The post I posted a few weeks ago has actually been in my drafts folder for two months, I just never felt like I wanted to post it. It’s a bit of a personal post, and a lot of people from work follow me, and while every single one of them is an angel, they all see enough of my breakdowns in work. Did they really need to see another wobbler of mine, but this time written down? Absoultely not. But, I also felt like I was stuck on that post, and though it’s not going to bother anyone else in the world if I post it or not, I wanted it posted before I wrote anything else. Just to clear the air, more than anything else.
So, a quick recap if you don’t want to read my last post – I’ve quit my main job and I’m taking home about half the wage I was but it’s in an attempt to stop being a self-destructive mess. Now I’m trying to pick up the pieces of that, because it’s suprising how many pieces there are to pick up when you’ve almost given up and suddenly decide not to.
The first thing, obviously, was to try and reduce the stress I was feeling and I did that by stepping back at work, but after that I didn’t have a step two. I dived (*) head first into a number of projects I’d been toying with for a while, just to see if any of them felt like something I could fill my time with. Making League of Legends videos was a disaster, but it did hone my Veigar skills quite considerably. I started writing a drama about backstage crew which won’t go anywhere but is quite fun to write. I did a lot of DIY just to feel busy. I started teaching myself the piano again because I can’t play the trumpet with a brace on, and I spent as much time as I could with my friends and family, because not having the time to do that was the main reason I left stage management.
All of these things were fun, they all kept me from being bored – and, for me at least, boredom is the gateway to depression, so I was more than happy to keep filling my time with pointless things – but there was more I wanted to try. I wanted to try and find the thing that would replace stage management, and the only thing that stood out for me was somehow working with fish. A job in Pets at Home was always an option, but I really felt like learning something new, and giving myself a bit of a challenge. Last year I’d toyed with doing a course in Aquarium and Fish Keeping, but I didn’t really see where it would get me, and as much as I like to support learning for learning’s sake, it’s not always the best option when you’re skint. Last week though, it wasn’t a case of learning for fun, it was a case of needing a do-over in life, so I forked out two weeks’ wages and booked myself a step two – a Marine Biology course. It’s a level 3 qualification, which I think is equivalent to an A level, so while it might not go bagging me jobs as a fishkeeper in a zoo, its certainly a start. The course material arrived last week, and I’ve got to say, it’s difficult to get back into a studying mindset after nearly 10 years out of school. (I don’t count university as a studying mindset because it was almost all practical.) I’m spending almost every spare second I have reading books, and writing up essays, even in between cues in work. It’s not coming as easy to me as school used to, but hopefully things will start to click soon.
A picture of one of my Gourami, just because.
It doesn’t really count as a do-over though if you don’t find something to do with what you’ve learnt, so I started making up a list of things I could do with this new education, and while most things are out of my reach without a degree, one thing that stood out to me was a diver in a local aquarium, taking people swimming with the sharks. Unfortunatly to do that, you (obviously) need a SCUBA diving license, which I don’t have, and to get one of those you need to be able to swim, which I can’t.
Step three is learning how to swim. With all the other outgoings I’ve invented myself I can’t actually afford lessons, so me and Matt have been going swimming every day, and he teaches me what he can. At first, I was managing a few widths of a poor doggy paddle, but now I’m able to do a decent front crawl. It still nothing worth celebrating, but it’s a start. Although I know swimming and diving are two very different skills, I know I’d feel more confident in the water if I could swim, and I need every confidence boost I can get when it comes to being underwater.
Suddenly, I’ve got a whole new path open to me. I know it’ll take me a year to complete the marine biology course, and I think I probably won’t have the money to start diving until next year, but I don’t have a timeline for this. I’m just happy to have something to be working toward. Re-training always felt out of my reach, because of the time my current job takes up and because of money – and I’m not trying to kid myself, to some extent it still is. Financially, this could be the stupidest idea of my life, and it’s already taken a huge toll on my savings account – but it’s worth a try.