OK, so I’m nervous.

This will be by 8th year living in London, and I get the feeling it will, for now at least, also be my last. I’m sure I’ll be back, but coming back is different to never leaving.

The first few years were straightforward enough. A steady job, a steady girlfriend, with whom I steadily lived with – a steady life. A routine. I can’t say I felt totally fulfilled, but I was happy, content. Working 5 days a week, socializing on weekends with friends, taking an interest in art and literature, attending night school to qualify as a management accountant, and making vague plans for some kind of future; living a life I guess you could call it. I even grew vegetables in my garden and built furniture.

After maybe 4 years, things began to change. My partner did something which, to be honest, and not wishing to sound too dramatic, changed all that I’d thought about ‘love’ and ‘destiny’. Although partly my fault, I felt cheated by all that ethereal stuff; the stuff which always works out in the movies. Well, whatever, initially we both tried to get over it, patch it up, redouble our efforts with one another and move on. Together. For a while we did, but I think we both knew things weren’t quite the same. Something fundamental had changed between us. I think it changed a long way back.

Things at work also began to change – our department moved to a different, quieter part of the office, I’d have less opportunity to travel, we had a new set of managers in the US who wanted to change the way we work – and as such a couple of close colleagues were asked to leave. I had to pick up their work. Unfortunately, being an inherently lazy person, I could never quite see this as the ‘opportunity’ they insisted it was. So it was, a few months later, I handed my notice in, rented out the house, and my partner and I set off to travel through Asia, Australia and New Zealand. That time now feels like a warm, hazy dream. Looking back, perhaps it was. Hold up a photo of that trip and I’d swear it was someone pretending to be me.


On return, I took a decent job at a well known company, whose offices were just a short walk from my house. I had to change the way I worked; be more professional, be punctual, wear a suit, wear a disguise. I drew the line at taking an interest in golf, but it was that kind of place. You’d be surprised if I told you the name of the company. Inside it was all grey and beige, smelt of efficiency, and hummed with the sound of a thousand computers.

That said, things weren’t so bad there. The work was (relatively) interesting, hours were good, and the people were friendly and much more down to earth than in my previous workplace (which, as a news organization tended to employ people with ‘connections’ – offspring of ambassadors and academics. They were from very different backgrounds to me, and it made me acutely aware of the way the world works; not always, but by and large, you were judged on how you look, how you talk and who you know). Still, after a year of being in disguise, I moved on, and went to work back in central London, for a company I thought would be more ‘me’ (whoever that is).

All this time, my partner and I were drifting further and further apart – common interests had changed, as had our circle of friends (many of mine had by now married or moved out of London), our tastes – even some of our most fundamental opinions were no longer, it seemed, compatible. We still had good times, but more and more I found myself feeling alone. Lonely in a city of 10 million. Still, we held on. Commitment? Desperation? Fear?  Who knows. Still, we clung.

The new job was the worst job I’d ever had. For a company that is responsible for some of the worlds best loved, heart warming and magical TV shows and films, they sure know how to depress the hell out of their employees. Working insanely long hours, in a tense office with a borderline sociopath boss sitting right in front of me, ready to pounce on any mistake. I soon found myself dreaming of changing everything. Of escaping. Of living in the sun. Of being an outsider. Of waking up to the sound of birds. Or waves.

Of a new life.

It’s the curious way with dreams of that sort, once they are in your head, somehow, and for me, sometimes without trying, slowly they come to pass. My girlfriend and I split. I changed jobs. I registered to work overseas in an aid agency. I met a descendant of the man who invented forceps. The world kept spinning.

The world keeps spinning, but this year, my life will change. For now, everything that I’ve established as ‘me’, I want to walk away from. I think the nerves are kicking in. But that’s OK. Nerves are a good. Change is good.

*That’s my version of the past. It may well conflict with what actually happened, and I’m pretty sure in 10 years I won’t remember like this, but, for now, it’ll do as the truth.


About odiousghost

Successfully going from failure to failure since 1767
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8 Responses to Change

  1. The man who invented forceps?? Good lord–there’s a book title! It sounds like, mercifully, in this change the universe is only coaching you through a normal, difficult but promising birth. I’m looking forward to hearing about the new world you encounter. (And may I note that you are wasted on an accountant’s job–not that anyone should try to make a living as a writer, it’s just that writers need to make a living in some way that supports their real calling.)

    • odiousghost says:

      Thanks – looking forward to the brave new world.

      Funnily enough, a few people have said that I shouldn’t be an accountant – especially once they see the massive losses their once profitable company starts to make once I join….
      Maybe it’s a sign.

  2. Cafe says:

    Wow, what a saga. I’m sorry to hear about your trials and happy to hear that there’s change looming not too far away. Change is good, scary, exciting but most importantly under your control in a lot of respects. And it sounds like whatever comes your way this year and onward will likely be better and more satisfying than how things had become, because now you are more sure of who you want to be. Just don’t walk away from everything that is “you” because I’m sure there are some really great things about you that you wanna keep around 🙂

    All the best to you in your life journeys!

  3. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Yup. I’d say you were living a life. Funny how void it feels, huh. And you have had more of a life than me, what with those vegies in your garden.

    “Something fundamental had changed between us” – oh man, that so says it. People talk ‘jealousy’ or ‘energy divided with too little loyalty’ but no, it’s something fundamental, and it changes.

    Ha ha – the ‘opportunity’. Ha ha, indeed, I would not quite see it as an opportunity, regardless how they insist. I SO get you!

    You’re very handsome. At least you have that hazy dream, to hold in b/w whenever.

    Just thinking: I wear suit shit heels fuck. Just thank God I don’t have to do golf!! The most I have to do is pretend I’m interested in babies that people in the office just keep on having. I joined Aug’11 & there’s been literally about 5 births since.

    I thought your new job was (relatively) OK, but after your para re your partner & you drifting, you said your new job was horror :(. I’m way sorry. Truly sorry. I’m now feeling for you!!

    Man, you’ve TOTALLY changed scenes!! I mean aid instead of film/newspaper … huge life.


    • odiousghost says:

      Thanks for that!

      5 births in that time is quite a few. must be a very fertile place. To be honest, I hate that conversation too – when someone is pregnant in the office, and you have to feign interest in the whole thing.. I mean, if theey are close colleagues, fine… but just up to a point, right….

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