Posts Tagged ‘boredom’

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killing time.

September 16, 2009

So it’s 9:38 according to the clock in the corner of my laptop, and I’m writing this post from work (WordPress is blocked by the NHS so I’m writing it now and will post it up this evening when I get home… by which time the future tense will be present) because I am conscious that as I’m staying with my grandmother so that on her return from Italy, she’s not immediately in an empty house, I wouldn’t be able to blog.  I started work at 8:30, and less than an hour later, I’m already bored and without very much (read: nothing) to do.  I have tweeted from my phone (Twitter is also blocked at work! Damn those pesky IT people) and texted Hannah; I am listening to Brandy (Never Say Never) on my iPod with Mariah Carey (Rainbow) queued up; I am going to gaze at my Gucci bracelet and possibly email a picture of it to my parents in Barcelona, because they taunted me over the phone by telling me how many designer boutiques they had been past.  No need to rub it in!

So writing this blog post in advance is tantamount to me killing time, which seems to be a lot of what I do at work these days!  (As I type, one of my colleagues is demonstrating his juggling skills, so it’s obviously not just me. 😉 ) It’s certainly a step up from my previous job, where there was always a sense of urgency for rarely a legitimate reason, but it dawns on me that often, what we do in life is kill time.  Reading American Psycho on the bus, Patrick Bateman describes how he spent the majority of his summer “in a stupor, sitting either in my office or in new restaurants, in my apartment watching videotapes or in the backs of cabs, in nightclubs that just opened or in movie theatres or in new restaurants.”  Basically, we distract ourselves by doing things which seem “special” to fill up the time, except we spend so much time socialising or going places to socialise or entertaining ourselves, it’s depressing when I start to think how little we actually accomplish that matters.  What am I trying to do with my life?  Well, I work to save up money so that I can buy jewellery – as much as looking good is important to me, and as much as making yourself feel special is something that cannot be underrated, it hardly matters in the scheme of making an impact on the world.  I save up money so that I can have driving lessons to get a car so I can travel.  Okay, that’s important in terms of job skills and life skills.  I am starting university on Monday to gain a qualification in Careers Guidance, so that I can help younger people realise what their options are, both educational and vocational, in order to get to where they want to be.  That does count as making an impact.  In the meanwhile, the only other important thing I do that could potentially touch and enrich people’s lives is my music, writing and producing and singing songs, practising piano and guitar so that I can accompany myself, and lately completing my album booklet and taking pictures of myself and photoshopping moody dark/neon scapes to complement the whole mood of the album.  I guess that I am trying to enrich my life at the same time as trying to touch other people’s lives and make a difference, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But it’s how much time we kill in between doing those things.  I mean, nobody, not even Beyoncé, can work 24/7, and we all need some down time and some “us time” and we all have the right to enjoy our lives and have some fun.  Not everything is so serious, and as I’m growing older I’m learning to realise that more and take things a little easier when it’s okay to do so.  In between laundry and checking on my nan’s house and turning on the fridge and watering the plants yesterday, I watched a few dvds and ate Dominos pizza. But the amount of time we waste is just insane, because we don’t even realise that we’re doing it.  And yet, talking to Ebony on Monday, I was talking about the unspoken pressure put on us by older generations that although I am 23 and she is 24, we should have managed university and got a steady job and be on the way to buy a house and drive and be looking to get married in the near future.  The world is a different place now, and the economy means that jobs and money and affordable decent places to live aren’t as easy to come by as they once were.  I consider myself lucky to have finally escaped retail and got a position in an office where I feel comfortable, am better paid and often do a lot less 😉 I also get to use my brain a lot more, and I feel more valued because of that.  But there is a tension between it being okay to kill time, and then a sense of urgency that before we know it, we will be 30 and single and still living at home and a failure at life.  Please!  I have no intention of letting that happen, and although sometimes life happens beyond your control and deals you a bad hand, I’m determined to make a bid for independence and career success very soon.  I am making moves towards that with my new university course and increase in money, which will hopefully get me a driving licence and a qualification with real job prospects come the end of the next academic year.  But it’s hard to keep a sense of urgency in perspective when it’s also so easy just to kill time and do things which seem unavoidable but are semi-unnecessary.  I don’t know where to find that balance or how to achieve it, but at least I know it needs to be done.

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just another day.

July 6, 2009

I don’t know if anyone else finds this, but when you’re into a book, you start narrating your life in your head in the same style as the author.  As I’ve mentioned in either the last post or the one before, I’m currently reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis, and its characters have a profound disconnect from their lives, for various reasons (daily medicating their lives with a curious combination of drugs, sex, anonymity and fame) rendering their day-to-day experiences utterly soulless and colourless.  So in this period of unemployment (now entering week 4! yay.) I can feel a veneer filming over my eyes with every day that passes, stopping me from becoming too depressed with the boredom of not having anything to do, but also stopping me from enjoying the things I do to distract myself from that boredom.

There’s only so many times I can call the hospital asking politely if they have any hours yet (why employ me for a job – I have a contract!!! – which effectively doesn’t exist) before I become disheartened.  There’s only so many times you can go to the gym and gaze at the sexy but incomprehensible Scottish bodybuilder (who now says hello to me, he’s a nice enough guy) before it becomes passé and I snap back to the reality of the treadmill.  My body is getting better but my standards are way out of reach because I always dreamed of being a singer and a fashion model.  I can have a coffee + refill at Starbucks and read my book and occasionally converse with someone else or people watch, and I find myself trying any tactic to escape my life and immerse myself in others’.  I go shopping and find nothing I want to buy – now, my friends will tell you that there must be something seriously wrong for this to be the case, but my standards have been raised by fashion magazines, and until River Island stocks Dior Homme (when not even Dior Homme’s website stocks the new season of Dior Homme!) I’m never going to find the clothes I want, yet alone at a price I can afford in my currently unemployed state (though by some stroke of luck, I’m not actually strapped for cash… yet).  So I just spark up another cigarette and numb myself as I walk along the street looking fierce in my Prada sunglasses (I dyed my hair black yesterday so it matches the shades… talk about reverse accessorising), because at least I can look the part even if it’s a lie.  Well, I am fierce, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere, and that’s the most frustrating thing of all.  So I try to escape that feeling of frustration, and end up escaping most emotions.

This became a bit of a moan, sorry.  On the plus side, I do look good and I’ve had plenty of time to spend with my family (my friends seem to have things to do – how I envy them).  I’ve also nearly finished my album, so I’ll keep updating y’all with that progress in the rare event that somebody reading might care… I am really proud of the concept, the sound and the songs, and I look forward to trying to promote it and release it and all that biz.  I’m reading more books and that makes me feel a little more educated and in touch with the real adult world.  After all, I’m a real adult and I suppose these are real adult feelings that I am learning to get to grips with.  But I always dreamed of something more, and although at 23 yo this is hardly the end of my life (well, you never know, but you know what I mean), I find myself all the same desperately questioning that “surely this can’t be it?!” University this September will hopefully kick-start things back into productivity… I should look at the plus column of my life because I’ve done really well so far… I guess I just don’t do inactivity or stasis or whatever you want to call it very well… it feels like limbo to me.  And until things get more exciting, today was just another day in a long string of days.  I hear that that is how some people define life… but I’m looking for a bit more than that.  Here’s to hoping that we all find more.

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things i used to do.

July 4, 2009

This month of not having a job has reminded me, in a way, of how my summer holidays used to be when I was a child at school.  The freedom to do what I wanted, spending lots of time with my nan, and also getting very very bored has brought me back a few years.  In fact, when I was complaining about my boredom to a friend this morning, his words in reply were “you sound like a little child!”  (I responded “Shut up.”  I have a sense of humour!) But boredom affects us all.  And I don’t need to write about boredom, because to be honest this blog is designed (in part) to counteract that!

So after being bored until lunchtime, I watched the Crystal Maze (a programme I used to watch when I was a kid; I remember it was a treat to be allowed to stay up and watch this “late-night” television!) and then decided to go to Starbucks, read some book (I’m currently reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis – it’s pretty good, and coincidentally a lot of the characters’ malaise stems from the boredom of “having it all”, a boredom I have yet to experience for myself!) and have some thinking time to myself.  And as I wrote memos in my phone of possible topics for discussion (this was third or fourth down the list, FYI… the others will appear soon, stay tuned!), it occurred to me…

This morning when I wrote a note for my mother, who was at work, that a friend of hers had called, I felt the strange sensation of a pencil in my hand as I jotted the details of the conversation on the post-it.  I say “strange” because it is very rare these days for me to actually pick up a pen or a pencil and physically write something.  I’m forever attached to my laptop, unless I’m out of the house in which case I bought my Prada II phone for the very fact that I have the internet, I have a QWERTY keyboard and I can twitter and msn and browse the net and drop texts in seconds, without being near my comp or having to lug it around.  It is on this phone that I write memos of song lyrics and hooks that occur to me, topics to talk about on this blog, and items I see when I’m shopping and want to research online more fully when I get home. But I don’t really write things anymore!  A year on from university, and having done my finals where I had to become swift with the pen (having typed the vast majority of my essays through the course on the computer, of course), I now don’t need to pick up a pen very often.  At work, it was only to jot the names of fragrances on blotters, or to fill out the figures in various books.  Writing a note at the end of the day detailing tasks completed and to complete became a laborious chore because, having grown accustomed to typing things in a flash on the computer, I have a lot to say and writing it in the old-fashioned way takes more time than I usually allot.  So in short, writing things down is an unusual sensation.

Tonight, after a lovely dinner of steak, salad and garlic bread (mmm) I sat at the piano and made up a tune for about 10 minutes.  I had piano lessons from age 5 to 11, but I’ve always kept up my skills and I consider myself a fairly accomplished pianist, though I now play sporadically.  When I finished, my mother asked me what I had played, and I responded that I had just made it up as I went along.  She was very impressed and said, would I be able to replicate it?  I said no, but I could quite easily incorporate bits of it into another spur of the moment composition.  She said “You need to write it down!”  Let alone the fact that it takes ages (for me, at least) to write out music, I would never be bothered to do that and I don’t have the memory span; I would have to record it first so I had a concrete copy to work with.  Recording it was the first thought that entered my head, but 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the facility to do that!  15 years ago, we didn’t have the internet at home; 10 years ago, I didn’t have a mobile phone.  Life changes, technology advances and the old skills get left behind in the dust.  That’s evolution, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but writing things on a post-it and playing a piece on the piano brought me back nostalgic feelings, just as does reading books for pleasure (an idea all but destroyed after 4 years of a literature-centric languages degree), which is something I am trying to get back into, reigniting my voracious appetite for books that I had as a child and teenager (except now I like to think that the books are better 😉 ).  So today I was able to remark upon how far I have come as a person, how our norms have changed and we expect things much more instantly, and how the old days weren’t so bad if we just tap into our oft-neglected reserves of patience.