‘Would you like you, if you met you?’ – Anon

A little previously…

Column 41 has been pending for around 4 months; if procrastination is a bitch, then writer’s block raised it. After spending around 50+ hours per week doing things I didn’t want to do, I found myself stuck in a rut, minus the physical elements of an actual rut. I was a hamster on a wheel, with the motivation of a goldfish to get out of its’ tank (symptoms: wanting to get out of tank, feeling anything is better than being in tank, unexplained fear of leaving tank due to possible death risk).

After exploring said tank got old, and overindulging in the goldfish equivalent of food, alcohol and shopping left little happiness, I planned a risk, and stopped doing everything I didn’t want to be doing. After leaving my job with every possible dream but no reality, I decided it was time to go to metaphorical rehab. If curiosity killed the cat, then the cat is lucky as it has nine lives. In this case, the hard part was deciding how to spend the next one. Pondering possible options, I couldn’t help but wonder, was I back where I started?

Society today is taught that everything is a lesson; if you don’t like it, you can learn from it. A gratifying excuse for bad experiences, it can prevent regret. Building a better experience is the best cure for regret; the trick is recognizing what is better. One size does not fit all, and even the most sparkling choices can lose glitter. In order to prevent unexpected revelations, hibernation is essential to figure out what is next. If individuals fail to separate themselves from external influences, will they ever get off the hamster wheel? Lessons are individual to perception, and no matter how much advice or direction is given, the only person who can make a fail-proof decision (subject only to change) is the individual themselves. At a time when the corporate circle* have already made a table reservation with your name on, it is more important than ever to take the time to make the right decision. Bank notes come and go, but memories stay with you. How rich is your state of mind?

In order to improve my state of mind, I decided that Tinder needed to go. Originally downloaded for research purposes, the app proved little more than a host of time-wasting conversations (lessons learnt: 1). Despite being asked (on International Women’s Day) at a family gathering about my marriage plans (I am single with 1 cat), I have come up with around 53245 life plans and not a clue which one to run with. At least I am now employed. Distracting myself with various serious of Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars and Broadchurch gave some inspiration to the lack of plot lines, but little can help a writer who is not writing. Having finally recovered confidence through self-reflection, I entered the Yeovil Prize with my half (eighth)-written novel and wondered where I’d been for the last 11 months…

*to be continued next week (after some wine)

Erica Stella Toms