My View - Wednesday December 13th 2017
I've become a Knight Adventurer. Well, a freelance journalist. According to Susie Dent (the woman in Dictionary Corner on Countdown), the word freelancer was coined for ye olde adventurous knights who used their lances for anyone who paid them. I haven't got a lance, so I'm making do with the 2017 versions - a laptop and microphone.
It was about this time last year when I swapped the staff job for something more dangerous. Most people thought I was crackers, but I've always enjoyed the thrill of the unknown. I generally say 'yes' to anything then face the consequences later. Repercussions have ranged from rollercoaster highs to regret or the runs. But seven and a half times out of ten my 'yeses' have paid off. The others I just chalk up to alcohol or dodgy blokes.
I've barely sat still all year. I saw a disabled woman pole dance, I've written and performed a poem live on stage, had an MP shout in my face, eaten a deep fried cream egg wrapped in meat and wrestled a bag of narcotics from a very scary dog. All in the name of 'finding a story'.
One of the reasons I was ripe for change was having dealt with my dad's death and mum's dementia diagnosis eight months prior. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that. My decision wasn't completely out of the blue though, I'd thought about it for a good three days and accepted that if no work came my way after a couple months, I would revisit my role on the life drawing circuit.
While I've been out having a good time, earning money, there have had to be some adjustments on the home front though. Wonky hours have meant plenty of wonky meals. There have been many weeks when I've run out of emergency pizza and salad by Tuesday and wondered what on earth I was thinking. And I definitely drink more wine. And although I'm still paying for my gym membership, I'm down to one swim a week, tops.
But it's a dilemma most mums are familiar with. I'm lucky that my husband works in the attic and does his fair share of parenting and my sister steps in for sleepovers and baked goods. But what's the alternative when financially, 'housewife' isn't an option? My mathematics is so shocking that I couldn't do anything involving a till, bar work could be dangerous (see 'more wine' and 'dodgy blokes') and I'm definitely not clever enough for anything medical.
So journalism it is then. And in the true spirit of stepping into the unknown, I've signed up for a new project in the spring. I've agreed to go to Johannesburg to make a documentary about a man who performs miracles. I'm hoping he might have the cure for the work-life balance.