Rat Race. Look it up on IMDB. It’s a comedy film about a race across america and the winner gets a cash prize. It is by no means a spectacular film (although I still enjoy the end theme by Smash mouth) but its the title that caught my attention. Rat race, It describes, in a somewhat derogatory way, the struggle of everyday life in our culture. To quote another film “working jobs you hate to but shit you don’t need” the endless cycle of working to pay the bills, to survive, to spend your life in the same place and be content doing so, maybe aiming (at most) for the next promotion… Far from the hollywood-esc ideal of shooting for the stars and living ‘the dream’. Were always asked as children ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ as if anything is truly possible and little joe bloggs can grow up to be a billionaire-genius-astronaut-ice-cream-man when sadly (for the vast majority of people) its un-realistic to even strife toward a fraction of this adulthood.
If this is the case, and were destined to be stuck in the ‘rat race’, it is, as far as i can see, only out of our own choosing! The people who will be remembered forever were not content with a ‘normal’ life. Every single moment of every single day each person on this planet has a choice, whether large or small, important or not or maybe just the choice to wear a smile or a frown it is these moments that make up your lifetime and ultimately guide you where your future is headed.
You must have heard of the butterfly effect right? That concept intrigues me. The idea that each event (however small) can have a huge effect on everything that happens after it. It works too! think back to one event in your life that changed a lot. Maybe your wedding day or your first child or your first kiss, now think of what must have happened for that event to occur. If you woke up 5 minutes later on june the 5th 1996 maybe you’d have never met your future wife. That is definitely one way of looking at the line I wrote down two and a half years ago ‘creating elegance through chaos’
Anyway, I digress. I am supposed to be talking about how after I made a decision to leave england it came to be….
One step at a time is the only way to begin an epic journey and here I was, about to make my first step. Co-incidentally finding my first obstacle. Money. Money is where 90% of people give up.
“i cant leave my job, how would i survive”
“some of us have bills to pay!”
“i just can’t afford to go away for 1, 2 even 3 years”
Money is huge to us, especially in England. The things we buy are expensive and the things we save up for are luxury. When I really sat down and looked at the figures of this trip I was astonished. The flight alone was more money then I could afford to spend. Heres what I did…
I said to myself, this IS what im going to do. I can plan to earn as much as possible before I go, I can factor in certain monitory boosts along the way but WHATEVER happens I will do this.
I was determined. Determination is a powerful thing. I’ve always read in quotes how ‘you can do anything if you put your mind to it’ and maybe that’s not true for everything in the world but there’s a hell of a lot you can do if your willing to stick at it! My first step was a second job. Now I already worked in a school at the time, one of the finest special needs schools in England, the pay wasn’t great but the perks of the job more than compensated for that. (On a side note if anyone is bored with retail and wants to try their hand at something new… try volunteering one day a week in a school. I learnt more there in 3 years then I did throughout my teenage. I also was on a salary which means I was paid even when on school holiday which in summer is 6 weeks. not too bad at all!)
As I was saying the first step for me was to work two jobs. I made up my mind in the morning that I would print off a new CV. I spent the morning walking around town handing it in and talking to managers and that evening I had a second job. Remember I spoke of determination? Well to all those who think ‘there’s no jobs out there’ you are simply not trying hard enough.
(Here’s me looking particularly haggard whilst working my second job, I like this picture because I remember taking it, and I remember how I felt at that specific moment. I can look at it now and feel grateful I’m not there)
So i was bringing home two wages every month. That was a huge boost to my confidence about the future. I knew at the time that I would be tired and exhausted from the mental drain of school days and the physical drain of retail work but I knew it wouldn’t be forever and the money I could afford to save at this point would greatly improve my future chances to succeed.
I have now taken you on the first step with me. The second step was something altogether different. Something I’d never done before, and for it id have to get sick….