Today I went to the jobcentre to sign on again and I had just found out something. They tell me that I haven’t logged any job hunting progress in the last seven days online. This got them wondering what I was up to when I should have been job hunting. Well I wish I didn’t have to look for work like that. I never even planned to look for a job at all. So what wrong. In the last ten years since I self published my novel A Baffling Unoriginal how come I never got anywhere into the world of work as planned with the novel. I would have thought it would have opened up new opportunities.
Let’s start with a tale of reflections. What should have happened? Why did I divert from my goals? Well in that summer of 2007 I was at a crossroads. I was exhausted from promoting my novel when I didn’t have enough sales and I was just a frustrated man. I needed something new in my life. But what? I was still jobless and living on welfare handouts? I was trying to get a job but no one would take me on? My mental health hadn’t received any attention and I was having problem after problem put on me. I just didn’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s problems. So I started to find some form of escapism. To that end I decided to invest in a new career.
When I was young I was a big science geek and I wanted to work in a field where I could explore another world. I was fascinated by planetary science, technology and all other things of mystical wizardry. I wanted to be a scientist again and so I enrolled at the Open University. Rather than try to conform to one goal at a time I decided to experiment with my many other passions and cram them into as much of my time as I possibly could. I was so engorged in this free willed narrative that I didn’t even focus on one subject at the distance learning university. I did try to go full time but I couldn’t find a university that would take me on and I wasn’t even qualified. I was a school failure looking to reinvent myself.
I looked into my options at the OU and decided to take an Open degree. That way I could combine science with artistic subjects like literature. But in all my naivety I didn’t consider the taking one thing at a time. I did really well in the contemporary science subjects and maths subjects were a struggle to pass well. But I also took a literature module for a year which turned out to be a waste of time as I didn’t do well to pass the exam. After four years I found that I wasn’t progressing fast enough and that I should realised that I was keeping my cards too close to my chest. I failed to get my degree after the planned five years and to make matters worse the government had at that time upped the price on the tuition fees.
It seemed like even if I tried to better myself I couldn’t get out of this ridiculous catch-22 situation. The jobcentre even interfered when I was trying to make something of myself with training courses and placements on useless services. They were like a clerical office with an autocratic grudge against the unemployed. It’s not my fault I couldn’t get out of it. All my friends and relatives who could help me get into a job didn’t have anything right for me. Most of them work in the building trade and I couldn’t even drive yet alone handle working on a site.
On a positive note things haven’t been entirely hellish. In the years after publishing my novel I discovered the joy of voluntary work. It was a great way for me to improve my health as I got to be more productive and fulfilling. It raised my self esteem and gave me confidence in myself. I no longer felt resentful and unwanted and I suddenly could see something in myself that could make a difference. It certainly helped my mental wellbeing too. It eventually led to me becoming a volunteer of sports events like the Commonwealth Games and gave me a place in my favourite place of culture which is the Science Museum.
When the Olympics came to London in 2012 I discovered a new passion that would then take over my life and give me a new purpose and a direction to take. I took up archery and rediscovered a passion for the great outdoors and decided to make another ambition. Over the last four years I have honed my skills to shoot with grace and consistency, I have played in tournaments with some of the best archers in the world, I have also become a minor celebrity by setting up a petition to make archery a core Commonwealth sport. And that is another passion that I have put myself in. I have become a political activist and joined the Conservative Party and have become more active and fulfilling then ever before with my newfound connections to Westminster. In doing so I have actively shown some abilities that I never knew I had and it got me back to writing again.
If your wondering what happened to university. That ended up becoming a vocation that I couldn’t handle very well. I tried to go from full time to part time but I found myself choosing courses that were not right because I was trying to be too clever. Instead of trying to do something that I can do I turn it into something new that I like to try. Always juggling too many different passions and ambitions.
I really need to learn to take a step back and think about what I really need to do with my life. I can’t keep side-tracking myself with too many passions. Using archery target technique I think I should label each of my activities in the right order with each of my goals laid out onto each of the rings on the target.