In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to view a flat that seemed too good to be true. Turns out that it was better than I ever imagined, so I took it on the spot. It was back at the estate agent’s that I first felt it: a slight twinge in my chest. Dismissing it as a lack of lunch, I signed the contract and stated my conditions, one of them being a six-month break clause in the twelve-month contract.
The next day, the estate agent got in touch to say that my offer had been accepted and that every one of my conditions had been met except the six-month break clause; the landlord wanted a me to commit to a year. That was the second time that I felt it: a definite twinge in my chest. Desperate for security and sanctuary, I agreed, and after a while felt fine. More than fine – relieved, excited, and as if I was finally on the way to getting my act together, as per the elaborate life action plan established on my 25th birthday.
What followed was what can only be described as an adrenaline induced surge of suburban fantasising: Laura Ashley, Victorian style screen-prints, and useless home decoration, such as a bouquet of paper roses crafted from the pages of Pride and Prejudice or Mills and Boon – your choice. Hours of browsing, wish lists, catalogue requests… I was really getting in to it.
Then it happened.
I started looking for sofas and armchairs, and navigated my way to the DFS website. A colleague mentioned that he had bought his sofas there on four years interest-free finance and paid less than £10 a month for them – rather appealing to the administratively salaried. I found a couple that I liked, viewed them in Pistachio green, stuck them on yet another wish list, and proceeded to calculate the monthly cost on finance.
I started to feel the twinge return, this time over a sustained period of time. Initially, I attributed this to the mathematics that I was attempting, but after definite palpitations realised that I was having a minor panic attack. Four years. FOUR YEARS. I had not even been in a proper job for more than ten months, let alone four years. The past eight months I had been living out of cardboard boxes not knowing whether or not I was moving to America, temp job after temp job, singleness for five years, and… and…
The commitment was all too much. I slammed my MacBook shut and went foetal.
After some horizontal processing, it dawned on me that ‘this it it’: I am now a grown up. You would be surprised if I told you that I had never really felt like one until that moment, but it is true – despite the whole foetal position thing. If I ever wanted to leave behind my second-hand, temporary Ikea furniture, then committing to proper furniture, and potentially a finance plan, would be part of that. If I ever wanted to build a proper home for a season, then I would have to stop waiting around for the next get-out-clause and commit to being in one place for a longer period of time. And to afford all of that, I would need to leave behind my positively teenage mentality to the world of work and commit to my job for an indefinite period of time.
Then I remembered the profound words of a wise and beloved friend sent to me but a couple of weeks beforehand:
Maybe, just maybe, a couple of armchairs, a steady job, and a year-long lease could be anchors. Perhaps the task now is to put the next voyage, wherever that may be, on hold and dock in the harbour of Smallesville for a while. However, the question circling my mind late at night is: do I really want to?