Do you ever step out your front door and a soundtrack begins playing in your head, as though you’re in a film? I do it all the time. It happens sometimes when I slam the car door shut, the music starts, something’s beginning. Often I am actually hearing music through my earphones. I see a lot of my life as a film, like I’m an outside observer. It’s full of cliches; both my life perceived this way and the actual act of doing this. But whatever. Before I did that unit on scriptwriting I thought I’d be really good at it, but it was such a disaster. It was part of my Grad Dip in writing. I had this teacher whose experience seemed to revolve around having written Neighbours episodes and she was one of those people that I just clashed with. Not in an angry way, we just didn’t really get each other. I felt like everyone else in the course was cruising along and writing up all these great ideas and mine was just poo, awful story about nothing written like a kid, terrible. It was such a rude shock, that scriptwriting could be a total disaster. But that’s actually what writing was for me for a long time, a total disaster. I always had talent, and I’m good with languages and spelling and grammar, but I’ve always been very immature, a late developer.

Anyway, I digress. I actually wanted to write about the future, or the next steps. I am about to complete this MA and I really don’t know where it’s going to lead. Potentially nowhere, which is a bit freaky really. I think the reason that’s possible is because I’ve never done study with a view to getting work. I was explaining this to a Walmart lady the other day, when she badgered me about applying for a credit card and I explained that I’m not eligible for a credit card because not only am I not a permanent resident of Canada, I also don’t have an income. She asked what I was studying and I explained and she asked where that leads career-wise. When I told her I wasn’t sure and that I’d never done any of my study with a view to getting a job, she was shocked. It was like it had never occurred to her that people did this. When she realised it was about happiness, she calmed down a bit and seemed to understand where I was coming from. But when I walked away, I realised I truly didn’t know what the hell was going to come of this degree, and that was because it was never what I really wanted to do. And what I really wanted to do, writing, was not what I got into. Because I haven’t shown myself to be good enough at it to warrant doing an MA. Italian, yes, I’m good at it, and this degree has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding from a personal perspective, but I don’t want to do further study in Italian. I never wanted to do any study in Italian! Gosh that’s a hard thing to admit openly. But it’s true.

Regrets are a waste of time and I refuse to entertain them for even a moment. All I can do is look to the future, to where I want to be, and work towards that. It’s not Italian, and it’s not writing. I’d like to continue my editorial career in a freelance capacity, which will take discipline, and I think my study this past year has helped with building that. So that’s something. But as for my long term career, I’m not sure. Will it be teaching? I’m told I am good at that. I did a presentation a few weeks ago on King Lear and my fellow students all commented on the way I read the Shakespeare, how I engaged my audience. And I really enjoyed it. But teaching, that means I’m more like my mum than I’d like. That freaks me out. And teaching requires energy, giving of oneself. I don’t know if I have what it takes.

For now, I have less than a month left of classes before I finish this MA. So I’ll keep walking to my soundtrack, writing my snippets of stories, my to-do lists, my goals. One thing is certain: I will write a book one day soon.

New Year’s Resolutions: 2012

I know, it’s not exactly an original topic for a blog post, but hey, I need to jot them down and by putting them here I feel as if I will need to stick to them more… or something.  Anyway, humour me, here they are, in no particular order:

1. Try to get the Dude into a routine.  This means getting his meal times a little more sorted out, as he’s a hungry boy but only when he’s not too tired, and also getting sleeps happening on more of a schedule, as I think he’ll respond better to that and I might actually get some peace. I’m getting closer to achieving this already, given that he now has 12 hours sleep a night (mostly) and a clear two sleeps per day, and I can roughly predict when they happen. Roughly.  I’d like to get him into going to bed earlier, as currently he goes down between 8 and 9 most nights, although saying ‘goes down’ implies that I put him to bed and he stays asleep for the night, which never happens.  He is slowly improving, but most nights I spend a good half hour to an hour settling him down the first time, then have to go in twice to resettle before we finally go to bed about 10:30 or 11.  My mum says I should just get over the fact that I can no longer be a ‘night person’ and go to bed early with him.  I’m still in denial.

2. Finish NaNoWriMo.  I’d like to finally do this, having attempted and failed for a number of years now.  I’m not sure what it will take.  Actually that’s not true, I know exactly what it will take: some discipline, daily targets, sticking to a routine.  Refer back to number 1.

3. Study.  I really want to do my Masters.  Probably Arts, probably creative writing or life writing.  I’m also thinking about finishing off the Grad Dip in Editing and Publishing I started a few years ago.  That way, I might actually be able to start working towards my dream job, editing books in a publishing house.  I realise that now I’ve left work to have the Dude, I have a once-in-a-lifetime golden opportunity to rearrange my career into something I actually want to do, instead of constantly being branded a ‘project management professional’ or being offered marketing jobs, which I’d frankly rather chop off an arm than consider.  The marketing and advertising machine and all who sail in her totally shit me.  Although I do like watching The Gruen Transfer.

4. Get a job.  Money is really tight.  I’m talking really tight.  Okay so it’s not to the point where we have to ration our food or stop eating meat or can’t ever have takeaway, true, but it’s not great.  And me not working is making it super hard.  It’s hard for me because I have this mortgage and all these bills to pay but no income.  Actually scratch that, I have Centrelink and their awesome $24 per week.  Strangely enough that doesn’t suffice.  So I need to start earning an income again and I really don’t want the Dude in care just yet as I don’t want him catching all sorts of colds and diseases from all the other vaccinated, non-breastfed, chemical-ridden kidlets, and I also don’t think it’d be good for him to be away from me for that long, so it’s going to have to be working from home.  Which is doable.  I just have to find the time.  Refer back to number 1.

5. Write more.  Yeah, this one always makes an appearance.  But it needs to be there because I do need to write more.  And by writing I mean working on actual stories that will one day be published, not blogging.  How I’ll ever find the time is beyond me, but I must have this one in the list just in case its presence helps make it happen.

6. Blog more.  I go through phases of being really good with blogging, but then I slack off or Christmas happens or I forget or the Dude has a hard few days or weeks or some other shit goes down and I forget I have a blog for a while.  I would like to blog at least once a week minimum, preferably more.  Again, no idea how I’ll find the time but I just have to.  I read all these blogs by all these other awesome mums and think, how do they do it?  But they don’t have the Dude.  Although The Feminist Breeder is one that I am pretty amazed by, her baby is currently not sleeping at all at night yet she still manages to blog and presumably do all her other stuff like work and study and be a mum to her other two kids and a wife to her husband.  But she might actually be an Amazon.  That’s what I think anyway.

7. Move house.  This isn’t much of an actual resolution, but I want to have it in there because it’s something big that will be happening next year and it represents something bigger for me.  I guess it represents a compromise, but at the same time it represents a new phase for us as a family because we’ll finally be in a new place, an actual house, and even though it’ll be in shitty Sydney it’s one step towards what I want.  A small step, but a step nonetheless.

8. Refinance the mortgage.  This has needed to happen for a while, pretty much ever since I let the fixed interest rate lapse and started paying way too much to a stupid finance company in WA who handle my mortgage from a bank in Adelaide for my house in Canberra.  Yeah, makes no sense.  I’m close to getting this sorted, although it means husband taking it on technically as he’s the breadwinner, but by marrying me he gets half the house anyway so I figure that’s fair enough.  Once I’ve done this, I’ll be paying so much less that the rent will more than cover it, so paying bills will be a little easier.

9. Discharge all debts.  This one is important, not just because I need to be debt free, but because I don’t want to end up with a terrible credit rating like my dad and be unable to ever get a loan.  I also hate the stress of bills and debts hanging over my head, and it’s particularly hard because what is hanging over my  head is automatically hanging over husband’s head and he doesn’t need all that.  He shouldn’t have to pay for my inability to manage my finances.  So I plan to get a little extra money when I refinance so I can pay off all the debts and consolidate.

10. Refurbish my house in Canberra.  I’ve needed to do this for a while, and just recently when the carport randomly collapsed I realised it needs to happen in the new year.  The house is nearly 40 years old, and although the kitchen and bathroom were re-done not long before I bought it in 2005, that was six years ago now, seven actually, so it’s definitely time to do something.  I shudder to think what it’ll cost to deal with the issue of the water leaking from the bathroom upstairs through the ceiling of the laundry below it, but that has to be tackled.  In addition there are a few other things like a pergola that I’d like done.  I need to speak to a real estate agent to gauge just what I need to do in order to improve the value without over capitalising.  As it stands, I have great equity in the place and excellent tenants, so I’ve done well.  But if I don’t do something soon it will all fall down!

11. Collect all my stuff from my shed in Canberra.  Back in mid 2007 when I went to London, I sold a lot of my stuff, but the stuff I didn’t sell or give away that I still wanted to keep; important stuff; stuff with sentimental value. I packed it all into my little shed in the front garden before I left and when I came back in January 2010 I peeked in.  It was all still there.  That’s as far as I got.  I haven’t been back.  When my tenant rang to say the carport had collapsed, I thought she meant the shed.  It’s not exactly the most stable building in the world, just a little tin shed someone bought from Bunnings.  I can’t believe it’s still standing.  And I wonder what state my stuff is in!  There’s so much important stuff in there, pictures and stories from my childhood, an Edwardian sideboard that was in my parents’ house which I always meant to refinish, some random art projects, all my artwork from my year at art school, probably even books that are no doubt damp, mouldy or eaten by insects… There’s so much stuff I can’t even remember half of it.  At some level I’m looking forward to going through it all, the process of rediscovery, but the thought of seeing just how much it’s been destroyed and then trying to work out what to do with it and how to get it where I want it is not appealing at all.  No doubt I’ll update about that at some point…

So that’s it.  Bloody long list!  Only I could write 1500 words on my new year’s resolutions…