Thank you very much for being patient while I sort my life out. Every year about this time I like to sit back and have a little reassessment of my priorities. This year has been worse than usual as I’m rapidly approaching a birthday that’s much nearer to thirty than I feel comfortable with, which has triggered a panic about how little I have done with my life so far. Everyone I know has an impressive business card with a salary to match, is either buying or talking about buying a flat, is getting engaged, married, or having a baby, and is generally doing a very good job of being an adult. In comparison, I feel like an overgrown teenager; I’m still living under my mum’s roof, I’m at the career equivalent of making the tea, and I’ve barely enough cash to fill a purse, let alone put down a house deposit. That bestselling novel I was going to write consists of a few pages in a dusty notebook that has been shoved to the back of my bottom drawer. My only progress towards buying a place of my own is a plastic box filled with fancy crockery. The only man in my life is a sadly one dimensional poster of Ryan Gosling. It’s all a bit tragic, isn’t it?
I know I’m not the only one to feel like this, and there are plenty of platitudes designed for people just like me to help them feel better about themselves. Life is a marathon, not a sprint! It’s all about the journey, not the destination! and so on. I know, in the grand scheme of things, that these phrases are true, but they’re not much help when everyone else seems to be having a better time of it than you.
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, today I was clearing out my desk and I found a postcard I bought at a British Library exhibition. It has a quote from Sense and Sensibility printed on it: ‘Know your own happiness.’ As I read it, I had an epiphany. Jane, as always, is right. I am responsible for my own happiness. And my own happiness is exactly that; mine. Deep down, I don’t want all of the things my friends have. I don’t want a highly paid but ultimately meaningless office job. I don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage. I don’t particularly want a husband and I definitely don’t want a baby right now. Their happiness is not my happiness.
What makes me happy is driving to work in the morning, my head swimming with ideas while my eyes take in the lovely countryside on either side of the road; walking into a classroom to see smiling faces waiting for me to teach them something; stopping off at my sister’s on my way home from work to spend an hour or so with my gorgeous nephews; getting the train to London and catching the first glimpse of the Houses of Parliament; getting off the train in London and seeing the faces of friends waiting for me; planning holidays; curling up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea; eating cake; writing a blog post; reading comments from people who’ve read my blog post and liked it, and lots of other things that are far too inconsequential to mention. In short, what makes me happy are a whole myriad of little things, not the big things I’m supposed to think are important. They might not lead to fame or fortune, and they might make me an overgrown teenager, but actually, right now, I’m alright with that.
So, the point of all this is, today I found the answer to the questions I have been asking myself for the past two weeks. Should I bother to keep blogging? Is there any point to it? Is it worth the time? The answer to these is, unequivocally, yes. Like my life, it might not lead to fame or fortune, but it makes me happy. And that’s what it’s all about. Who wants to be a grown up, anyway?