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Poets Day

6 min read

This is a story about the gravy train...

Ikea meatballs

If you think that I'm in a cyclical pattern that I need to break out of, you might consider that we are all in a cyclical pattern - Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, weekdays and weekends, morning and evening, summer and winter. Round and round we go.

It occurred to me that I'm repeating so many things I've done in the past - buying a car, starting a new job, renting an apartment, getting through the working week. The paycheques will start to get queued up and one month will look very much like any other. I'll be well and truly back into the never-ending cycle, but the 'good' one.

Renting an apartment is going to be stressful, and the last time I did it I was left exhausted and financially exposed, which tipped me over the edge - I presented myself at my doctor's surgery and said that I was afraid that I couldn't keep myself safe. I was hospitalised after 13 hours of waiting. Could I be risking a repeat of that?

How many times have I managed to start a new job and get myself into a place of my own without having some kind of breakdown? 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017... every year I managed to keep a roof over my head and enough money to pay the bills, although I got into debt when I got sick. I don't think it's the wrong thing to do, to get a job and rent an apartment. One of these days things are going to go smoothly for me. One of these days I'm going to have a run of good luck.

Yes, there's a lot of repetition in my life. There's repetition in your life too - you eat three meals a day, sleep in the same bed every night, drive the same car, go to the same job, sleep with the same partner. It's not the repetition that makes my life have repeated crises. In fact it's the disintegration of good things - social groups, stable accommodation, secure employment, healthy finances - that prompts and gets intermingled with the problems... cause and effect are hard to unpick, but you need a whole host of things if you want to have a sustainable and liveable life. You should try living in a hostel, losing your job, losing your friends, running out of money... those things are horribly stressful and destructive to anybody's mental health. When you get a whole clusterfuck of issues all at once, that's more than anybody could ever cope with.

I tried to focus on money alone, knowing that other things would slot into place more easily with money behind me. It was three months of hell, but I built up enough of a financial cushion to make some big changes, like getting a girlfriend, buying a car and getting a local job. Next is getting a place of my own and building up some more cash reserves. Life is more tolerable, now that I'm no longer having to work in London, live in AirBnBs and be isolated and alone. Life is more tolerable now that I work with a nice team of people who I see every day.

My week was very relaxed, except for the early morning starts. The early mornings have their perks - it means I can leave early and beat the evening rush hour. I was home by about 4:30pm this afternoon, which is phenomenally good. I'm very lucky.

A couple of weeks ago I dreaded going to work, I dreaded going to London and I had hit the wall - I couldn't go on anymore. I'd reached the limit of what I could endure anymore. Now, I've actually finished the working week feeling really good about how things have gone. It was a rough start to the week, but things have steadily improved. I can't quite believe how quickly and easily the week has gone. I've managed to work 40 hours instead of the dismal 16 that I was managing in the previous job, and the time has flown by. It was such a struggle in the previous job and the time really dragged, but this week's been so great in comparison to my working weeks in London.

Things are so damn relaxed in the new job. Yes, people get to work early but they leave really early too. My colleague left the office at 2pm. I left the office at 4pm. I've really not been working very hard at all, but yet I've achieved plenty - I'm exceeding expectations. I'm quite comfortably able to meet the demands of my job without much effort, which is actually a good thing. I could do with coasting for a bit. I could do with some easy laid-back living for a while.

Round and round I go, stuck in my cyclical pattern, but hopefully I'm getting into good habits now. I'm going to bed early so I can get up early to get to work. I'm cutting down my drinking and I've stopped taking sleeping pills. I'm socialising. I'm shopping and going to the cinema and having meals out. My life is very rapidly becoming quite pleasant. Monday morning was shockingly awful, but Friday afternoon has been every bit as good as it should be - a good job well done and a load of money earned... another step closer to getting back on my feet.

As always, I'm a little paranoid that something's going to go wrong. I don't want to be completely crushed if something doesn't work out. I don't want to be psychologically destroyed if things don't go as planned. I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic, and not allow myself to get carried away. "Don't spend it until you've earned it" is a mantra I've always subscribed to, but you don't get to be financially prudent when your life and your health disintegrates. I've always kept rainy day money aside and not over-stretched myself. I had a life that could withstand a lot of shocks, but so much stuff got broken that I've ended up in pretty deep shit, but I'm on the mend. I'm not going to relax until I have a substantial financial cushion again, plus the friends, girlfriend, job, apartment etc. etc.

So, it's Friday evening and my work is done for the week. I'm not dreading Monday morning, which is great. Maybe I'll get that sinking feeling on Sunday. We shall see.