In the past five and a bit weeks life has undergone a pretty big transformation, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised I’ve hit a bit of a wall where energy levels are concerned. I’ve moved country, moved house not once but twice, and started a new job in a new country where the employment system is more complicated than the Matrix. Not to mention the fact I’ve gone back up from working four days a week to five, which in itself is quite a shock to the system (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning my Mondays off – sniff). So yes, I guess I need to cut myself some slack, as my transatlantic friends would say. Getting into a new routine takes time, especially when the repercussions of that new routine involve a run of terrible nights’ sleep that leaves you feeling like your head is full of cotton wool.
Oh, and did I mention that good old Lady Karma has bitten me hard on the arse for boasting about my amazing new flat by sending me the neighbour from hell who appears to have no concept of bass control on his/her stereo, nor a concrete understanding of the less than concrete thickness of the wall that separates our living rooms. But hey, these things are incidental, and they shall pass. I just hope they pass sooner than later, because I need to get back to writing my screenplay and setting myself on the path to making the millions I need to be able to give up working for someone else and start setting my own agenda in life…A girl can dream (or at least she would if she was actually getting any sleep at the moment…Grumble grumble).
On the way home from work today I was ruminating on the idea of having a personal happiness quota. If such a thing exists I’ve already moved considerably further towards the top end of mine by changing jobs and taking the decision to reduce my working week to four days a week (even if it does mean less money coming in – though maybe best to reserve this particular declaration of happiness until after my first pay cheque’s cleared).
Another way I’ve increased my happiness rating over the past few years has been through incorporating competitive exercise into my routine (not that you’d know it if you’d been watching me over the past week, slovenliness having set in a little in the wake of my last race). And over the past couple of days I’ve managed to crank the score up further still by signing up to the Take Ten programme by Headspace, a daily ten minute guided meditation which already has me feeling more calm and in control of my life.
So, you may ask, if everything’s going so well what’s stopping me from hitting the top rung of the happiness ladder? I’ll tell you what: My commute. After months of travelling to work on the new extended overland train to Shoreditch I’d almost forgotten the trauma that is the Northern line in rush hour. Now I’m working in London Bridge, however, it’s proving unavoidable.
There’s are few things worse than spending the 20 minutes before reaching the office and the 20 minutes after leaving it face-in-armpit with a total stranger – especially now it’s nearing summertime when the airless tubes turn into human microwaves (readers of my old blog may remember the time a six foot four inch giant fainted ON TOP OF ME at the end of a packed tube carriage on the hottest day in summer – NEVER AGAIN).
If I’m to avoid a summer of discontent it’s becoming patently obvious I’m going to have to find an alternative way to cover the four odd miles from Clapham to London Bridge. And the obvious solution is to get on my bike and cycle there. Not only will it keep me fit (possibly negating the need for a new gym membership?), it will also save me considerable money on the cost of tube fare. So what’s stopping me from getting on and doing it? The fear of becoming a statistic after having an unfortunate collision with a lorry, that’s what. I know you shouldn’t live your life thinking ‘what if,’ but when it comes to road sense I’m woefully lacking – at nine years old I cycled round a roundabout the wrong way, nearly giving my parents a heart attack in the process.
All of which leaves me in quite the dilemma: Do I face my fear and cycle or face a summer of discontent on a smelly tube train? I think I know what you’re all saying: Get on your bike! Right? Right. Now where did I put that pump?
This was taken during my triathlon last September – incidentally (and shamefully) also the last time I did actually get on my bike…
The first day in a new job is a funny old thing. No matter how old or experienced you are you always feel like the new girl who doesn’t know her arse from her elbow, which is really quite disquieting.
Fortunately for me, the minute I walked into my new office near London Bridge this morning my new colleagues were so welcoming I felt instantly at home. My boss gave me a thorough tour of the building (starting with “the most important room,” the kitchen – a woman after my own heart) and introduced me to everyone, then treated me and the colleague I’ll be working most closely with to lunch at Strada overlooking the river, which was just beautiful today against the backdrop of a bright blue sky. She even informed me that my “official” welcome lunch to meet the whole team (quite a few of whom are on holiday this week) will be next Tuesday, when we’ll most likely be going out for Thai (I don’t think I need to tell those of you who have been reading my NYC blog just how much I love my food, and therefore how appropriate this plan of action is. Like I said, a woman after my own heart).
The work my new charity Teens and Toddlers does – running a programme pairing disadvantaged teens with toddlers in a nursery setting, complemented by sessions with facilitators discussing such topics as risky behaviour, sexual health and education – is fascinating to me, not least because it’s firmly rooted in psychological principles (psychology being the subject I studied at university-too many years ago to admit). I’ve always harboured some regrets about not pursuing psychology as a career, though in truth I don’t think I’m academic enough to succeed in that field. Now I’ve got the best of both worlds as I can stick with what I know – PR – whilst working alongside research psychologists whose job it is to constantly evaluate the programme in its various locations.
I’m too long in the tooth (and bitter from past experience) to proclaim on day one that I’ve finally found the perfect job for me, but I will say that I like the atmosphere in the place and get a warm and positive vibe from the people who work there. It’s also such a treat having a view of Tower Bridge just metres away from the office. So far so good…