Thursday, 11 June 2009

Thoughts on turning 27...I am not a number, I am a free woman!

So, yours truly is now one year closer to the grave... or thirty - the jury's still out on which one's more scary.

But what may well be even scarier, no jury needed, is the fact that at 27, I am once again working in a pub.

I've never had a career plan, or any other kind of plan for that matter, but after a degree, nearly six years of proper employment, a post-grad journalism thingy, and God knows how many internships I thought I might be doing more than serving prosecco in a pub I can no longer afford to drink in.

All of my friends have been super supportive throughout the entire no job, no money, pub-monkey journey I've been making, but I am very aware that in certain circles it definitely wouldn't have been the same. The university, year travelling, graduate scheme, then job trajectory seems pretty ingrained in my generation's psyche, and even more worryingly, the idea of being completely defined by one's job.

When people ask 'what do you do?' I have come to realise that they don't really want to know what you do, they want to know what you get paid for. I write all manner of music reviews and other waffle for all manner of print and online magazines, but because I don't get paid for the massive majority of it, I am not a writer, I am a simple pub-monkey. Weird, no?

One thing that I have learnt from the pub (apart from how to make a Jager-bomb - just say no, kids..) is that this judgy, linear, career mentality is happily lacking in other countries. I regularly work alongside a Hungarian 30-something lady who is doing her final year on a photo journalism course, a 35 year old Spanish trainee hypnotist and a 28-year old South African who will start a four-year law course in September.

They don't think it's weird that I'm 27 and work in a pub. They don't think it's weird that at 35 they still work in a pub: It's a pretty fun job and it enables them to do what they want to do.
And although things are less than ideal, in a way, it enables me to do what I want to do - write stuff. Yes, it would be lovely if I had a cheque through the door for everything I wrote, but for now, at least I'm writing, and can even afford to buy branded soup. That's living.

So for now, I shall keep calm and carry on. For as the one-time underage plaything of R.Kelly, Aaliyah, once said, age is indeed nothing but a number.

Happy Birthday to me. x

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