Welcome to the real world: What do you do?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Have you missed me? (I’ve missed you too. N’awwh.) But seriously, if you have, that means you’re a regular reader, which probably also means you’ve been wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life at the moment, a topic I’ve left conspicuously unaddressed since graduating. This blog post is by way of explanation for my semi-absence from the internet, and also by way of a tentative promise for what’s in store soon.            

Throughout my year abroad, and even during my final year of uni, I was astonished at my own perseverance in keeping this blog going, no matter how stressful things got. I’d never claim to have done so with any regularity – I make my own deadlines and assignments, so of course there’s a fair bit of flexibility – but I usually keep it ticking over at one or two posts per month.

It might seem odd, then, that I’ve posted less often since graduating, especially as my activities of late have been considerably less all-encompassing than the final year of a joint honours Oxford degree. Compared to that, I’ve had oodles of time, but time is not really the problem (although, as usual, it still disappears into a mire of Things I Simply Have To Do Right Now such as ‘learn Spanish,’ ‘visit everyone I know’ and ‘spring clean the house’). Neither have I gone quiet for want of interesting events to recount – for goodness’ sake, I recently managed a few hundred words on the subject of being bored on trains. If having nothing of consequence to say could stop me writing, Anglophone would never have existed in the first place. The problem, by process of elimination, has got to be that I’ve developed an extended case of writer’s block. And I think I know why.

I realised after graduating that at some point, I’d have to respond to that scourge of recent graduates: the question “What are you doing now?” (transl. what is the point of you now that you’re no longer a student). I have both not enough and far too much to say in response to that, because for a while there has been no simple answer. As a result, on the numerous train journeys I’ve taken in the last several months, I have created and abandoned countless posts, all branching out in different directions from the central core of my current life and plans. In fact, by this spring I had accrued a pile of these half-formed ideas so monumentally daunting that I entirely gave up on them and started trying to write a novel instead. It died an early death – perhaps I’ll stick to what I know for now.

The point is, it’s no coincidence that now is the time I’ve finally put my nose to the grindstone and written this. You see, for the first time in half a year, I have a Proper Plan in the form of a *DRUMROLLLLLLL* Proper Job Offer. (In case you’re interested, it’s a short-term role with Larmer Tree Festival.) This has given me a hefty chunk of future to be excited about, and even though I haven’t actually moved house or started work yet, the power of hindsight is already kicking in with a vengeance. Suddenly, now that I’m about to be validated by knowing that I am an official adult with an easy answer to the dreadful question “what do you do?”, it seems a lot easier to write about the confusing spell between October and last week.

Because of all those half-finished posts I’ve collected, that could take a while. So buckle up and prepare for the next ten thousand words of this post… just kidding! The plan is to do a series of retrospective posts based on my various false starts, covering most of the things I’ve been meaning to talk about. I’ll do my best to keep them bite-sized (as well as entertaining, thought-provoking, life-changing etc) and post them regularly, but as I’m about to move to Dorset and potentially be very busy, the only promise I’ll make is that they will, at some point, appear.

For now, to get us all on the same page, here’s the abridged answer to the question in the title. Ready? Hold your breath. It’s on the way. Three… Two… One…

I’ve been taking a gap-almost-year to give myself some space from Oxford (for reasons expressed here) and work out what to do next. This has involved living with my endlessly patient parents and juggling various jobs: part time carpentry assistant, part time barmaid, part time tutor and part time masked vigilante (one of those may be a decoy).

Well, that was anticlimactic, wasn’t it? Yep, that’s really all there is to it; the two sentences above contain the essence of the answer I’ve been desperately trying to work out how to express for the last six months. Never let it be said that I make a mountain out of a molehill.


I promise promise promise there will be cartoons soon but, for now, have a picture of a fantastic swing in the Isles of Scilly. There may also be a post on that holiday at some point…


3 thoughts on “Welcome to the real world: What do you do?

  1. really nice blog and nice picture, Rowan.
    There seemed to be a lot of pressure in your gap almost year….
    I really hope and wish you might enjoy the days or weeks leading up to your job, or the weeks between future jobs.
    We are all precious and wonderful even without huge, visible, “showable” achievements. Achievements are often inside anyway, and often show up after times of brokenness, or slow times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: On opting out: How to make life choices when you’re a professional ditherer | Just an anglophone

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