Right so lads how are we? Hope ye are all FAB.
Shoutout to my pals back home dying from the Kinsale 7’s or a saucy bank holiday night out in Reardan’s while I’m here sitting in a Chiswick café after work trying to decide whether or not I can afford (both financially and physically) a second hot chocolate. London life is WILD.
So after having explored the randomly various things that I have realised since moving to London I thought that I should look at the things that I have not realised since moving to London, mainly in the form of what I want to do with my life.
For those of you* who don’t know, I moved to London upon finishing my degree (finally, shoutout to UCC French department x) as a bit of a gap year to try and figure out a plan on how to get to where I wanted to be career-wise, which is all well and good but now I’m ten months into my year here without any intention of going home (despite the fact that my mom said that she’d buy me a puppy if I moved home so hello willpower) and also without a notion of what I actually want to do with my life.
As so many students do, and I wholeheartedly have convinced myself that it is beyond normal to do so (presumably unless you’ve studied something like medicine or architecture), I finished university without a NOTION of what I wanted to be or where I wanted to go, and when I say I had no idea, I truly mean I had no idea. Any time my parents asked me what I was going to do after university, I would always reply with “tour with Celtic Woman” which got a laugh or two for a while (I am not a singer) but then clearly became somewhat frustrating for my parents and to be fair, at this point in time I realistically should have had come up with some idea seeing as I had an extra year of college to come up with these plans after deciding to repeat a module for the year** but sure look all is well and good.
Essentially, I moved here on a whim with my whole thought process being “if I don’t know what road I want to go down in life then I may as well figure it out in London instead of staying here and figuring it out in Cork” and lo and behold here we are and that is exactly what I’m doing.
One thing that I have realised since leaving Cork is that everyone seems to assume that because you have left your hometown, you are now obviously doing extremely well in your field of work, and as the age old saying goes
“when you assume,
you make an ass out of u and me you make Al question her life choices because she realises that she is not doing what people expect.” Or something like that.
Anytime I have gone home for a visit I have been met with “Ah and how are you getting on over?” “Are ya loving it?” “And sure what are you doing now?” “Have you made it on the West End yet?”, to which you have to give that awkward laugh because more often than not it’s your mom’s friend who you’ve bumped into in Penney’s and you just give a brief “Ah sure I’m getting on grand, yeah sure I’m there nearly a year now sure I love it. Haha no I’m not on the West End haha eh I’m actually just waitressing at the moment but look can’t complain!” Slightly soul destroying.
I will say that I have been quite lucky and EXTREMELY grateful for the opportunities that I have gotten since moving over and they have taught me so much about the world of theatre in London which was my main goal before arriving and I am beyond appreciative of the internships I have had and the shows that I’ve worked on since last June. They were honestly a DREAM for me while I simultaneously lived my working gal reality of being a coffee shop princess*** and having to daily witness the disdain in the faces of millennials upon telling them that we had, in fact, run out of oat milk. These jobs made me feel super cool for the little stints that I had with them and furthered my knowledge and confidence in professional working theatre beyond belief.
With that being said, I sometimes feel like these experiences can slightly cause a little further confusion on what one wants to do in the future because all of a sudden you’re thrown into the world of your potential career and you are then met with the most headwrecking thoughts consisting of whether or not you should try and continue what you’re doing, whether you should apply for a masters and if so in what and where, or if you should try and change direction altogether.
I am already a horrendously indecisive person and struggle to confirm whether I would like rice or noodles with my chicken satay while on the phone to my local Thai takeaway so having to make life decisions is truly not the one for me. Honestly, it is rough.
I’d like to think that it’s normal to have this uncertainty and struggle with trying to decide what it is that you want to do after leaving the comfort blanket that is full-time education. Like seriously, 23 is a pure weird age, if we’re getting deep I would be close to saying that 23 is my purgatory. It’s the first birthday that I was honestly gawking at upon its approach, as I saw it like a looming dark cloud over my post-teen years where not having a solid plan was ok. At this age, I’m surrounded by people who are at variously progressive stages in their lives; one of my best friends has just bought a house (I repeat, has BOUGHT A HOUSE), others are discussing upcoming marriage plans, mates are working on the most amazing new shows and getting international tours left, right and centre, some are winning awards for outstanding achievements in their careers, girls I went to school with are having kids and I am literally just here like “hiya please read my blog x”. But that’s ok? That’s ok.
I feel like everyone who moves to another city outside of their hometown does so to try and figure their lives out so in reality I am more than likely surrounded by a silent community of my fellow stressheads updating their LinkedIn profiles and contemplating life while sitting in a café nursing an almond chai latte or something less pretentious.
While I may not have yet realised exactly what it is that I want to do with my life, what I have realised is that that is perfectly cool, and in no way should I try and pit my pathway against someone else’s, you know?
Just because you’re still using and abusing your dad’s Netflix account because you can’t afford your own membership, instead of popping to Harvey Norman on a Friday afternoon to pick a fridge for your new 4-bed semi-detached doesn’t mean that you’re not at the point that you’re meant to be at in life. I do realise that I am getting suuuuper preach-y but it’s the vibe that I’m currently rolling with to put myself at ease and to stop myself from wondering what I would be doing now if I had gone straight into a masters or if I had picked a degree where I could have gotten a guaranteed internship or grad programme after college but sure at the end of the day that would have been no good to me as the only 9-5 that I would ever be up for is the Dolly Parton classic.
I’ve taken my first year in London as a year to have an absolute hoolie, see as much theatre and sights within this wonderful city as I can and to just put myself in a situation where I am creating as much life experience as possible and sure look if it gets to me where I need to be sure that’s grand too.
Much love and respect to ya pals,
*I say “those of you” making it seem like I have worldwide readers but I am fully aware that my main readers are my parents, my sister who is only reading this to avoid studying for the Leaving Cert, and my six Spice Girls back home who I sometimes ask to proofread to ensure I don’t sound like a dope.
** Sincerely recommend staying on your J1 instead of coming home to sit a repeat exam, can wholeheartedly commit in saying that it truly is the better option because if I had come home to sit my French paper then I would not have met Hugh Jackman on the beach in the Hamptons and then I could not have told everyone I know about this chance semi-nude Wolverine encounter or have posted about it on every form of social media.
*** You’re an 8 or 9 out of 10 if you get this reference.