It seems like the "recession" has got everyone down. Pretty much all of the people I know are glum at the moment, for one reason or another, and I'm going to put it down to scaremongering by the media about this recession thing.
I don't really know what it means, because I'm constantly in recession if it means being poor. And I'm not even kidding. If you knew me in 2006, chances are you know about all the busybother that went down with my credit cards. Yep, cards plural. There were three of them, and I was unemployed at the time. How did it happen?
Well, to be honest it was just a case of incredibly poor judgment on both mine and the bank's part. Why it ever occurred to me that I might "need" $10,000 on an advanced personal loan, as well as a $3,000 American Express card, I don't know. Another thing I don't know is why the bank ever said yes to such frivolity. Anyway, of course it ended badly. I was this close to wrapping my head in a towel and shooting myself. I wish I was kidding when I said that.
I mean not to drag you down further but instead to illustrate a point: things get bad. Then they get good again! I know more people who think I'm still an idiot than those who don't, but I don't really care what they have to say about it. They weren't there, and they're not here now, while I'm having the time of my life - WITHOUT getting up to my eyeballs in debt. Yep, so I dipped into the savings to get my helmet, my ghd straightener and my new cellphone. The difference is I now know when to stop, and I also know that buying tonnes of crap doesn't bring happiness.
I like to think that at the end of 2006 I hit rock bottom. Sounds drastic, but when you think about it, rock bottom obviously is relative to your own situation. Sure, I didn't get cancer, lose both parents in some sort of accident, nor did my homeland break into civil war, but when you look at everything that contributed to MY situation, I think "rock bottom" is a pretty fair call.
As such, I feel like I'm now in a position to tell people "I've come a long way, baby." Just this morning a friend of my mother's, who several months ago told her in confidence that he actually worried about my psychological state (ie, he thought I was borderline depressed) commented on how much happier I seem now.
It's not because I don't have credit cards anymore, or that I can afford to buy food each week. Sure, that helps, but I think somewhere between making what has turned out to be a life-changing decision to move to Bayswater and sitting here tonight typing, I've found balance.
In 2004, balance to me meant making sure my dinner had tonnes of protein and carbohydrates, and was accompanied by at least two litres of water. Balance also meant fitting Donny in around twice-daily two-hour swim practices, as well as gym workouts, and pilates. I was training for the Athens Olympics, and I was thriving in the routine. These days, balance comes in a less intense form. Sure, I spend tonnes of time on my bike and I drink even more water, but I also attend makeup school, look for a job, chill out with my flatmates, and I dream, I plan, I dance, and of course I shop.
There is a line in a Rise Against song, on a CD that Donny bought me a few years ago:
"We're meant for something more than living just to put food on our plates". This guy has it right. Who sucked all the fun out life? It's the "thing" to get a career, work yourself into the ground doing it, and become bitter. What's just struck me as even more ironic is that Donny himself is four years in to business school and nowhere near finishing it because he hates it. He always used to tell me he had to stick with it though, to get a career.
Well, flag. If you want to do that, awesome. Good for you. If, however, you want to take a break? Head to Alaska this summer, maybe? Then do it. Life may not have a hold button, but at the end of the day, who actually cares? Do fun stuff. Throw caution to the wind. If it all goes bad you get to start again. Savings are cool and everything, but like... so is life.
Go out there, and kick butt.