A Proper Grownup

I bought a car this week. It was both exhilarating and considerably scarier than I feel it ought to be. That, of course, is because in my head I’m still not a real grownup.

Those ideas you have as a teenager don’t match adulthood at all – more in the way you feel than the way people treat you. I fully acknowledge that other people think I’m an adult (or have the good manners to keep it to themselves if they don’t), but I don’t.

That’s right; I’m a teenager in my head still. Maybe that’s the point at which my brain stored developing new and awesome pathways, Or maybe getting pregnant at nineteen stopped something, but either way I haven’t made any significant mental changes since those days.

The obvious downside there is that I have a person depending on me; surely that ought to spur some kind of maturity? Well, no. I do things for him because I have to, but there’s no sudden compulsion to provide for my child. Take on any aggressor for him? Absolutely. Spend all my time thinking about him? Not so much.

That may make me a bad person, but honestly I don’t think it does. My examples of parenting have been contrasting; my mother throws herself into her children’s activities with such vigour she didn’t have her own, and my father remains committed to enjoying his time to himself.

I don’t think either of these is a terrible example of parenting, but neither is quite what I aim for. The fact that I come much closer to dad’s style is less relevant than that I understand my shortcomings. Luckily for me, my other half is the kind of father who’s very good at daddy things (that he got an early start on dad dancing and happily refers to himself as an eighty year old despite being under thirty are especially helpful in this endeavour).

All this points to what I think is the pinnacle of growing up: putting someone else’s needs first without a trace of resentment. Once I get there, I’ll be a real grownup, even if it takes me to my sixties.

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The Writing Train Has Finally Left The Station

Writing – finally, we have progress again!

Apparently, all I needed was a mental recharge and a visit from my sister to trigger a scene between sisters. 5k later, I’ve managed to write a daily amount which would see me comfortably through NaNoWriMo, which is plenty for a daily average and a good idea to maintain just for practising.

That or it was the genre swap (I’ve been reading Sci-Fi for a week instead of fluff) or the ridiculous amount of alcohol consumed over the weekend.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what it was; I feel like I have my mojo back!

It’s also nice to be able to write something I intended on doing… even if there is one (perfectly logical) diversion. It doesn’t even make later scenes change. It’s also allowed me to acknowledge a greater depth in one character. Good stuff, so far. Now to redirect this on time in April for Camp NaNo…

Back to the sci-fi binge – I need to stop being obsessive about things I find interesting. I breeze through everything available rather than pacing myself – though spending a week reading six books is pacing myself – then get a prolonged story hangover when I’m done. I’m just lucky in this case that there’s already a spinoff to get into, though I’m not convinced it’ll have the same impact.

It may freshen up my ‘you might like’ list though – moving it away from fluff.

It’s also, unfortunately, the time when the TV programmes I was watching before Christmas have started airing again. That means less reading time 😦

On Marriage, a Rant

A sad realisation this morning. Even if I were to somehow get a proposal before my 30th birthday (we’ve been together since I was 18; I’m 25 now), I’d probably still say no. You don’t take 12 years to decide to keep someone; a year of living together is plenty.

I know I have an attachment to the concept of marriage. We’re raised with it, with this ideal of sharing your life completely with someone else. What used to be an exchange of paternity and security has become an expression of shared commitment. What used to be the thing everyone aimed for has become optional, at least as far as men are concerned.*

This has a downside. No longer is the assumed future of a relationship a piece of paper stating union; it’s a mortgage and kids without that binding that cements the partnership. I, like many others, have had to resign myself to this. What do you do? For me, it was finding an acceptable alternative. Something that would make me feel as though I had grown up for real, instead of pretending like I do now.

My solution: a name change. When I reach the determined age, I will change my name. I will own a new self, complete with new middle name spelling.** My surname will no longer be my father’s; it will be mine. I’ll always regret not having my son’s name, but I’ve come to terms with never giving him a sibling as much as I have never sharing a name. He’s named for my maternal uncles and grandfather (they had the same name, not three different ones), and that’s good enough.

It makes me wonder, this dream we keep instilling in our children, whether we should. I’m not saying we should teach little girls (and boys; my own is a wee fairy princess) that no-one will choose them for life like in the stories. I’m saying we should maybe change the rules. Rules like ‘you have to have a diamond engagement ring’. Rules like ‘it’s the most important day of your life’. Rules like ‘you can’t call yourself ‘Mrs’ until you’re married’.

That last one is a particular bugbear of mine. I will forever be ‘Miss’ – no ambiguous ‘Ms’ for me – and it irks me that women can’t be addressed as women as a matter of age like we do men. We aren’t in the olden days, when women belonged to their fathers and then their husbands; we’re in an age where women can earn ‘Dr’, ‘Maj’, or ‘Cllr’ just as easily as men. Why, then, do we not start addressing grown women as such as soon as they attain adulthood? My other half (we need a new word that isn’t ‘boyfriend’ or ‘partner’) has been known as ‘Mr’ since he hit 18. My son will do the same (though when post arrives addressed to ‘Master’ it’s pretty fun). Why am I stuck with ‘Miss’? If I started calling myself ‘Mrs’, everyone (no, really) would assume I was married.*** We should really remove marriage as a rite of passage if it’s not going to be done by everyone.

Because a woman is just a girl until she gets a man. That’s what I really object to. Doesn’t stop me craving that piece of paper though.

*as men are concerned and told to perpetuate. It’s not ‘manly’ to want to get married.
** ‘Voira’ is not how my mother spelt it.
*** a lot of people already assume that. It’s really awkward telling people I’m his girlfriend and not his wife, especially sweet older relatives of his uni friends. Especially especially when our son is standing there. Some cultural norms die hard, especially especially especially in my romance-novel-loving head.

Overload

I’ve been busy at work, busy with sorting out my car, busy messing up dinner and then crying about it… Nothing seems to go right lately. I’m more than ready for my upcoming week off *snigger*.

The snigger, of course, is because it isn’t a week off from stress, only from going in to work. I will still have to drive my family around, I will still have to cook dinner (though admittedly we’re spending two nights away from home so I won’t have to do it then), and I will still have to remain on call for my job (which is a whole lot less glamorous than ‘doctor’ or ‘consultant’).

Why am I looking forward to it? I associate not having to go into the office, and even not having to wear office clothing, with relaxation and de-stressing. Probably a holdover from my school days, where non-uniform days were hailed as the pinnacle of any school term.

My writing has, yet again, not been progressing, though I’m edging towards what I think will be some quality writing time – we’ve finally taken on the task of getting the housework finished before we go away.

In the meantime, I’m adding continually to my over-long list of stories to write, largely in the low-intensity area of romance. The sheer number of situations I can envisage is something to be proud of; the main reason I haven’t been upping my fantasy count so much is that the setting has taken up the bulk of my creativity there.

I was pleasantly surprised this week when I was required to write something distinctly non-formal for an expo we’re doing: 100-word limit, no sales jargon, describe the company without being boring. I had loads of fun with that one!

Whoops

I’ve somehow fallen into the position of being tired all the time and extremely busy when I do have the energy to deal with things. I haven’t properly written anything since Christmas, and I feel terrible about that. I seem to be emerging from the other side of a minor episode of SAD, so now is the time to take my life back in my own hands.

All my typical excuses (bar the fatigue, that probably won’t go until I’m drinking again) are now exhausted, so I need to get off my backside, sit down at my laptop, and get to typing. Irony fully intended.

The loose plan for what to write is one of my fantasy projects – not the NaNoWriMo one and not the one earmarked for Camp NaNoWriMo – then in February (of course) knock out some steamy romance, which is always a good fallback when I’m in a low mood.

Reminiscing

I stumbled onto my Tumblr blog recently, and was pleased to discover that I was just as coherent when writing about a finicky toddler who wouldn’t sleep in his own bed as I am now writing about him reading and asking intelligent questions. Not that I’ve done much of that in the last month, what with my obsession with novelling.

Another cause for reminiscence, though with less impact, was the discovery that I could now get an app for my [Android] phone which I haven’t used since my six-month foray into iOS back when I had the aforementioned toddler. It’s Path, by the way. I’m poking around what I posted, marvelling at the short hair and how little I did back then. There is an excellent picture of me though:

wpid-wp-1448377864139.jpg[It’s a witch!]

There’s also the looming spectre of my previous company – we’re just tying up the final loose ends of our corporate divorce. It’s depressing how adversarial we are now…

Happiness

Yesterday, I was happy. For a good few hours, everything was lovely. No drama to follow, merely the realisation that this, just spending time puttering about the house with my family, was happiness. It was wonderful.

Of course, that can’t last, but I’m still utterly content, though there was the obligatory frustration with my work computer taking its sweet time loading up this morning. It looks to be a good week.

That was all I wanted to say for now. Just getting my happiness logged for later in the month when I’m having a meltdown and everything looks grim…

The Plan Comes Together

My colleague has given his notice at work, after only two weeks of jobhunting. I’m happy for him, but also sad that I’m not in the same kind of demand. Luckily, several things have gone my way this week, though one or two things haven’t.

I have signed up for a gym, with pool, and have visited it twice. I have written several thousand words on a story without having intended to do so, and I have finally thrown off the bug that has gripped me for two weeks. On the other hand, I’ve been stuck with getting swimming lessons for my little horror.

The gym first – I’ve never been a member before, and I was frankly amazed at the wealth of things on offer. It’s quite a substantial monthly amount, but as long as I go every day as I’ve mentally vowed to do, it’s easily worth the money. The couple of swims I’ve taken were an excellent starter – I felt absolutely amazing afterwards, and I could feel my heart rate increasing from the first.

I’ve signed up for a class on Monday, my first taste of Spin. If it doesn’t kill me, I’ll probably feel wretched afterwards, but everything I’ve been told says that I will eventually notice an improvement. In addition to this, I’m hoping to get more familiar with some of the actual gym equipment, like the cycling machines.

The writing is undoubtedly my favourite thing about this week. I was typing up something I’d handwritten, moving from one story into another, and the writing just kept coming. I ended up doing more than 5000 words in one evening – a massive achievement for me.

Throwing off the bug had an immediate effect at work, and my energy has mostly come back as well. Now if only I can sort out the problem with my contacts, I’ll be golden!

Coding is going apace, though at times it’s more of a crawl. I really need some kind of mid-level tutorial, rather than the beginner ones which seem to be the only thing available. I am already very well-versed in what variables, arrays and for loops are, thank you very much. What I really want at the moment is to divine the PHP I need to save a file from my litte JS word counter.

Then there’s the incredibly and unexpectedly difficult task of sourcing swimming lessons for the five-year-old. No-one seems to have any spaces except where they want to charge about £10 per lesson – utterly ridiculous. I’m still waiting to hear back from some people, but it’s not looking good. I have a sneaky feeling I’ll either be signing him up for something outside of Derby or waiting ’til after Christmas – both of which are dim prospects. In the meantime, I’ll just keep taking him to the pool at my gym, and hope he doesn’t get too bored.

Though he did suddenly do the breaststroke, so maybe he’ll learn what he needs the old fashioned way – by watching his parents.

Manx as the hills, yessir

Having spent the last week in the isle of man, visiting family and collecting my son, I’ve had a wonderful break from work. Less wonderful is my break from writing – three hours on a ferry is great for productivity, as are two hours on a train. Less helpful is the time spent with family, everyone determined we get out of the house and do things. *shudder*

With the roads being closed, it forces you to acknowledge how useful it is to have many different roads going in the same direction, though admittedly that may have been by design as the tt course was first laid out over a hundred years ago. The locals must have captained for roads to be paved in such a way that there was an easy route in disturbed areas.

Family time – the normality of being alone together – is something that’s nice to share with people you don’t live with any more.

Getting new ideas is par for the course as a writer, but there’s still not much as annoying as being struck with a new idea and no way to get it down. The most irritating of these situations is when the materials are present and you’re not allowed to use them, namely late at night when you’re awake and your partner’s asleep. Even worse than not having a notepad around. Or a pen.