Today, another milestone is reached. I am 52 years old.
With some irony it also appears to be #InternationalDayofHappiness. Yippee. Hurrah. Merriment, and what-not.
I tend not to tell people when my birthday is; not because I don’t want people knowing how old I am but because I don’t want the disappointment of them forgetting when my birthday is. We seem to live in a world now where, if you don’t blow your own trumpet about it or if Facebook doesn’t tell you something is happening, then it isn’t.
I don’t display my birthday on my Facebook profile. If you care, you’ll have written it down somewhere. You may even know that I’ve previously mentioned that it’s also Paul Merson’s birthday (b. 1968), and Yvette Cooper’s (b. 1969), and Vera Lynn’s (b. 1917). Look for a tweet dated this time last year (hint: also embedded on this site in a post from this time last year).
Birthdays for me tend to be like any other day, which I’m not overly unhappy about as I’ve never been fond of ‘special’ days designed to make you feel guilty for forgetting someone or something for the other 364 days of the year. For my fiftieth I had an interview in Manchester, and this year I was also due to have an interview; then I didn’t; then I might have had a different interview; but as this goes live I don’t seem to have. Who knows?
Is that all there is?
But there comes a point in everyone’s life, I think, where you wake up in the morning and wonder just what it is that you’re waking up for.
It’s difficult to convey the full horror of realising that the world has moved on from you. If I were to describe my current mood using a reference from popular culture, it would probably be the bit in Toy Story 2 where Jessie sings “When She Loved Me”, as she recounts how Emily outgrew her.
Or, to recycle a song lyric: “I feel like a fire, in the morning when the fire is out.”
I do sometimes wonder, if I don’t tweet or post something for a few days how long would it be before anyone noticed. I occasionally deactivate my Facebook profile. Nobody notices I haven’t posted. Sad. How will you miss me when I’m gone if you’re not missing me while I’m here?
Or, to recycle a different song lyric: “I feel like I’m on the outside of a circle.”
Then again, this is more to do with ‘social’ media making it seem that everyone else is having a great time compared to you, when they probably aren’t. Arguments I’ve raised here before.
If that’s all there is my friend…
What about other reasons for getting up in the morning? Well, most obviously I have no job. Lots of applications, the occasional interview, but no job. No wife/partner, no dependents either. No aged mother to worry about, no longer. And, from sometime in August, no cash.
I’ll be honest; the lack of cash is the thing that focuses the mind most here. Once that runs out… well, what else is there? What is the next step?
I used to joke that when it came to job applications I’m great on paper, it’s when people meet me that the problems start. That’s seeming like less of a joke these days and more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that is really starting to get me down, because the one thing that would improve my mood no end is a job, because that would give me a reason to get up in the morning.
The sense of being judged worthless and only fit for scrap… and the utter lack of useful feedback (as mentioned previously). You soon find yourself bumping along the bottom.
… then let’s keep dancing
But when your life revolves around daily battles with job applications and recruitment portals, and people telling you’re just not good enough because you managed not to pass out from their interview assault course… well, would you want to get up in the morning? I feel like I’m just waiting for the end… which probably isn’t a good thing.
That’s not to say my life is wholly devoid, empty or bereft of meaning. Currently, I fill my time on one Board, one Council and two Committees… so far. The devil makes work for idle hands, and you’ve seen some of the mad things I do when bored, such as the rail patronage figures map. But none of these things pay the bills. They do help spread me very thinly though, which also can’t be a good thing.
On the bright side, I’m off out this evening. There will be drink and food, and possibly a bit more drink. I’m meeting some friends on Saturday evening as well.
And then tomorrow morning I’ll probably delete this post. It’s not as if anyone reads them… right?