… damn, I’ve been considered an adult for a while now. But ask me what I thought of being “a grown up”, I’d have probably laughed a bit and shrugged it off with a sort of “mmn but I’m not really a grown up” sort of response…
Except I guess, it all caught up with me tonight… as I packed the last of my essential things into the car and thought about leaving the house to go… home…
You see, as much as I tried to ignore the fact, I’ve been a grown up for a while; I have a scary job, a far too big car, I somehow now love olives and I’m starting to enjoy wine… and for a couple of weeks, as much as I’ve tried to ignore it… I’ve own a flat. (Well, I and my dear friends at Nationwide building society…!)
I say I have tried to ignore it… it’s part in turn thanks to waiting for internet to be installed so that I can work from home… which in turn was a great excuse not to move all my things in and just commute the mile home to work.
As I was packing up my things… the bits and pieces not already moved that I probably need to move, I started to feel myself getting anxious. It was clear I was anxious because on going downstairs to load up the car, Mum asked me if I was okay way above the threshold of her usual “are you ok?” SLA.
I don’t do anxious often… I never used to do anxious at all. But a couple of years ago, thanks to some medication, I found myself having a minor panic attack as the DLR pulled into Westferry Station on the way to work. Strangely I remember the moment so clearly… everything was a “What if”… the world was spinning a little… I wasn’t really sure what was going on.
Thankfully, getting off the train and walking onto the Wharf was enough to calm me down (and maybe perhaps the huge pastry bought from Paul on the way into the office!) … but three days later I found myself unable to get out of bed.
I’m pretty sure that opened up some neural pathways that weren’t there before… Thanks to stopping that medication I’m pretty much okay. The occasional flutter here and there, lots of over thinking and generally liking order and process I seem to get by… even when the world around us seems to be crumbling… but it’s always there just lurking… ready to get me.
The last nearly 2 years have been tough on us all. I’m sure when lockdowns started and we ended up at home 24×7 lots of us picked things we wanted to achieve. I wanted to play more music, finish my AWS SA training and take the exam… and for 7 weeks when I was locked in the house thanks to my immune system via my psoriasis treatment, I wanted to go outside!
Did I do those things? For a bit. Did I finish the course… yup! Did I take the exam… nope. Did I play piano and clarinet for 10 mins alternate days? Nope! Do I think I failed in the last 2 years… not at all.
In hindsight, and we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing, I’ve done far the opposite – It’s been incredibly stressful and full of both highs and lows, but I think it turned out okay;
I’ve changed jobs, Twice (you might even say thrice!)… Firstly, having to cancel all made plans due to the pandemic, I left my “have you tried turning it off and on again” comfort zone, and working out how on earth we could onboard new employees totally virtually, during the pandemic. I’d run some programs before, but nothing quite like that… I solidified that with an actual change of Job Title in May switching from Engineer to Technical Program Manager (TPM).
People fit is a huge thing for me – I was blessed to spend 3 years working for an amazing team and manager, and I “bought” the direction… but, sometimes things are not quite to be, and after a minor desk based breakdown and a chat with a friend, I realised perhaps, it wasn’t me that was the problem!
To be passionate about something, I really have to believe it. I’m not good at faking it and I guess ultimately, I’d lost the belief in where I was and what I was doing. I’d always been intrigued by Cyber Security and am still in complete disbelief that I have managed to switch teams and am now TPM’ing for part of the Security Org. (AAAH).
The pandemic also meant we didn’t get to spend so much time with Grandma. Sunday afternoons at Rosetrees were no longer a possibility and we didn’t see as much Grandma as we used to. When she passed away in December, we were incredibly lucky to be able to go and say our goodbyes and to hold her hand one last time… I really miss her stories, and toward the end, the strange snaps of lucidity which caught us by surprise – One afternoon having said very little all visit she saw Jeremy Corbyn on the TV and exclaimed “Well… he’s not a very nice man is he!” She would most certainly had an opinion on the new James Bond film, and without giving any spoilers away, I don’t think she’d have approved of that ending!
It’s hard to be sad about someone you love passing away, when you’ve watched them deteriorate for 3 years and they’re no longer the person you knew. In some ways, I guess the pandemic saved us from more visits when grandma didn’t know who we were. She did however, maintain her famous stock answer to the question “How are you feeling?” Right up to the very end… “With my hands!”
So how am I feeling? Anxious. (And, naturally with my hands… is that Handxious?!) but, thanks to past Steven buying chocolate, milk and a fancy coffee machine with a steam wand, present Steven has cobbled together a sort of “hot chocolate” (aka hot milk and chocolate sludge)… and I think we’ll be ok.
I’m blagging it with hot chocolate, like most folk are actually blagging it with life… I’ve come to realise none of us really know what we’re doing. One moment we’re finishing school and before you know it, we’re signing mortgage documents and trying to work out what to do with the pile of BSP (Big, Scary, Paperwork!!! – I’m led to believe stuffing bills and things into a drawer is not a good plan on life.)
No one makes it out alive, and no one really knows how things work… I guess we just have to try our best and hope no one notices we’re all just making it up!
And if you’re passing through the Barnet area – let me know, pop by and I’ll make you a chocolate sludge… but you’ll know I’m blagging it. (Ask me nicely and I’ll make tea or coffee!)