The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 9

As this challenge moves into single figures, I’m sat here yet again with a blank screen.  While I recently blogged about this, and about how my new life is like a blank page, I don’t want to say the same thing again.  But why is it that I’ve fallen asleep twice, yet am refusing to go to bed until this blog is written, and it’s already 21 minutes late?

I’m quite sure the main reason is the pint of Carlsberg I had after my last ever radio show.  That was a momentous occasion, to say goodbye to The American Dream Team, the show I co-founded with my co-host, Jack Harrison, back in September 2011.  As regular readers may know, alcohol does not improve my writing ability, but rather hinders it.  I’m amazed I’ve written this much already, although to be fair I’ve probably slept some of it off already.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was meeting another friend today, another who I’ve known for the best part of my adult life.  While, like yesterday, it wasn’t goodbye, but until we meet again, it signified the fact that the days are counting down until this part of my life finishes and my new life begins.

It’s funny, but today, that old ghost has been haunting me a little.  It’s as though the part of me that never got what it wanted is hoping that it’s not too late, that there’s still chance.  But I know there is no chance, and I laugh at this lame attempt to keep me stuck in the past.  It’s a past that kept me busy and occupied for a long time, but now is the time to let go.  A new future awaits, full of life and love, and where there is no room for anything else, anything bad.  Finally I’m almost at the end of the tunnel, and I can see the light.  It’s not someone holding a torch, and it’s not the headlamps of an oncoming train.  It’s the bright sunshine of the outside world, waiting for me at the end of the darkness.


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 10

With all endings, comes goodbyes.  Or rather, till we meet again.  I had one of those moments today with one of my oldest friends (as in how long we’ve known each other!).  Over a Starbucks, we reminisced how next year would be our 20th anniversary of being friends, having met at the first place I ever worked at, Stapleton & Co Estate Agents in Lincoln.  I was 15, and my friend, Sarah, was 20.  We’ve been through so much together, and I will miss our regular chats over posh coffee.  Tomorrow I will meet another friend, someone else I’ve known for a long time, and that will be another step towards leaving town, and leaving the friends I’ve known for years, through the good times and the bad.

It took me a long time to appreciate good friends.  After I left school, I had a great distrust for so-called friends, and for many years, while I had no problems trusting men (unlike a lot of women I knew), I did struggle to trust female friends (I didn’t have any male friends, which is probably why I have such issues with men).  I think those who have been my friends the longest are those who were the exception.

In my mid-twenties, I began to realise that I didn’t need to keep people in my life, if they were bringing me down, or using me in some way.  I had, to be blunt, a “clear out” and those people are no longer in my life.  Since then, you pretty much only get one chance with me; blow it, and you’re out.  Life’s too short to have bad friends.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be forgiven, but you’ve got to work damn hard to make sure I’m not going to regret letting you back in.  Saying that, I love meeting new people, and I’m always happy to make new friends.

I am a firm believer that people do come into your life for varying times and reasons.  Not everyone will stay forever.  Some people will be there only while you need them, likewise you may appear in their life for a specific reason.  There are people I’ve lost contact with over the years, and I do regret that, but with social media, there’s always a chance that we may be reunited.

What I want to say though, I guess, is that despite the fact I’m moving hundreds of miles away, I know my true friends will always be there for me, and they know that I’ll be there for them.  Distance will never wreck a good friendship, be it over land or sea.  Through the tough times, the fun times, the very, very shitty times, I’d like to thank all my friends for being there for me, and to remind them, you’ve got a friend in me.


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 11

When I look back on the 70-odd days or so since I started this challenge, I realise that very rarely have I been lost for words.  Some blogs may have been late, some may have been written after a few glasses of wine, but usually once I decide to write the blog and get the title put in, the content flows pretty well.  But not tonight.

I have been snoozing my iPhone Have You Blogged Today?! reminder since 9pm, and regular readers will know that’s nothing unusual.  When I eventually decided to switch off my laptop and go to bed, I remembered that I still hadn’t blogged, and had to switch my laptop back on.  I got as far as writing the title…and that was about an hour ago.  The page has been blank since then.

Maybe it’s representative of my new life ahead.  It’s a blank page, a clean slate.  Like this blog, it is what I make it.

As I’ve been sorting through my shelves of books tonight, I have had to be ruthless in which ones have gone in the ‘To Go’ pile.  These books are the result of hours of shopping in charity shops, where I have often bought four books for £1 (rather than 25 pence each, meaning I come home with four books at one time, or sometimes even eight).  I think they represent something missing in my life, because of the hundreds of books I’ve acquired over the last six years or so, I have probably read less than a quarter.  Like the DVDs I used to buy before the books, it became an obsession that has taken a long time to curb.  Once I move, however, I want to start reading again, although this shouldn’t be a problem, since riding the tube is a good excuse to read.

Despite the masses of storage in my new bedroom, I’m going to try and cut down on the amount of stuff I take with me.  It’s a new chapter and a good excuse for a declutter.  Not just material things; in my mind too.  Like tonight’s blog, it might take a while to get used to the blank page of my new life.  But if I’m patient, I’ll soon know what I need to do.




The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 12

With twelve days left of The Twelve-Week Challenge, I’m excited to report that today’s search for a new place to live was successful.  And I shall be moving the day after this challenge finishes, which believe it or not, wasn’t planned (I hadn’t realised until it was pointed out to me).  But it seems fitting that I shall be starting the next part of my life so soon after the conclusion to this challenge blog.

Today has been a long day trip, travelling to London and back, as we drove the 264 mile round-trip from Lincoln to Cockfosters, before catching the tube into Central London, and enjoying lunch in Chinatown with one of our former uni friends.

I got a good feeling about the new place, and I think The Bish will like it too.  There’s certainly lots of furry friends to keep him company.  If he ever talks to me again after leaving him for another day…

Anyway, it’s late, and I’m tired, and I have to crack on with my essays tomorrow.  Because now I have a move date, and that means packing.  As I’ve mentioned before I get excited about moving, but packing always promises to be more of a challenge than expected.  But it’s a good opportunity for a dejunk.  The less baggage I take with me when I move, the better.


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 13

I’m not going to write anything tonight, because I’ve just deleted what I’ve written.

I’m too tired and had too much wine to write anything half decent.

But it’s Friday night, and even bloggers need a few drinks on a weekend, especially after handing in two essays in three days.

So I’m going to go to bed, and enjoy the sleep, ready for my trip to London for more flatsearching!

Good night everyone!

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 14

Having made it into the Final Fortnight of this challenge, I’m very proud to report, that my second essay is IN.  Go ahead, clap, cheer, pat me on the back.  That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 33 minutes.  While I may not exactly be shaking my future self’s hand when I receive the result of this particular assignment, based upon its contents, nevertheless it has been submitted, both online and to my Faculty Office, at possibly the closest to the deadline I’ve ever made.  Big thanks to my housemate, Fen, for letting me borrow the car in order to make it to said Faculty Office in time for the 4pm deadline.  I couldn’t have driven any faster had I been the getaway driver for The Italian Job

Anyway, essay number two is in, and I’m trying to remind myself that I still have two more due, with deadlines of a week tomorrow.  All I really want to do is go and lie down in a dark room right now, which is possibly due to the intense pressure of the deadline which I haven’t quite calmed down from yet, or could equally be due to the four hours’ sleep I got last night, having worked through til gone 2am re-reading The Help.  While the temptation is to relax, at least for a couple of hours, that is not really an option, due to having a uni friend come to stay tonight, and I know she’s bringing wine.  So after around 8pm, I’ll be focussed on the vino, so I should use the next three and a half hours to prep for my next essay, and make a decision on going to London to view flats at the weekend.

While the thought has occurred to me that maybe in ten years or so, I might wish I’d worked harder to get a better mark for my work, the way people wish they had in high school, right now I realise I am doing all I can.  I know I am capable of working harder, but my emotional and mental state won’t allow it, and I won’t kill myself with the stress of trying to achieve a piece of paper with a slightly different number on it.

I am at the stage now where I care little about what mark I get.  I know what mark I’m likely to walk away with, as long as I can focus long enough to write papers of half-decent calibre.  But it’s more important to me now to just graduate, and if I can’t submit a first-class paper, which would have been my ideal a year ago, then I will submit a lesser paper, because now it’s time to finish this.

While I was in high school, I was asked to represent my year at the hurdles.  I was a complete outsider at school, and was decidedly rubbish at sport, my worst subject (with the possible exception of science).  That year, I managed to run the race, coming second, which left me feeling ok.  The next year I was asked to run again.  I tripped over the first hurdle, in front of the whole school, who were sat alongside the running track.  As a teacher ran up and asked me if I wanted to finish, I embarrassingly told him no, I just want to get out of here.  Well, I’m not running away any more.  I’m going to finish the hurdles, whether or not anyone laughs at me.  Like the Jamaican bobsleigh team from Cool Runnings, I’m seeking a standing ovation for my effort, not necessarily for my actual achievement in the olympic sport which is acquiring a degree.  I want to be able to stand there with my funny hat and my gown in September, with the people I love watching, knowing that I did what I had to do, to get to where I want to be.  While that may not be what others may do, it’s what I am doing.  If there’s one thing I learnt at school, it’s that people won’t necessarily like you for who you are.  But it’s up to you to be that person anyway.  It’s my life, and I’ll live it my way.  To quote another great film, which actually has a similar ending to Cool Runnings, I’d like to use this line from Baz Luhrman’s Strictly Ballroom: “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”

I’ll leave you with a song that was playing in the car as I drove home from the Faculty Office.  It sums up pretty much everything I want to say.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 15

As I type the number 15, it hits me how 15 days is only just over two weeks.  Two weeks until this challenge is finished; two weeks until I am released from the obligation to report to you folks every day how I’m doing in regards to finishing up my degree, and preparing for what the hell I’m going to do after that.  I have to admit though, while at times it’s been difficult to force myself to write that blog post before the midnight deadline (and occasionally I have missed the deadline for numerous reasons), I’ve enjoyed the challenge.  It’s given me the obligation to write every day and that is something I have really needed to do.  I want to be a writer, and I need to be able to write, whether I want to or not.  If this challenge has taught me one thing, it’s that I can write when I need to.

So where am I with my big plans?  Well, I’ve been working on essay number two, about Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which is due in tomorrow.  There’s a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in, but I will get it in.  Re-reading the novel and making notes has taken a long time (it’s a long novel, almost 500 pages, and the type is very small!).  It hits me that in just over 15 minutes, it will be a week and a day until all of my essays will be in, and I’ll be free.

It’s strange to say that I’ll be free, as though my degree has been holding me back.  In some ways, it has.  Having to suspend my studies halfway through my final year wasn’t fun; nor was the prospect of staying in Lincoln another 18 months.  But I’ve done it, and it’s nearly time that I can say it was the best thing I ever did.  I can’t imagine being able to finish had I stayed on, and I can’t imagine what kind of person I would have been if I’d had to face the world this time last year.

With regards to that life that I can finally chase, a few days ago I placed an ad on one of the property websites I’ve been using to search for houseshares.  I’ve had quite a few replies, several of which haven’t read my profile, which states my need for a catflap for The Bish, or have ignored the title which includes the words “with cat”.  Yes, I’m talking to you, woman who rang to offer me a flat on the 13th floor in Bethnal Green.  Although to be fair I’d never go for anything on the 13th floor; despite the fact that my Dad always tells me it’s unlucky to be superstitious.

I have seen one or two places which would be suitable, and I’m contemplating another jolly to London to view them.  While I’m aware that the next week has to be focussed on essays, I’m keen to have accommodation sorted when I’ve finished.

With regards to jobs, I’ve not applied for any more recently.  I get daily alerts from several websites, and I always check those, but nothing has taken my fancy, apart from a job as a Medical Secretary in Saudi Arabia, which I contemplated for about 10 minutes before deciding that me being a Medical Secretary would be far too dangerous.

Anyway, I’m feeling more positive, which is ironic because today I got my period.  I guess I had my PMT days last week, but it’s good to know that once that’s out the way, I can be pretty calm and focussed.

I guess the main thing to say is that I can feel the excitement bubbling underneath.  My time is nearly here, and I for one cannot wait to take my new life for a spin.

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