after I said I would, knocked a bit of this blog into a coherent narrative and sent it off into the big bad world to see if it can get published.
- I wrote 10,000 words of my YA novel. And it was easy.
I think I’m becoming a finisher. I’m turning into a person I want to be. Not quickly, but it’s happening.
Of course, being at home has started filling me with doubts. London seems a lot less real when I’m here. One of the few things that both my mother and I enjoy is looking at ads for houses for sale, so we did and started chatting and got my sister to drive us out to visit the second cheapest house for sale in Cork city, a small two-bedroom cottage on Blarney Street for sixty-nine thousand euros. I don’t have sixty-nine thousand euros and I don’t want to live on Blarney Street, but just for a few minutes, while I was looking in the windows, I did dream about a life of security and of having a place of my own and of just stopping chasing whatever it is I’m chasing.
But I’ll keep on chasing.
I spent Christmas repaying the overdraft in my Irish account using the overdraft from my UK bank account. It won’t be long before HSBC feels the same way about me as Bank of Ireland. Because I hadn’t kept up with car insurance repayments, my car isn’t insured and it’s sitting uselessly outside my parents’ house. I’m not sure what to do with my car as I think surrendering back to the dealership will damage my dad’s credit rating, so I think I have to keep paying it off. If only I could bring it to the UK. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to rent a place with parking in England, even if I could afford to insure my car. I can’t even afford the hostel I was in before Christmas. I’ve written to them offering to work there in return for a room but haven’t got an answer yet.
I have found a much cheaper hostel, where I’ll be sharing with nine or ten other people. The photos look OK, though the shower cabinet doesn’t look big enough for me to fit in. It doesn’t include food like my old hostel does.
I made the mistake of putting my foot down at work and refusing to do any more teaching and moving into teacher training only. Full-time teaching pays about £1400 or so a month, whereas full-time training is £2800. Unfortunately, there’s only part-time training work available. Can I survive in London on less than a thousand a month and pay back my Irish debts at the same time?
I’m scheming and plotting. I don’t want to stay in the world of English language teaching for much longer. But I’ve got to keep the wolf from the door. I’m half-thinking of looking elsewhere for work and saving up enough to return to London in a few months with a deposit and first month’s rent in my hand. It would make life a lot easier.
So there are challenges ahead.
It’s not as if I’m not used to a precarious life. I’ve lived one for years. And this will be the year I become famous.
I’m writing more than ever before. I’m writing silly little things, but I’m writing. As for my novel, I’m doing it the same way I transcribed the interviews for my PhD. After a year and a half of not transcribing, I finally managed to get it done by under-committing. I promised to transcribe a minimum of seven words a day. Not a paragraph. Not a sentence. Just seven words. Anyone can write seven words a day. It’s easy. And when you’re writing just seven words, sometimes you just keep on going for hours. It works. I’m happy to call myself a “writer”, like literally every single the other gays-on-Twitter-in-London.
And I’ve started doing other things. I recorded a test video for my first YouTube show while the rest of my family were at mass. I watched it about 42 times and Oh My God I want to be the next Cilla Black/Terry Wogan/Oprah Winfrey and I am in equal parts adorable and horrendous. I’ve now deleted it. I’ll make a proper video soon and publish it. Brace yourselves.
Things are happening. I’m happy and I’m creating and I’ll find my niche. I have a few mountains to climb over first, but I’ll make it.
Happy 2017, y’all!