Unemployed in London

Despite my efforts to catch up on the backlog of blog posts I have waiting while I was unemployed, I'm just too far behind, so for the next little while things will be mixed up and out of order. I'm jumping from August straight to mid October and will fill in the gaps as I find time later.

Except for six days of work a couple of months ago, I have been unemployed since May. That's five months without a job. Something I never thought I'd do voluntarily! It has been an interesting experience. Obviously there was a lot of travelling going on in the first few months, but after arriving in the UK and realising finding work was going to take longer than expected, it has allowed me to learn a few things about myself.

Firstly, I like to interact with people. Not that that's a new discovery, but it was interesting how important that turned out to be to me when I arrived here. I found that while travelling I hardly got to have any sort of meaningful interaction with people, and when I arrived here most of my interactions were with grumpy shop assistants, so didn't really meet my need for company. Poor Boyd bore the over-enthusiastic brunt of this until I realised that I would feel a lot better if I spent my afternoons at a museum or some other free attraction rather than spending the whole day at home in the flat. I also joined a bunch of groups that would meet up occasionally where I would get to do something interesting and chat with the group.

This arrangement worked well till suddenly I found I preferred to stay at home for the day and write job applications, write my blog entries, or read a book etc. I have no idea what changed, but suddenly I was quite happy to spend a week in my own company. My best guess is that I reached a point where I sort of knew a few people here that meant I felt I had connections, and therefore I could be quite content till I saw them next time. That, and a renewed interest in completing my travel diary and reading books.

Another interesting thing I learned about myself is just how much sleep I need if I'm to wake up naturally and not be tired. We'd go to be around 10pm and I'd wake up fresh and happy between 7.30am and 8.00am. That's about 9 hours sleep. I've never felt so consistently good! No yawning in the morning, no feeling tired in the afternoons. And my mood was better overall. The frustrating thing is that this timetable doesn't fit in with my job at the moment, but I will be trying to work around it when I move out to Chelmsford in a couple of weeks.

Not being on the daily treadmill of work has also given me some mental space to think about things as I haven't for years. The first symptom of this is that I've been interested in reading books again. Something I haven't done a lot of in recent years.   But more importantly, I have had the chance to think about ways of living life rather than just trudging on in the same direction without looking at the options. This doesn't mean there are dramatic changes on the horizon, I'm not about to pack up and become an aid worker in Africa or anything, but it does mean I've had some time to think about how one can support themselves in this world, and how this doesn't have to be through being employed by a company. Perhaps most important is the simple realisation that not all options are mutually exclusive. I could choose a little of each. So this is something I will be mulling over for the time I'm here and perhaps doing things a little differently when I return to NZ.

Having said all this, being unemployed and broke in London sucks. It's a rite of passage I'm glad to have completed. I'm looking forward to having funds enough to have some flexibility and get out there and see the sights I have travelled around the world to see!


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