What If My Dreams Don’t Come True?

Just two words can leave me in a cold sweat. Two words that have had me tossing and turning throughout the early hours of the morning, putting those dreams on hold or shattering them and most importantly, having me doubt every cell that swims flippantly through each and every vein in my body. So, as I come to the last year of my twenties, I look back at my ‘what if’s’ with an arched eye brow and an eye role here and there.

What if I don’t get the job?

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It happens. Sometimes you lose out to someone with more experience. Sometimes you realise that you had completely fucked up in the interview process through nerves that made you come out in a rash that looked ‘medical attention’ worthy (just me then?). Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Some you win, some you lose but I think you always end up where you are supposed to be. It sounds easy to say ‘just have faith’ and that I’m flippantly putting that statement out there with no thought. But that is not the case. I have certainly lost out on many jobs. I have also been hired for many jobs that I now wish I had lost out on. Still, I completely have faith that I will end up in a job that makes me happy. One that doesn’t leave me crying silently in a cubicle, having sleepless nights and generally losing my mind. Have faith that all will work out as it should. Keep working on projects that utilise your natural talents and above all keep trying. The wheel has to turn the other way eventually.

What if I get fired?

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This did happen to me and unfortunately it wasn’t when I was a teenybopper, shovelling greasy chips into paper cartons at the local fish and chip shop. Nor did it happen when I started a sales career knocking on strangers doors trying to force a brand new gas and electricity supplier down their unsuspecting throats. Nor did it happen when I was dodging responsibilities in my last job. It happened when I felt I had found the ideal role. Right in the heart of Sydney, in an office block that revealed views of a city that took my breath away. My new role was to create documents for the bankers. A role that would have me exploring the depths of the Microsoft office suite to create visually pleasing masterpieces. The high-flying bankers would then use the documents to close various multi-million dollar deals. I got the job through a friend. Someone who helped me through the interview and a 3 hour Microsoft office test to secure the job.

I felt I had hit the jackpot. Finally I could stay in Australia – my dream place and build the life I’d always wanted. It wasn’t to be. Barely a week into the new job I was gently told to hand in my pass and make my way to the exit. Quite rightly too as I had no idea how to navigate through Excel never mind create a fancy technical graph that would leave members of the boardroom drooling. I also wanted it so much that I couldn’t concentrate, preferring to beat myself up over every single mistake that I made or the fact that I was just so damn slow. I left feeling like such a failure that my words here cannot do the crushing, overwhelmingly disappointed feeling justice.

Now I look back and see a small glitch in the road. Something that I barely think about and if I do, it no longer matters anywhere near as much as it did. It wasn’t meant to be and yes, I could sit here and think of what could have been but that really is a fruitless act. Sometimes your hired and sometimes your fired. Sometimes you resign and the boss loses out. Sometimes your fired and you lose out. As long as you tried your best and gave it your all then that’s what really matters. You never know, perhaps a few years down the line you will realise that it was the best thing that ever happened, which is certainly the case for me.

What if he leaves me?

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When I look back at my past relationships, I usually cringe. Reason being is that I was so desperate, it was embarrassing. Falling in love is wonderfully painful. With it brings a certain madness to the mind which can leave you being extremely unreasonable at the best of time. Sometimes, when you are least expecting it, that nasty soul sucking worm will start whispering to you that all is not safe and your loved one will be making their grand exit shortly. With the worm now nibbling slowly at your sanity, you throw caution to the wind and begin to latch onto your loved one with smothering force.

It not clever and it isn’t pretty. There is nothing worse than a desperate lover. He may well leave. It could be because the grass seems greener. It could be because the relationship has run its course or it could be that your insecurities are driving them away. Relationships end and relationships begin. The sooner you let go, the easier it will be…For you. As the saying goes ‘If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be’. Also, you may be surprised that when you are out of ‘that’ relationship and recovered, you may look back and think ‘my god he was a prick. What the hell was I thinking?’ Or something along those lines.

What if I’m single for the rest of my life?!

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Many people are single and more and more people are choosing to stay that way. Take a dear friend of mine who is maybe in his 50s. He has been single for the entire 12 years that I’ve known him and has resigned himself to the fact the he is going to remain single. Comfortable in his routine, it has now become harder to let someone into his life. For me, I believe that it is far more important to be comfortable in your own skin than to search for someone to fill the void. If you can’t be alone, truly by yourself in your own company, then you will have a hard time really flourishing in any relationship. Work on yourself, no matter how painful that may be. Make yourself into the best You possible. If someone does come along and sweeps you off your feet then hopefully they will have worked on themselves too and together you would make one unbeatable team. If someone doesn’t come along then at least you can say that you enjoy your own company and actually LIKE yourself. That you can fulfil all your dreams and ambitions without hoping that someone else will do it for you. Take control of yourself. Make yourself happy. Once you have achieved that then whether someone is in or not in your life will be irrelevant.

What if I can’t make friends?

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Ah, the joys of making friends when you’re an adult. Gone are the days of wandering through the school corridors rubbing shoulders with your greatest fans – your friends. When you’re an adult taking on the pressures of the working world, making friends becomes a little (a lot) less straight forward. Yes, there are going to be people who just don’t like you. Sometimes on sight. Just the mention of your name could have people kicking the office bins over in a frenzy. Sometimes there are valid reasons that you have people vividly plotting your death. Other times it really is their problem. As they say, you can’t please everyone and why the hell should you. Life it tough enough as it is without having to try to please people who will never appreciate your uniqueness. That’s not to say you run around with your head up your arse, practically choking on your own ego. Be sincere, listen to others and show kindness. People love people. It’s human nature to be social creatures. Be the one to break the ice and introduce yourself. New and amazing friendships are waiting where you least expect them to be.

What if I don’t have it ‘all together’ when I reach my thirties?

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I have a list that had been created when I was in my early twenties. It pretty much went as you might guess with emphasis on the house, car, great job, great man, holidays and money. Pretty much a fancy pants lifestyle. Now I sit in my parents house as I wait to see if the job I want (and one I know I will be good at) will come through. I have no house or no mortgage to speak of, no car, no man in sight and little savings. If you had told me that when I was writing my dream list and crossing my fingers for the days to come I would have felt severely deflated. My stroppy younger self would have thrown the tantrum of all tantrums while asking the big question ‘what the fuck is the point then?!’ Well, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have one year before reaching my thirties and I may or may not tick off all my to do list and that’s ok. As long as I grow a little wiser, a little happier and a little kinder then that’s all that matters to me.

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Another Brick In The Corporate Wall

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It seems to me that my new-found path in life never fails to leave people with endless questions, mostly with a regard to my mental health and whether I have lost the plot. Take for instance a repeated conversation with my brother.

‘So what are you going to do with your life?’

‘I’m going to teach English as a foreign language and travel the world….’

‘Yes but…..What are you going to do with your life?’

This seems to be the reaction from most people. A mixture of envy with a dash of cynicism topped off with a large dollop of disappointment. I get it. For years after my first TEFL contract in China I swore I would never dip my toe into the world of teaching again. Fuelled by the various comments bashing English teachers as ‘avoiding responsibility’, ‘unaccepted by their own country’ and ‘wasters and hippies with no ambition’ I gave up on teaching altogether. My 20-year-old mind had been firmly polluted by the endless jibes that come hand in hand with TEFL. Instead, after completing my degree, I pushed myself into the corporate world with dreams of a flash wardrobe and an even flashier car. And this is where I lost ‘myself’.

Hired and jumping up and down in my parents kitchen I thought my new-found success would pave the way to management heaven. Having received my contract and welcome letter as a new employee of a global IT company I could not conceal my excitement and satisfaction. The girl from the bleak council estate was well and truly on her way to success. I began my role with the enthusiasm of a new puppy, all wide-eyed and bushy-tailed but still shaking in my boots at the thought of using Excel and numbers as they certainly weren’t my personal strengths. I got to work an hour early, always first to arrive and usually last to leave. Lunch times would be spent at the desk trying desperately to hide another Excel formula fuck up as I watched the days pass in a blur of pivot tables and numbers, adding and subtracting. Sometimes I would bound out the door, satisfied that my day was full of small successes. Other days I would cry at the thought of messing up another report. A report that barely anyone ever read.

You see after a few months in the role I realised that no one cared. Reports and new websites that I fawned over and spent countless hours trying to perfect were pretty much irrelevant. I realised that I had become part of the furniture, another brick in the wall of a massive corporation and that no amount of trying was going to get me anywhere. Hushed discussions with other disgruntled employees furthered my suspicion that I was going nowhere fast and the only way up was to leave and reapply for the desired new role. When I was a fresh newbie I listened as my trainer spoke about a woman on another floor who hide all her ‘to do work’ under her desk. This woman did sweet f.a for 6 months before she was caught out from the growing mounds of paperwork forming under her desk, trying to escape. At the time I was horrified. How lazy and inconsiderate. Now I realise that no one gave a shit, and for her laziness (or cleverness) to go unnoticed for that amount of time must have meant that she was both invisible and irrelevant. Something I was to become familiar with.

Once the rose-tinted glasses had been removed and I was no longer breaking into a cold sweat on report days, I found myself slipping into a cubicle coma. For 8 hours a day I sat, clicking on the mouse creating documents that would be sent into the black hole of cyber space. I had mentally left the building. The silence would descend over the office as each of us punched in numbers and wrote out endless emails, while I tried desperately to find some sense of fulfilment in a job that I should not have been in. A job that I had no natural talent for. But that didn’t stop me from pushing and forcing myself to fit the mould, unaware that I was depleting my spirit with each day that passed.

After I ‘woke up’ and realised that I had no business being in IT, never mind an office, I slipped out unnoticed. No one saw me place my plant in my bag and forage around for my shoe collection that had been gathering under my desk. I cut my notice short and left, walking out into the grey sky and damp air without (so much as) a backward glance. Now I look back at all the years I spent chasing the money signs and all I see is someone wanting to conform. Someone desperate to have a desirable CV and endless Linkedin contacts. Someone who wanted to go to work in smart clothes, reeking of success. Someone who wanted a nice monthly wage, with an even nicer bonus and a mortgage to boot.

Now I’m no longer that somebody, but it took me years to wake up from wanting that dream. I now wait to begin my English teaching role in Bangkok where I can go back to the hustle and bustle of the uncomfortably humid streets. Where the various smells of the street stalls attack my senses and where everyone seems to be on ‘Thai’ time, walking at snail pace and coming to classes late. And as for people who question my dreams and ambitions I say simple to mind your own. My dreams, wherever they may lead, are none of your concern. Let me enjoy the fact that at nearly 29 years old I may have found my calling and thank fuck for that as it has taken me to hell and back trying to find it.

The moment I ‘weally’ knew

When I think about it, I know I should have done it sooner. It was always meant to be but something I shied away from for a long time. Reason for this is I always thought I would never be any good at it, with my past experience leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I believed that I would not be able to make any difference, however small.

At 20, I made my escape from the UK to the smog filled Beijing. I was running not from home but mostly myself, not wise enough to realise that wherever you go there you are. I was riddled with loneliness and culture shock that gradually became worse with each day that passed. My days were filled with DVD’s in a bid to escape my reality and I slowly but surely lost my mind. I was also a terrible teacher. So completely absorbed in my own pain and misery that I could barely fathom a smile, never mind provide entertainment at a school that relished an all singing and dancing foreign English teacher. The grey sky and the sun – which was barely traceable through the polluted air – added to my constant state of melancholy. I tried desperately to ‘stick it out’. Ashamed to admit defeat and have family view me as some sort of disappointment, I continued to go through the motions, teaching a few short hours a day and rushing back home to climb back into an unmade bed. As one of the only foreigners in the entire area, having any social interaction was difficult and as the days went by, the urge to meet people diminished. I finally cracked and went back to the UK – tail between my legs – promising myself that I would never go into teaching again as I was awful and no student should have to suffer having a teacher like me.

Fast forward eight years and I am sitting in the ‘farangs’ Temple living room area. The table we sit at is made of solid wood, carved with various elephant figures wandering the Thai jungle. The seats that we sit on are so heavy to move that usually I don’t bother, and merely slide myself between the table and chair. They are solid and are also carved into elephant heads, each detail finely perfected. It is bitterly cold and we are both wrapped up in our scarves and woolly hats. I – with my great suitcase planning and bringing mostly summer wear – am wearing every layer, including my pyjamas under my 8 precept whites. Nursing my coffee to counteract the cold we begin our lesson. It’s all about grammar and today is all about the should, shouldn’t and couldn’t. I had managed to scrape together some sort of lesson from the paperwork I had lugged from Bangkok to Fang. Using this we sat, starting with general conversation before getting into the nitty-gritty.

My lovely student – a 41-year-old Chinese woman who has lived in Fang all her life – is able to hold a conversation at elementary level and has no idea how to use these words – should, shouldn’t and couldn’t – in a sentence, never mind their meaning. We get to work, with this being the opportune time to put my CELTA training to work. We sit side by side in the cold. Two Temple dogs sit, nibbling their flees at our feet and looking up at us expectantly with their big brown eyes. I hear the other ‘farangs’ chatting away under hushed breath. The sweeping of the hand-made broom echoes through corridor into the meeting area. With each completed task my student looks up at me, needing reassurance. I tell her that she is indeed correct. ‘Weally?’ she asks, eyes widening in disbelief and a glimmer of hope. ‘Yes. Really’. And in that moment something happens. I begin to fill with a warmth that starts from my head and runs right through my toes. I have never felt so good. Better than any night on the town with the promise of more alcohol. Not the dancing or flirting with random guys. Not the belly aching laughter of a night with friends. Not grabbing the last ‘must have’ item in the sale. No, nothing compared to this feeling of knowing that my student was ‘getting it’. Feeling her hopeful energy that lingered in the air. We both looked at each other – glowing – and in that moment I knew that this was what I was meant to do. I am meant to teach.

Let me be surprised

I am currently sat on the floor of my living room apartment watching the tiny (and I mean tiny) black ants that are scurrying around, seemingly full of purpose. I am not disgusted by this tiny army of company, as I have heard from fellow students that they are battling cockroaches on steroids. In this case, I think I have the better deal.

My days have been a blur of lesson plans, written assignments, coconut juice, paper hand-outs, syrup style Red Bull, banana pancakes, sweat, confused faces, mangos and sticky rice. Today was my opportunity to deliver a grammar skills lesson. Needless to say I was feeling hot under the collar, with the sinking suspicion that my students were much more knowledgeable on the subject. Another stern talking to was needed in the bathroom. Its 45 minutes, for gods sake pull yourself together. You have exercised longer than that and that’s saying something!  I made my way through the lesson, clutching at my lesson plan as if it were my life line and smiled all the way through. Fake it till you make it.

Other than teaching and fumbling my way through assignments, I have steadily become more aware of my survival skills. As a Brit stepping out of the rigidly controlled traffic system in the UK, I find myself in a place where you really wouldn’t want to play ‘chicken’. Pedestrian crossings are just for decorative purposes. Yes I know they look exactly like the ones back home but seriously this is a whole different ball game. Always follow the herd, is my advice. Make sure there is a gaggle of you when you cross so that the driver thinks twice about wiping out his front bumper. Also just because you are not crossing the road doesn’t mean for a second that you will be safe from the pot holes, random cats, mopeds, (free to drive on pavement and road by the looks of it) food carts being pushed to their next destination and over 14 million people who are either purposely rushing to their next destination or casually stopping to look at every single market stall, while you do some step dance in frustration behind them.

I forget where I am most of the time as I am so busy dodging sweaty bodies and vehicles that I rarely pause to catch my breath.  It’s a place where you could completely lose yourself and strangely find yourself at the same time. A place that is so chaotic, the bubble I have been living in has burst. Everyone is making their way through this life, all with various thoughts and feelings. All with their own dreams and purpose. I have been thinking of my next step after the course. I emailed a Temple in the north of Thailand and asked if I could teach English there for a few weeks. I am delighted to say they accepted my offer. Six weeks ago I was sat in the corner of an office knowing that I would be making my way to Bangkok. At the beginning of September I had no plans to move away or do any course relating to teaching. I was actually forcing myself to apply for roles within the company. Roles that would give my life no meaning but lots of money and gold stars for my CV. I sat at my desk going through a ‘plan’ of how I would be able to succeed at the desired role. I calculated my monthly income and how much I could save and spend. I went over my CV with a fine tooth comb, every little detail re-drafted, to ensure that I was the ‘ideal candidate’. I hated it. I don’t even say this lightly. I hated how it made me feel. Lost, unfulfilled and mostly exhausted. I was completely drained and not from my work responsibilities being overwhelming but from spending 9 hours, Mon to Friday, doing a job that left me feeling numb and increasingly invisible.

How quickly it can all change. Here, the work is hard. When they say the CELTA is a beast of a course, they really mean it. I feel like I’m ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ the majority of the time. I dream of delivering my lessons with various outcomes. My brain is bursting with information and despite all this I finally feel alive. I am bubbling over with energy and cannot sleep, finding myself frequently up until 2 or 3am with ideas and most importantly, hope.

I sometimes wander down the path of planning for the future. When I finish the course what shall I do? I could teach for a year…..But what about an MA, should I still do Art therapy? What about Education? What about….. I then have to stop myself as I have made myself sick with worry in the past, desperately trying to plan each and every aspect of my life. Nothing can be gained from this apart from your experiences being tainted or all together ruined as you don’t see the opportunities that are blossoming right in front of you. For now, I will let things run their natural course. As Charlie sings in ‘All dogs go to heaven’, let me be surprised! 

Let Me Be Surprised

I need Brazil, the throb, the thrill
I’ve never been there, but someday I will
Adventure and danger, love from a stranger
Let me be surprised
Today the sun, they said there’d be snow
When all said and done, it’s fun not to know
What keeps my heart humming is guessing what’s coming
Let me be surprised

Sweet Eggs

My senses have been assaulted.

Completely and utterly smothered by the lights, the traffic, the people, the cats that roam, the food and the thick, sticky heat. Mostly though it is the smell. I don’t know whether its delicious or intoxicatingly disgusting. One minute its something sweet and ripe – a combination of succulent fruit,  awakening my senses to a tropical paradise – then I take a few steps and I am hit with the smell of deep-fried chicken, followed swiftly by a lingering smell of urine, sweat and fish. Each step sends my stomach into a dance of love and hate. I don’t know where to look next with another stall popping up, a person stepping on my feet or the intimidating buildings with their bright lights shinning down, reminding me of the tiny being that I am. I have arrived in Bangkok.

My journey was all together hassle free and my only annoyance was being sat next to a woman who proceeded to burp loudly throughout the 8 hour flight from Heathrow to Delhi. It seemed that she had no control over it and I spent the entire journey sat counting down the seconds before she would inevitably make a loud roar of a burp which had me covering my mouth with my scarf and stretching my body into the aisle to escape the smell of yesterdays curry mixed with stomach acid and fart. A small price to pay though, as the rest of the trip went comfortably. Delhi to Bangkok was the last stretch, taking 4 hours.

Although a smooth journey, it was not without its nagging doubts. As I left my family to board a train to London where I was to catch the shuttle to Heathrow, I was consumed with all the reasons why I shouldn’t go. You are wasting your time and money, you can turn around right now, just get off at Cardiff. Failing that you can stay a night in London and go back home in the morning. Why the hell are you going to Bangkok and the most consistent and troubling questions was what are you looking for? I proceeded to dodge my irritatingly persistent ego until I got on the plane and I could relax into my panic with the realisation that it was too late to change my mind. I am now sat in my hotel apartment feeling mentally drained after my first day of CELTA, but also exhilarated. My mind and soul seem to be awakening with a yawn after so much time spent clock watching and slinking around the office. I am also feeling the strain after spending 2 hours frantically looking for my hotel after school. I must have walked in circles a few times before asking an unsuspecting Thai gentleman to point me in the right direction. Although my legs have been exercised more in the last two hours than they have for months, it did give me the opportunity to sample the renowned banana pancake which was still delicious after 2 hours sweating in a plastic bag.

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I also managed to pick up a pack of ripe papaya, cut into big juicy chunks and a pack of mini bean cakes which look appetising but I failed to read the recipe that they contain egg yolk. Don’t know how to feel when I bite into the cake and taste sweetness but see the orange yolk staring back at me. Just may have to eat a few more before I can make a decision.

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Let go

Let go.

That’s what they tell you.

I look back and see myself gripping the events, emotions, people, objects which such intensity that my mind feels crushed with the need. The pure wanting and the idea that if I just let go, my world will disintegrate around me. When I was in school – pre-rebellions stage – I would cry over a lost school book. It would be 7.30am and I would be hanging over the sofa frantically grabbing at the various objects that have fallen down the sides, never to be seen again. I cannot bear the thought of walking into school and being ‘That girl’. I know the teacher will have to give me lined paper to write on which would make the other children look at me. I cannot bear to feel those beady eyes burning holes into my itchy, woollen jumper. I know that for that split second my teacher will look at me in disappointment. Disappointment. That word lingers in my 11-year-old mind. I cannot take it anymore and the tears fall down my pillow creased face. Time is ticking so I have to give up the hunt. Give up. I walk to school with a black cloud, snaked around my shoulders. My life at that moment is ruined.

Oh how I have worried, needlessly. ‘worrying is like a rocking chair, it never gets you anywhere’. My mother tells my I am such a worrier. Or she did. She hasn’t said that as much recently as I am doing anything but worry, choosing to lounge about while I am in limbo, the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. I do though, recall the countless hours I spent on CV’s for jobs that were just not meant for me. Running over their endless questions in excruciating detail, hoping so desperately that they pick me, “oh please pick me”. The interviews that I have ‘performed in’, the countless running onto the Tube, from office to office, finding public bathrooms in between to rearrange my make-up which has been silently sliding off my face in the heat and stickiness of public transport. I have wasted my smiles on dates who leave me with such disappointment that I cannot fathom how on earth I am going to find someone who is even remotely decent. Those relationships that slip through your fingers whether it is you or them who wish to leave. It doesn’t matter. I have been furious at myself for not feeling the feelings I had just weeks ago. Love that has decided to not love any more, or maybe not love so much so you run around sticking invisible Band-Aids on the hope that everything stays ‘just so’.

Cant control myself…Let go. I have felt my face flush with the embarrassment of walking into a meeting because I am late due to transport. I feel like I am lying when I state the fact that the Tube was down…Again. I have sat feeling the frustration and anger of not knowing whether my rental deposit will ever be transferred back to me, my mind running wild with various revenge tactics.

Most recently I was worried about resigning from my job. It wasn’t my future I was worried about or finding myself full of regret a few weeks down the road. It was the actual act of resigning and what my managers would think of me. Am I letting them down, will they be disappointed in me? Of course now I can see that it mattered little. Life goes on and people move on. Mostly you will be forgotten so what really matters? Let go.

Over the years they have collected, these moments in time that completely overwhelm you and leave you crushed with uncertainty. The understanding that you cannot control the actions and consequences of others. I also understand that if I had got that job, stayed in that relationship or not cut contact with that friend that I wouldn’t be on the path I am now. A path that I know is the right one, whatever the end result may be. All I know is that being the worrisome person that I am, I really need to just Let go. Have faith that all will be as it should in the end.

The smiling stage

Thailand visa has now been ticked off on the list. 60 days to run amok in the land of smiles. My mother was temporarily confused with the time limit.

Mother: 60 days….So that’s a month then.
Me: Ah no……How many days are in a month?
Mother: I don’t know.
Me: Yes you do, come on, how many?
Silence
Me: 30 days hath September……..
Mother: Oh yes I know this one….April, June and November!
Me: Right….So if that’s the case how many months are in 60 days?
Mother: Two. Two months.
Me: We got there in the end (patted hand for extra reassurance)

And that right there is evidence of what a fabulously patient teacher I will make.

Six days left before I board the plane. Six days left of watching Friends re-runs and judging people on Facebook. I know I will not have time over there to do such important things so I have to get as much judging and stalking in as possible. Pathetic as it sounds I just cant help myself. The fact is I am procrastinating like a pro and I know that if I think about the things I REALLY need to do, it will send me into a panic so to ensure panic diversion, I will continue to stick my head in the sand ( aka Facebook, Dailymail, Uberhumor) as much as possible.

I do this every time I know I have something important and life changing to focus on. I also take the same approach to legal documents, bank statements and anything else that really does need my undivided attention. Complete work as quickly as possible and then fling into the oblivion. Close your eyes and cross your fingers that all will go well. My work as a Sales Analyst also took this creative approach (delightful employee that I was). The ‘If all else fails, lets pretend it isn’t happening’ approach. First complete work quickly and sufficiently. Then scan documents with confidence that all is correct. This can be done in seconds (please don’t lie to yourself that people with check…..The ‘you are important’ ship sailed a long time ago). Send document out into the black hole of cyberspace where it will never be read or acknowledged again. For extra fun send the email as important and in bold black letters, emphasise the importance that it must be read otherwise the consequence of not actioning will be eye watering. Watch as your email pops up in you colleagues Outlook to be either opened and ignored, opened and deleted or my favourite, not even opened or clicked on. Self sooth with a trip to the canteen for cheesecake.

I think back to what a good little worker ant I once was. Even cried over an Excel Spread sheet and the fact that I thought the Office application was completely out to get me. Especially when I had to present data to management. That was when it really went to great lengths to piss me off. ‘This never happens usually’ I would squeak while clicking everything possible and turning several shades of red. I gradually learnt that I wasn’t that important and graduated to the ‘Smiling stage’. It never failed and always delivered fast results. You don’t even have to be mentally present in the conversation which is why it was such a success. I spent full conversations shopping, planning dinner, deciding whether I should go to the gym, deciding against the gym, whether my latest crush was in the building or working from home, what movie I should I watch, has Netflix added new movies, whether I could eat that giant muffin in one whole bite all while smiling and nodding. Not only was I able to mentally check out I was also able to please my employer as I was seen as an eager to please, result driven professional. If I missed something really important I could comfort myself with the knowledge that my manager would forget that he had spoken to me after 5 minutes.

Coming back from the Thai Consulate I promised myself that I would never torture myself with spread sheets again. That and skinny jeans. I swear I am having to catapult myself into them. I am hoping that the sheer shock and terror of arriving in Thailand on my own will drain the fat off me. Or at least to my feet so I can walk it off. My mother also likes to comment on my ‘out of control’ curves.

Mother: You have a figure like Marilyn Monroe
Me: Oh…thank you
Mother: Yes voluptuous
Me: ah, thanks
Mother: Men like a lot of meat……..And by God you’ve got a lot of meat!!!! (Cue cackling)
Me: Great….Don’t know how to take that…Mmmm…Cheers