I am beginning to notice that I my preoccupation with time is more than just the average, casual unease of a woman who has turned forty without making millions or marrying a millionaire. Being neither in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease nor peri-menopausal (that word is so new it does not even exist in my Office 2007 spell check) the panic that the minutes in the day inspire in me whenever I must make a decision on how to spend them is inexplicable. In the back of my mind there is something vastly more important and lucrative to do in any given moment, and I can never quite remember what it is.
The fact is that since I have given up working for a weekly fee to pitch my lot in with freelance writers and other poor people, the fiscal value of 60 seconds has acquired new meaning. And it is agonizing. I hardly start doing something without thinking that I should be doing something else. Except when I am working on my masters, which I will return to as soon as I have finished writing 700 words for no money whatsoever. I think of my masters as a weird form of punishment for resigning from a real job, and for the moment, not as something to improve my credit rating.
The past year has been one of both struggle and success.
I managed to get stories published without the editor in question being a member of my circle or friends or my alma mater, but learnt that it is impossible to actually make a living writing as a freelance journalist for websites, newspapers and magazines. You also have to do some copy editing, some teaching, and slide back into the odd TV job just to keep yourself in Crabtree and Evelyn body butter.
I discovered that the adult WASP male is unadventurous in bed and both surprised and ridiculously pleased when a woman doesn’t just lie there.
Most importantly I think, I found that about a week after you decide, finally, to throw away all your notes and essays from university, you are likely to venture back to academia and register for a masters degree in journalism.
I’m a smart woman, and, as I mentioned, no longer a spring chicken…. you’d have thought that I’d have known this stuff.
(Was that seriously the first time I slept with a WASP?)
Such measures of invaluable experience, garnered without having to move in with my parents, have opened new gates to new worlds of awareness and understanding. I am now a far more well-rounded individual than the one who lived in rage barely more than a year ago. I understand that this is directly due to the fact that most writing is done while sitting on your ass, as opposed to running around, making silk purses out of sows ears with TV drama budgets. I am aware that times have clearly not been lean enough to compensate for reduced physical activity.
(That is almost funny, I know.)
But the time thing is beginning to get to me. If I am honest when I say that, knowing what I know now, I would rather stick needles in my eyes than be seventeen again, and that life with all its joy and glory is abso-fucking-lutely long enough, then WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?
Perhaps my problem is my body clock. If I ever had one, it has been broken for at least ten years. Is it possible that my desire to never, ever procreate has impaired my ability, as a woman, to measure time against any other framework sensibly?
Just kidding. Tomorrow is April 1st, you know.
More seriously, something has to give. Who know what it will be, and when it will do so. It could be that the slight nervous tension I live with is there to make sure that while my ass is not working, my fingers and my brain are. Like in this moment, for example.
And now I really have to go. There is something else I have to do.