Hey pals. Long time no blabber from me. Turns out unemployment doesn’t offer all that many riveting adventures as fodder for cracking blog posts. I somehow doubt anyone desperately wants a day-by-day account of me sitting on the sofa switching between job applications and Netflix episodes.
Tell you what, job hunting’s depressing, eh? CVs and cover letters and application forms and, if you’re lucky, interviews, all designed to make you come up with the very best parts of yourself and put them out there for someone else to dissect. What are your strengths? What can you do that no one else can? Why should we hire you? Who do you think you ARE?
I mean, maybe it’s because I’m British, maybe it’s just a cute lil personality quirk of mine, but I am terrible at selling myself. Self-deprecating humour and dark twisted sarcasm are where it’s at for me, I don’t do genuine self-promotion. I sometimes think that it’s because I’m not arrogant enough to really rate myself, but that’s an unfair assessment of anyone who actually is good at selling themselves just because they have the confidence to do it.
So what am I good at? What are my employable assets, my transferable skills, my Unique Selling Point? (I tell you, the next person who goes off on one about the importance of a USP is getting a slap). I don’t like self-assessment, because I find it really awkward to stand up and say ‘I’m bloody brilliant, me’. Even though in some cases, I kind of am.
I’m obscenely well-organised. It’s irritating for most people around me. I despise being late, so am always at least 15 minutes early, as are the friends/family that I’ve spent 20 minutes yelling at while they get dressed and do their hair (I, of course, have been ready since 4.30. Taxi’s at 6. No, you have a problem). I like lists, and order, and spreadsheets, and timetables, and I am not flexible on that. The spreadsheet says we go at 11. See, in that pretty turquoise box there. NOW GO GET READY. I am The Mum Friend, and I must accept it. I’m the one with the first aid kit, the spare bobby pins, the stapler. I’m the one that will offer you tea about seven times a day and nag you about eating/sleeping well/taking regular breaks when studying. I’ve already looked up thirty-five different activities for us to do on this holiday and I know exactly how to get to them and what it’s going to cost us and I’ve budgeted accordingly. Spontaneity is not my strong point.
That said, the rigidity of that part of my personality is wavering of late. Doing nowt but sitting around for 80% of my week has triggered the wanderlust in me and I have a strong urge to just get on any given plane and go exploring and just get out of my head and out of my comfort zone and out of my bloomin’ trackies. No long-term pre-planned destination, no carefully curated ten-step itinerary, just a new place and a camera (and some money and probably a hostel booking because I am still me). Tragically, my long-standing commitment to weekly dates with the Jobcentre means I’m not allowed to leave the country or they’ll cancel my claim and it’ll wreck my pension. Ah, the joys of adult life.
I wonder, though, whether being The Mum Friend and being An Adult are synonymous. I vote no. Adults, capitalised Adults, have certain things about their lives that I don’t have, I feel. Of course, there’s the big stuff, mortgages, families, bills, etc (moment of silence for all of us who will never own our own home, thanks a lot heinously expensive property ladder you hero) but there are small things that in my mind constitute full-blown successful Adulting that I will probably never achieve, and to be honest I’m okay with that.
For example, Adults probably don’t cut themselves every time they shave their legs, nor do they burn themselves every time they use a curling iron. My bleeding left knee and the scars on my arms and fingers can attest that I am not, therefore, an Adult. Which is fine. Adulty-adults take themselves far too seriously. I’m delighted to say that I don’t know any – sure, my parents and grandparents and extended family can be mature and serious when needed, but they’re also all absolute children and I’m so pleased. It’s something I very much aspire to – sensible when necessary, looser and freer when possible.
I think that’s the difference between being The Mum Friend and being The Mum. Yes, I will come on your ridiculous unplanned road trip where all you want to pack is cake and good music and I will sing loudly and badly to forgotten gems of the early 2000s- but I am secretly bringing a map, a torch, and the number of the AA. You’ll thank me for it later.
Until next time, K.