The post that should go but doesn’t exactly want to

So, I’ve got the opportunity to go out with a complete bunch of strangers on Friday night and don’t know whether to go or not.

Basically it’s from one of those groups that organise things through a meetup website. People who live locally join up and go out and do stuff together. It’s how I found my nearest badminton group when I lived in London.

I think it’s aimed at various types of people:

  • Those with no mates  – tick!
  • Those who are new to the local area (and so have no mates) – tick!
  • Those who want to get out and about more – tick!

For those reasons I think I’m the type of person that should go. I know I should. The excuses I’ve got are frankly quite shit. I haven’t got any proper reasons not to:

  • I can afford it
  • I’ve got no other plans
  • I’m always moaning about having no plans on Friday nights
  • Lord knows I’m not going to be invited out by my other friends

The one thing is this though: It does seem rather sad, needy and pathetic.

It was different with the badminton thing because that was to meet up with other players and do a sport. That’s a very normal thing to do that normally functioning members of society do.

Bottom line – I’m scared. Which is ridiculous when you think about it.

As Kelly Clarkson points out in her song Breakaway:

Take a risk. Take a chance. Make a change.

I need to do all of those things. Otherwise this cycle of pity, self-sabotage, loneliness, misery and despair (alright, I’m exaggerating a tad – things aren’t that bad) will never end.

Let’s look at the worst case scenario: (I’m loving bullet points in this post, for some reason):

  • They’re all freaks and weirdos
  • I hate them all
  • They all hate me
  • It’s painfully awkward

Okay, I’m bullet pointing myself out of it now. In the interest of fairness, let’s look at the best case scenario:

  • They’re all great
  • They like me!
  • I make an actual local friend or two to go out with on another occasion
  • I enjoy the night out

That’s four each then.

I might as well just do it, right?

If someone else was telling me about this, I’d definitely tell them to stop fucking thinking about it so fucking much and just fucking go and have fucking fun. Fucking.

Sorry for all the effing – I’m drunk on bullet points.

That might be an idea actually. Get drunk first. Relax me. There’s no way anything could go wrong then.

Ugh. Can’t someone else make the decision for me?

N x

The post that left London

So I decided to leave London.

I upped sticks and I left it.

I was on the cusp of falling out of love with it and I think the best way to rekindle that relationship is to create some distance between us.

I’m still close. I can be in central in less than half an hour from where I’ve moved to.

I think it’s working already. I moved on Tuesday and I had to go into central that afternoon and on Wednesday and I loved it.

I walked around rather than took the tube to get where I needed to be and suddenly realised how I was walking past all these famous landmarks and places.

Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, the Gherkin, Brick Lane. In just one afternoon’s strolling. Amazing.

Walking in central London on a warm summer’s early evening / late afternoon is definitely one of my favourite things to do. If you catch it at the right time, as I did, you’ll see:

  • People in suits standing on the pavement outside pubs drinking extortionately priced beer
  • Street performers and buskers setting up and starting their gig
  • Packs of tourists who are done for the day sitting in the outdoor seating area at Starbucks
  • Women in impossibly high heels trying to walk to the tube station without falling over
  • People on their way to or from the gym wearing their gym clothes and in various states of perspiration

I don’t want to not like London.

But I’m really liking the change of pace so far. I’m in a very small town with just a few shops, not much traffic and mainly houses. It’s a nice area.

I haven’t heard a police or ambulance siren since I’ve been here, which is an interesting development. The people I’m sharing the place with are very quiet, polite, friendly, mature people. Exactly my kind of people.

No one is smoking weed, no one is talking stupidly loudly on the phone, no one’s needlessly slamming doors, no one’s leaving tampons on the toilet (yeah, that did happen once), no one’s constantly knocking on my door bothering me, and none of them are sex addicts (yeah, I lived with one once).

It’s very nice. I can relax. It’s literally a breath of fresh air in every sense. Yesterday I just sat there and was amazed at the absolute silence. You could have heard a porcupine hiccup, it was that quiet. Made me realise how noisy London is.

I like the chaos and the people and the action but I don’t think I want to live in it. Just close to it and within easy access of it. For now anyway. I won’t rule out a return one day.

So, no more living above a takeaway with a dead mouse in the cupboard. I’d like to stay here for at least 6 months and settle a little bit. Be stationary for the first time since the end of February.

It’s really hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it just how hard the readjustment is when you come back from travelling. It’s honestly one of life’s hardest transitions. I can understand if people wouldn’t think so, but believe me it is.

I’m taking it day by day and now that, after 20 days of being back, I’m finally living somewhere I feel comfortable… well hopefully that’s another step on the readjustment ladder.

Maybe living somewhere different will be good for me. I’ve got a feeling that going back to where I was pre-travel would not have been a good idea.

By being somewhere new and nicer, it’s got a feeling of progression about it. Rather than reverting back to where I was back in February.

As Colin Hay says in Waiting For My Real Life To Begin

And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Just let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for me real life to begin

That’s quite often exactly how I feel.

I’m waiting for my real life to begin.

N x

The post that feels detached

You don’t know me and you don’t wear my chains

From the song “Boston” by Augustana. Give it a listen here because it’s awesome.

When I was out last night, and travelling home on the tube, I was looking around at everyone and was struck by the weirdest feeling.

What was everyone doing? What has everyone been doing? Why are they doing it? What’s the end game here?

Now that I’ve been back a couple of weeks, I’m starting to realise what I’ve been through over those four months in South America. And that while I’ve been living in a different world, everything back in the UK has been continuing.

Things don’t just stop because you aren’t there to witness them happening any more. Now that I’m not in Colombia any more, it’s weird to think everything I saw there is still going on now. I don’t know why I find that weird. I shouldn’t, but I do.

It’s not like a TV show that got switched off when I left.

Life goes on and life in London continued while I was away.

Now, it’s true to say that by the end of my four months, I was knackered. Mentally exhausted. But I still loved that trip for the most part and the bad times, well, you have to expect them. There were far more good than bad, unquestionably.

So if I ever do something like this again, I wouldn’t go for more than about two months maximum, I think. I’ve changed for whatever reason, and that’s okay.

I think what I really like is change. More song lyrics for you to sum up this feeling perfectly. This is from “Overrated” by Less Than Jake

Can’t stand the normal
Can’t stand the ordinary
Find me anything that’s extraordinary
Show me something
Show me anything
Am I the only one?
Am I the only one?

Do you know what I mean? I need change to stimulate me. As the song says, show me something, show me anything. I want to be amazed, I want to be in awe. I want to discover and explore and be left speechless.

My job is terrible for me from that point of view because it’s highly repetitive and doesn’t even require me to leave the house. Thus reducing opportunities for exposure to something, anything, different.

I’ve covered in previous posts about friends who are now, understandably, too busy with children, spouses, partners and pregnant wives to meet up with me.

So if I’m not going out with friends and I’m not going out for work then when am I going to go out?

To come back round to the title of this post and detachment. I don’t feel like I’ve got anything in common with anyone any more. With friends, with strangers on the tube, with anyone.

Sorry, I’ve got to post more lyrics to demonstrate. I know this is getting a bit lyric heavy, but fuck it, it’s my blog.

Same band (Less Than Jake) and the song is called “The Science of Selling Yourself Short“:

So I sit and wait and wonder
Does anyone else feel like me?
Someone so tired of their routines
And disappearing self-esteems

At least when I was travelling, I was meeting people who were like me – backpacking, nomadic types. But even that got boring and tedious for me after a while.

So, what the fuck do I want? Is it a question of not being able to be happy? Not knowing how to be happy?

How fucked up is this:

I do want to be with people because I’m alone… then I don’t want to be with people because I find meeting people tiring. I want to see and do amazing things… then I decide actually too much of this is exhausting.

I am impossible to please and that’s a problem.

I need to find a middle ground maybe. Decide where is the next amazing place I want to see in the world and go there for a short period of time then come back to the UK. Maybe take my laptop with me and work so that I’ll have a combination of routine and being somewhere that will amaze me. Crucially, I should leave before I get bored or tired.

This is the elephant in the room. I always knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to rest travel-wise until I’d seen South America. Well now that I have… what now?

What does one do when they achieve a long-standing ambition? Find another one?

It’s the elephant in the room because it’s like, well, there’s this thing you could do. It’s kind of crazy but everything is seemingly set up to try it. You might hate it. It might not work in practice. It might blow up in your face.

Can this work? Can I bounce around like this doing a week or two away, then a few weeks at home, then another week or few days away? It just sounds too unrealistic, doesn’t it?

But in the same way that I couldn’t rest until I’d been to South America, I don’t know if I’ll be able to rest until I’ve tried this. Even if it’s just once. One time. I don’t know if I’d be able to live with myself if I didn’t try it.

Combining work and travel. I’ve just got to know what that’s like. There’s some infamous quote along the lines of:

It’s not the failures you regret… it’s the times you never even tried.

People say they regret the things they didn’t do, rather than the things they did, don’t they? Come to think of it, I can think of more of the former than the latter.

I think I’m obsessed with this idea of travelling to see amazing places because it’s something I actually have control over. I don’t have control over my love life or getting a career. They’re only down to me to an extent but they’re mainly in the hands of others.

But travel? That’s always been something I’ve been able to do and able to achieve. Escapism is my forte.

I guess it comes down to trying to find your place in the world. I think everyone wants and needs to feel like they belong to something or somewhere. Whether it’s a place of work, a sports team, a partner, a group of friends or even a country.

I’m losing that. I feel like I have no identity sometimes. So, looking around that tube carriage last night, I was thinking I am nothing like any of you. I just felt so out of place. And with every new engagement and pregnancy from people I know, the feeling gets stronger.

I’m not needed or wanted any more by the people who for most of the last decade I had the best times with. I just don’t fit in with their lives like I used to. I don’t match the criteria. It’s sad but it’s the truth.

By sticking around, that point is being constantly rammed home. I’m constantly being reminded of it.

I don’t belong here and I don’t belong anywhere.

Have a great Sunday.

N x

The post that’s seen people

So I’ve just come back from seeing a couple of friends. We went for dinner and drinks in central London.

It was excellent. I mean I really really loved it.

But it makes me sad because I know that this is such a rarity.

I really appreciate them (they’re a couple) taking the time to come out and meet me.

I spent the entire four months while travelling meeting people and going out with acquaintances so it’s not the same as going out with actual friends who know you already.

I kind of got an insight into why it’s so hard to meet up with my friends. They’re all my age (early 30s), got loads of friends who are all the same age and that age is marriage and kids age.

So every time there’s a wedding, they go.

Every time there’s a new kid born, they go.

There’s stag do’s and hen do’s and baby showers and all the rest of it.

To see me post travel is just another appointment in their calendar.

No big deal to them.

Which got me thinking along the lines of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”

Maybe coupling is the only way forward.

In a previous post I touched on why people would rather be in a relationship with somebody that they don’t even like that much, than be alone.

Maybe it’s the only way.

The only way forward.

To be one half of a couple.

If everyone’s doing it, it’s kind of like, well I’m going to have to as well then.

Sometimes I think, I don’t want to be in a relationship, it’s way too much effort. Too hard. Too much maintenance. I’m too focused on putting food on the table.

Then other times I think it’d be really fucking useful.

Before this evening, I was asked the inevitable question about dinner… are you bringing anyone with you?

How nice it would be to say yes to this question one day.

I’m asked it every time.

The answer never changes. Maybe the fact I’m asked it every time means my friends think that one day the answer will be yes.

I finally had a text tonight from a friend who has been massively unresponsive to messages since I returned. She was saying we should meet up.

Which is fine, I’d like to see her. But I’m not going to push it.

The reason is because I can’t take being ignored or rejected. So, she can suggest days this time, not me.

Also, I’ve since found out that this girl now has a boyfriend. So, hang on a minute. Since she’s gotten a boyfriend, it’s been really difficult to get any form of contact out of her?! That’s weird. A coincidence, I’m sure.

So, it’s happening again.

There’s only one way forward. No point fighting it.

Friends aren’t interested in being the ones who alleviate your loneliness.

Partners do that. Boyfriends and girlfriends.

Someone to go home with after the night has finished. Everyone’s got them but me. I go home alone.

If I’m invited out for dinner you can bet your life there will be an odd number at the table.

I wonder if there’s some alternate universe where people don’t become couples. Relationships aren’t a thing. People just go around by themselves, they have friends, but there’s no couples.

I reckon I belong in that universe and was put here by mistake. Due to an administrative error.

I don’t belong here. It doesn’t fit. It’s wrong.

Which is why I expect I’ll just give in one day and couple up with absolutely fucking anyone. Someone I don’t like, certainly not love, but can tolerate on a daily basis.

That, dear reader, is the future.

N x

The post that’s scared of money

Something I’ve come to realise is that I’m scared of money.

When I don’t have it, I fear I won’t be able to find any again.

When I have a little bit of it, I’m worried it will run out.

When I do have it, I’m terrified I will lose it.

I’ve never had very much of it, not really. Although that’s all relative I suppose.

The fear I have of losing it means I’m scared to spend it and I am no happier than when I see it accumulate in my bank account.

It’s not a great way to live. I guarantee you I’ll be one of those people who dies with loads of money sitting there unspent.

Over the last few days, I’ve been getting work and therefore earning money again for the first time since I came back from travelling. This, unbelievably, was two weeks ago tomorrow. It feels like I have been back for a year.

I digress.

So, now that I’m earning money again, I should be able to relax, right?

Loosen the purse (I don’t have a purse, honest) strings a little bit?

For example, I’m walking around in currently what are frankly such tatty and worn out trainers that I should be ashamed. Why not buy some more?

Well, my thought process is this: only buy what is absolutely essential. If the footwear is even barely passable, keep them until they’re literally torn to pieces.

I’m currently living on the cheapest pasta I can find and the most basic sauce I can find to go with it. I eat this every day. I limit myself to two pieces of dry bread for lunch. Basic, cheap cereal and milk for breakfast.

It’s going to have to be this way for a couple more weeks until the money I’ve made actually becomes available to me.

It sucks but I’m not really complaining. I could live this way for longer if I had to. At least I’m actually eating three times a day.

What I am wondering, though, is why I see money with such fragility.

As such a temporary entity.

Like I could lose it any a second. Living in constant fear that it will run out.

When I first moved to London, it got really bad. I was down to my final £45 at one point and it was quite scary. But I survived and I built it up again.

That’s one thing I’m good at and always have been good at. Saving money.

Ever since I can remember, even as a little boy, I was always squirrelling away money. I never, ever spent if frivolously on sweets or crisps or comics or toys.

Every purchase was well thought out. Never on impulse.

It’s actually quite sad.

But I don’t know why I’m like this. I don’t know if something happened to me in my early years that has lead to this. My parents were never wealthy but they were always comfortable from what I can remember.

But I can’t relax around money. And I can’t relax until I have a certain amount in the bank.

For someone who is so careful with money and good at saving it up, you would think I would have more of it.

I suppose I did before I went travelling.

When I do buy myself something non-essential (which at the moment is anything that’s not food), it does feel good.

And that’s the point of life, isn’t it? Doing things that feel good?

I’m really keen to have new trainers, that’s for sure. I’m meant to be meeting a couple of friends on Saturday and I’m kind of embarrassed to show up in what I’ve got right now.

I think by writing this blog post, I’ve talked myself into getting some more. We’re only talking £20.

Anyway, I have no idea what fear of having no money and fear of losing money when I do have it is linked to. But it’s really annoying. I’d much rather have a care-free attitude towards it.

So, that was a really fucking boring post. But, as usual, it was something I had to get off my chest.

And now it is.

N x