What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What’s really important?
This will not be a poetic or creative outlet, more of an incoherent ramble getting things off my hairy chest, posing questions to anybody out there in the ether.
I visited his house baring gifts, relaxed into his couch, mugs of herbal tea all round and gained a possibly caffeinated fresh wind of energy as we (his mother included) put the world to rights covering everything from Adolf Hitler through to Prostitution.
His house has always been a safe sanctuary for me, where I can unwind and talk about the big questions and the silly trivial things that make us giggle like school girls (when I am not being trampled by his pack of dogs). The faint sound of wind chimes can be heard from the garden before serenity is broken as the menagerie erupts signalling another visitor has pressed the festive doorbell. Time for another brew around the open fire . . . ah sweet bliss.
Within these four walls I can be myself, not judged and not judging. It is heaven with a hot tub and I am a very happy guest whatever the season. Alas today we are not stripping down to our underpants and taking a warm dip with a cool beer. It is a tea pot day and I am pleasantly content.
I share my joys and my worries and they share theirs. It is a mutualistic exchange, text book relationships at their best.
I am told my friend has had several skype interviews since I last sank into the couch and gave some advice on presenting his CV. He is the second companion I have helped this month with resume troubles, a throwback to another life in recruitment.
I love helping those closest to me. I love helping anybody, so long as I feel like I have time. But time is something I have felt short of the last few months.
It is great he is getting good feedback, edging his way to another position spreading smiles to families as an entertainer. Always the thespian he gets paid for doing what he loves, clowning and dancing around. It will be sad to see him sail off on the cruise ships, but it is great to know he is following his dreams.
We have two good friends who have headed down under. We obviously miss them too, but it is satisfying to know the people I have grown up with are free to do whatever they want, wherever they chose. Our paths will cross again and when they do we will have epic stories to share.
But what about me? Where is my life heading?
I adore spending time with people, but sometimes I just need time alone. My personality splits once more.
I head back to my solitary room and wonder “what the hell do I do now?” I have decided works off the agenda for twenty four hours, how will I fill the void?
I wrap myself in my duvet and watch Brian Cox documentaries on the Universe. This is when I am happiest, contemplating life, existence and what it all means? Not in a depressive emo manner, but in a fascinated child looking up at the stars kind of way.
I glance longingly at a stack of philosophy books and sigh. I lack the hours to scrutinize them at the moment, I’m just too busy. Plus I have decided there will be no reading today.
But I am the one who consciously decided to fill my timetable with the challenge of pushing at the forefront of science. Professor Cox grabs my attention again and a smile erupts over my face – I have realised I am using my free time to fill my head with more science. I bask in my stupidity and revel in the fact I have made the correct decisions up stream.
I was always a scientist at heart, asking questions, desperate for answers.
I am a curious person always wanting to know why and how? Going back into education and research was inevitable. But I never expected it to be so tough. I know I struggled at University the first time and leading up to my return I was constantly told that “it is difficult going back after a break”. Piling on my shaky mental health over the last couple of years, it was always going to be a personal challenge, but I think I drastically underestimated it.
I have never felt like the sharpest tool in the box. I was certainly a tool though; I earned the nickname Spoon from a very young age. I never congratulate myself when I do well, but I am first to notice when I mess up. When people compliment me on my “intelligence”, I blush and deny it - If only they knew the thoughts in my head.
The advice from my academic supervisor ring in my ears “there would be no point in coming back if it wasn’t a challenge”. I totally agree, he is a very wise man. He must also have the patience of a saint to guide me through the research process. I respect him a lot more than I have ever told him, that goes for all my lecturers past and present. Anybody with intellect that is pushing the limits of our collective knowledge and bettering the world gets my admiration. These are the real heroes in society, not the stars that are glorified on our TV screens – cut to a commercial, buy more crap.
Not rewarding myself for doing well feels like the least of my worries at the moment. Just getting by is an uphill struggle. Some of my grades have been shocking. I’m not used to failing (except for my driving test, but I hate driving and really having to concentrate on not killing people). A pass seems like an epic achievement, who have I become?
I got a clean sheet of A’s and A*’s in my GCSEs and a first class degree with honours at undergraduate level. Academically I am used to threating over my studies, but it all turning out more than OK when I receive the grades. Not this time. I kind of wish I had learned to fail gracefully earlier on in life, that way it would not be affecting me so much now.
I feel like I am putting in the effort and the hours, but my wheels are spinning and I am getting nowhere fast.
Maybe it is because of the years spent out of University, the decline of my mental health, the getting up at 5.30am to travel from Wales to Liverpool or a combination of all the above.
My eagerness, persistence and unwillingness to quit feel like my strongest assets at the moment so I plan to continue plodding forward.
I have been appointed a mentor by the university support services. When the idea was proposed it felt like a giant step back from what I had initially envisaged for my University experience. It feels like a role reversal as I have spent the second half of the year volunteering as a mentor for Flintshire Mind. The mentor has now become the mentee.
To be fair I have grabbed any support offered with both hands. As an undergrad I worked myself into the ground, and ended up taking a year break half way through to recover. I never accepted any offers of extended deadlines as I saw that as unfair. This time I have collected a mitigating circumstances form and am ready to submit it with my medical evidence. I guess I have learned to be completely open, honest and transparent when it comes to my mental health. Time will tell how that goes.
Semester one was always going to be the heavy one, the new year ushers in less modules but more focus on my independent research project. I’m so tired I am going to have to take a few days over Christmas to recuperate – the task is not feeling guilty about it.
With the decision made to rest my mind wonders to the future. I planned on perusing PhD after the Masters of Research, although I am not in the right state to make such a big decision and commitment. Applications need to come from a positive, enthusiastic place, at the moment I am treading water.
Where does that leave the blog? I have started to question the impression it will give to people I am forging relationships with moving forward, professionally and personally.
I am back in the head space of wondering how anybody studying seriously has time for a relationship. I never was one to be able to maintain a healthy work life balance, but even if I found the time for a girlfriend, would the blog scare potential lovers off?
With a quick bit of facebook stalking or google search, my former life can be retrieved in seconds. I am all for being honest about your past, but will it be too much with it all chronicled in black and white?
Will women be afraid they may become just another filler blog entry? My time spent “playing games” made for interesting writing, but it is obviously not who I am anymore. That guy lived by strict rule of never showing weakness, not until the victim was ensnared at least.
The OCD World blog, and by extension my life, is an open wound. I matter-of-factly discuss my kryptonite, counter to all advice in the pickup community. Like a Catholic confessional, it is a release to unburden myself, so I can move forward spreading smiles and love.
What do you think guys and girls? Does having such an honest approach to a blog have detrimental effect on careers, relationships and life in general?