When I Grow Up

In the run-up to turning 41, I’ve gone back to wondering what I want to be when (if) I grow up.

And the truth is, I still don’t know.

I’m lucky, in that the work I do at the moment I actually something I do love doing – and would still be doing even if I were doing something else as a ‘proper job’ – but I still keep coming back to thew question “Is this what I want to be doing for the next 20+ years?” (Or even the next 10)  The answer to that is also “I don’t know”.

Of course then there’s the follow-on questions – If not this, then what? Why? How? And again, I don’t know.

So it’s a case of asking the questions, and then trying to find the answers – and I think in some cases that’s what the next year or so will be about. I’ve got some ideas, and want to work a bit more on those over the next few months. That is, basically, the plan.

Who knows? By the end of it all, I may actually have some better ideas of what I want to do and be when I grow up…


What’s Next ?

Looking back over the archives, it’s now five years (nearly 5 years 1 month, in fact) since I moved (with Herself) into the first house I’d owned, or been involved in owning. (And still the only house, actually) Which means that it’s eight years since I got together with Herself – and it’s also seven and a half years since I left Manchester, but that’s less relevant to this post.

Now, five years on, I’m back to being on my own, back in a rented place.  It wasn’t entirely my choice, more a conclusion to plenty of events in the run-up, but it’s where things are, and I’m going to try and make the best of it.

The thing is, I don’t really feel like I’ve made any progress in those eight years. Sure, there’ve been lots of changes, and lots of stuff has happened, but when all’s said and done, have I progressed? No – indeed I’d say I’m in a worse situation than I was back then.

Back in 2004, I was working – admittedly at a job I didn’t much like – and doing OK. My finances were up-and-down, more so than they should’ve been, but I really only had debts of £1,000 at any one time – my bank overdraft, and that was it. The house was rented, and was OK. I didn’t drive (ah, OK, that’s progress) – but I didn’t need to, with a decent transport system at my door. Sure, longer travel was more of a pain, but I was used to that.

Now, I’m working – at a job I like, but don’t want to do Forever – and my finances are shit. I owe a significant amount of money, and know it’s going to take a long time to sort that out. That debt has been my own choice, to a degree, but I’m not happy about it, and I want to get rid of it. It’s just that sometimes that looks like a bit of an insurmountable task.  The house is rented, and is OK. I do drive, and have a car, so yeah, that’s progress.

I don’t have any assets, realisable or not, and I don’t really have anything of merit going for me right now.

The job? It’s OK – even good – but it’s not really what I want to do any more. Except I don’t know what I do want to do, either.

And with everything else going on, I most certainly don’t feel like I’ve anything to offer anyone else. I don’t want anyone else either, so it’s not all bad, but it’s the feeling that’s just a bit grim right now. All I’m going to focus on for the foreseeable is getting myself sorted out, figuring out what I want to do/be, finding what (if anything) makes me happy, and all that jazz. It’s not reinvention time, but it is – I think – rediscovery time.

What’s going to come next? I honestly don’t know. This is either a new beginning that leads to something interesting, or it’s the beginning of the end. Who knows which way it’ll go? Not me, that’s for sure.

[Note : I’m just having a down day. Not great, not by a long chalk. But I’ll get through it, one way or t’other]

2012 – The next twelve months

This year I’m not going to lay down a big old list of plans. They rarely work out, or I’m just too ambitious – or other things take over.

Take last year’s list, for example :

  • Write more
  • Take more photos
  • Do more websites
  • Get more business
  • Pay stuff off
  • Get off the antidepressants

Not much, really. Yet most of it didn’t quite happen. Work and life got in the way, and things just didn’t quite happen.

Mind you, I did get off the antidepressants, and I did take photos when I got the chance, so that’s not too bad. I also completed a fair few websites, and some other projects – just not for myself.

I think I’ll be keeping the same basic list for this year though.  It’s written with the best of intentions – but the knowledge that things change, including my motivation.  But I think the 2012 list will be (in no particular order) :

  • Write more
  • Photograph more
  • Owe less
  • Weigh less

And that’ll do, I think.

Snow vs Resolution

One of my plans for 2010 is to keep on losing weight, and get myself back to the gym, see how things go.

I had planned to be going in some time over the last week, at least get started on the idea. However, the weather has kind of kicked that into touch, and will probably continue to do so this coming week.

It might sound like the weather’s an excuse – and I suppose if I were really determined, I could still go, but it’d be interesting, to say the least. The gym itself is on the outskirts of another local village, where the roads haven’t been gritted at all. But I’ve had one crunch on dodgy roads this winter, and I really don’t want to have another one – particularly while I’m still in the poxy hire car.

I will go back to the gym – but only when it’s safe to do so.

Ideas for 2010

Well it’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s time for me to have a few thoughts and ideas for 2010.

As always, there’s a number of ideas and plans coming together at the moment, but whether they’ll all come into fruition or not is something only time will tell. But for now this is the list of what’s in my head, and we’ll see what happens. I’m trying to keep it down to four or five categories, just to simplify things a bit.

  • Photography : I really want to make some progress on the photography side of things, work towards selling some bits if possible. I’ve got some contracted work to do for the charity I worked with a while back, and from there see what progresses.
  • Writing : Again, I want to get to the point of having some stuff actually done and finished. I planned to do this in ’09, but that hasn’t worked out. There’s a few bits that have been started, but I need to finish at least a couple of them and work that way.
  • Work : I’ve made the commitment to stay in the current job throughout 2010 – allbeit with the “unless everything turns to shit as a result” proviso – which will keep the bills being paid and me in general work. But I still want to get some of the outstanding projects and ideas into some version of reality.
  • Social Life : Over the last couple of years (really since moving to Norfolk) I’ve been utterly shit on the social side of things. So I plan to spend some time getting back in touch with friends around the place, and seeing them etc.
  • Money : For me, 2009 wasn’t a good year financially, and want to spend 2010 getting back into a place that I’m happy with. Currently I’m not happy with the situation for debt, and I want to get a significant dollop of all that paid off if at all possible.

And that’s it. There’ll be more detail over time, I’m sure – and there’s also stuff on the domestic side – but that’s the rough plan. It’ll do for now.

NCFE Photography – The Result

So, ten months after starting the course – three terms of ten weeks each, plus breaks for half-term and between terms – I’ve now passed my NCFE Level 2 Photography certificate.

I’ve written about the course on odd occasions over the last year, and it’s been a pretty good course all told. I wouldn’t say I’ve learned masses, but that wasn’t necessarily my goal for the course  – it was more about getting more motivation for going out and taking photos, which was more what I needed – and in that way, it’s been pretty successful.

There’s a fair number of the final portfolio images in this set on my Flickr pages although I haven’t added all of them yet.

All told, I’m pleased to have successfully completed the course, and to have built up the portfolio project, and it’s another thing to add to the CV. All the people on the course have decided we’ll continue to meet up on a regular basis, and keep our motivation going in that way, creating in effect our own photography club, so we’ll see how that goes.

And for further further education? I don’t know yet – Norfolk’s Adult Education has apparently been hit hard by budget cuts, so there are nowhere near as many courses for 2009/10,  and even more annoyingly it looks like the NCFE have also stopped doing the Level 3 certificate completely. So we’ll just have to see what I decide to do on that score.

For now, I’m going to enjoy a summer off, and take some time to think about what comes next.

Writing Plans

As I’ve written before, one of my plans for this year is to get some more writing done. I’m working on it, and there’s still a lot of the year to go, so we’ll see how things work out.

However, I’ve also been thinking about getting some impetus towards year-end, where I can both learn a bit more about my preferred writing areas, and (hopefully) get some feedback on ideas that I’ll have written – or at the bare minimum, have outlined and started – by that time.

In that light, and because I’ve known about them for years, I’ve signed up for a course through the Arvon Foundation, which I’m already really looking forward to.

It’s a cost of nearly £600 for the week, but that includes all food, board etc., but I think it’ll be an interesting departure, and something cool to do. Who knows, if it works out well, I might even go on more of them in 2010…